In today’s connected society, always knowing who is where is an assumed right. Who doesn’t have a mobile phone? Whether people realise it or not, they are being constantly mapped, tracked and traced.
For example, you “check in”, share your location, let everyone know where you are. All that location-information is captured quite easily through geographical coordinates, these geographical coordinates typically consist of a latitude and a longitude.
If you have a location aware site or app, you are able to provide more accurate and appropriate content for your visitors. Let’s take a look at how geolocation, or geo-coding, can come in handy.
Although a new term, the actual principle of geo marketing has been around for a while. Facebook have been using this approach with great success. Facebook gather location-based data (based on users’ IP addresses) and then show adverts appropriate for that geographic region.
It’s not just online marketers who can benefit from these services. Other groups of people have used it to gain access to large numbers of people, all of whom are situated in the same area and have the same goal of “making something happen”. This can range from protests, to creating community groups for people who share similar interests.
The rise of “offer sites” such as Groupon that offer deal-of-the-day services to its users and each day the site has a predetermined amount of offers for each offer. The power of Groupon lies within the tight integration that it has with its users location. By offering its users local offers and deals it has become one of the most popular coupon sites and has had its format replicated many times.
Now you understand a little more about geo-coding, let’s take a look at some real world examples.
Using the same geo-coding technology, Flickr shows what others have been uploading to the website near to where you are.
Since their launch in 2009, Foursquare created a deep and accurate map of the places people go. This allows them to reach audiences, engage users, and understand offline behaviour.
I hope now you have a greater understanding of geo-coding and the geolocation API, how it works and how you can implement it with very little effort. By using geo-coding in creative and effective ways you should now be able to provide a better user experience for your users.