What are Location-Based Services?

Location-based services provide content that is dynamically customized according to the user's location. These services are commonly delivered to mobile devices, but almost any Internet-capable device can make use of most location services. (Cellular tower coordinates are often refined with GPS data to ensure a high level of accuracy in locating mobile devices.) Current common applications for location-based services include advertising, news, social networking, and similar services. For example, users are able to access popular social media sites Facebook or Foursquare to see which friends are in close proximity and to “check-in” to places based on their locations. Similarly, many news outlets deliver stories targeted to a reader or viewer’s physical location.

In the consumer sector, many businesses are capitalizing on this by rewarding users who check-in to their locations; a discounted meal might be offered from a nearby restaurant, for example, or information on a museum exhibition that is currently on display. Location services have become an almost transparent way to generate actions triggered by a user’s interest data and his or her location. The next and most compelling development for location-based services is the prospect of indoor GPS, which could provide visitors or students with very specific information about buildings they are in, or even rooms. It is not unimaginable that a student in a science course would be able to locate a specific piece of equipment in the laboratory using a mobile application that might also track his or her experience levels with that type of equipment.

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

  • Can this be wrapped with Geolocation? - lkelly lkelly Oct 29, 2014
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

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

  • Museums can use these technologies to deliver content where the user is, especially within the space of the museum. Because it can target a small area, we can design experiences that are focused to specific objects. It's where the visitors is, when they want it. As a simple example, imagine an audio tour that is ready to play the content for the visitor based on the piece they are closest to, without the visitor having to enter in a code. This would streamline the visitor experience significantly. - ortiz ortiz Oct 29, 2014
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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • The Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park created a touchtable and mobile phone experience that uses location-based services to deliver content to the phone when a visitor is in the right location. - ortiz ortiz Oct 29, 2014
  • add your response here

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