What is Location Intelligence?

Location intelligence refers to the mapping of the geographic relationships associated with data. Resources including GIS are used to provide individuals and organizations with information about how people are interacting with various applications and services based on their location. Through combinations of trilateration, WiFi fingerprinting, and crowdsourcing data, the data and patterns achieved through location intelligence are extremely accurate. Smartphones and tablets are naturally driving the proliferation of this technology because of their built-in location-sensitive sensors, WiFi signals, gyroscopes, magnetometers and accelerometers, and other features. Major players in the mobile and wearable technology space, such as Apple and Google, are rapidly acquiring the latest location intelligence technologies with the goal of enhancing the ways in which consumers interact with their surroundings. Apple recently purchased Locationary, a start-up that leverages crowdsourcing and game mechanics to update a database of location information for businesses. Additionally, they acquired WiFiSLAM, a company that specializes in employing WiFi signals, GPS, and sensors to track user movements within buildings. WiFiSLAM uses pattern recognition and machine learning to detect relationships between the data collected through all of the sensors in a device to create reliable indoor maps. Ultimately, location intelligence is poised to help people better understand their environments and even contribute their own measurements in an effort to map the entire world, inside and out.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Being aware of how people move around our buildings, where they pause and where they don't, can have a huge impact on the delivery and development of educational content. If we know people are lingering in some areas, these can be the first where we develop additional content to educate. Likewise, we can also use this intelligence to attempt to move people to under visited areas with engaging and surprising content. ( - ryand ryand Oct 23, 2014 )
  • I like the idea of how location intelligence can pair with natural user interfaces for frictionless contextual content delivery. The Samsung museum in Seoul had a good example of this, where when running the app, the content for the object in front of you just appeared. (The app was not flawless, but it had the seeds of some very good ideas!) Experiments and implementations of Bluetooth LE are promising in this area. [- lizneely.mail lizneely.mail Oct 26, 2014]- jludden jludden Nov 4, 2014- cweinard cweinard Nov 4, 2014 - rdowden rdowden Nov 5, 2014
  • We recently hosted about a dozen "secret shoppers" from a local design agency, millenials who visited the museum for the first time and without informing any museum staff. In their debrief, their number one beef was about wayfinding - and the entire group questions why they could not use their own devices to help navigate the space. Relevant? How about EXPECTED? That is, our new target audiences will be unpleasantly surprised that they can't use their devices to find things: objects, exhibitions, amenities, exits, etc. Museums who don't get this going will disappoint and lose audiences. - dhegley dhegley Oct 31, 2014- cweinard cweinard Nov 4, 2014
  • The last comment interests me. I'm not interested in using this technology for visitor surveillance, even as I see that it might work. But if it is useful for wayfinding, it will save a few thousand answers by guards to the question of where the bathrooms are. Transformational? Not really. Helpful? Probably.- weberj weberj Nov 3, 2014
  • As mentioned above, there is a tremendous amount of R&D dollars going into developing and refining technologies to enable Location Based Services. IN addition to WiFi triangulation and SLAM http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simultaneous_localization_and_mapping there are light-based methods http://gigaom.com/2014/02/17/philips-new-intelligent-store-lighting-can-track-shoppers/ and http://www.bytelight.com/ and low-power bluetooth (e.g iBeacon) - bmeyer bmeyer Nov 5, 2014
  • A key challenge and opportunity for museums is to advance use of these technologies for educational purposes, and really help them come into their own in this respect. Marketing and advertising are important in their own right, but not good if they drive development of context-aware applications in a disproportional way. However, there are examples of foundational educational R&D underway. Here, funded by the NSF: http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1346664 - bmeyer bmeyer Nov 5, 2014

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • User generated content pinned to maps, I would like to see museums offering the ability for visitors to add their reactions to exhibits/displays/objects and then have that available to others. ( - ryand ryand Oct 23, 2014 ) +1 - dhegley dhegley Oct 31, 2014- jludden jludden Nov 4, 2014
  • I think the challenge to delivering locationally intelligent/context relevant content is learning through user testing - what info is desired when? which uses of push technology are desired and which infringing? This can be personal, we have to get it right and adjust to get it more right. [- lizneely.mail lizneely.mail Oct 26, 2014] +1 to iteration! - dhegley dhegley Oct 31, 2014
  • Museums with natural sciences collections (the documentation of which requires a geolocation for any scientific validity of each specimen) have understood and used geolocation for many years. These museums know that continued collecting of specimens from the natural world is unsustainable and have now turned to collecting data and images instead of the actual specimen. This also lends itself to crowdsourcing and 'citizen science' projects abound - all of which request an accurate geolocation to provide a point on a map. Some of the biggest projects include:
Project Noah http://www.projectnoah.org/
iNaturalist http://www.inaturalist.org/
Bowerbird (in Australia) http://www.bowerbird.org.au/
and many more can be found on SciStarter http://scistarter.com/index.html [- ewallis ewallis Nov 2, 2014]

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on education and interpretation in museums?

  • Potentially huge, could almost be as if the docent to visitor ratio was 1-to-1. Also, if used in a way that mingles nicely with existing infrastructure and is simple to use. ( - ryand ryand Oct 23, 2014 )- jludden jludden Nov 4, 2014
  • Potential impact on the digitally-savvy audience is huge. Even if the early adopters don't get it to work perfectly, any efforts to ENABLE this technology are likely to be appreciated. - dhegley dhegley Oct 31, 2014
  • add your response here

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?