Many people think of location as a tool used for driving - they often refer to it as "GPS". But GPS is only one of the signals used in location services. Others include WiFi, Bluetooth, and visible light communication.
Global Positioning Satellite was first invented and used by the U.S. military. You can readily see how the information gained could be imperative in any type of military action or maneuver. It became available for consumer use about 20 years ago. As more technological advancements have been made, location services have entered into a great many of the apps you use every day.
Location Services Used in Automobiles
This technology has virtually changed the way we navigate to our destinations. Gone are the days where you would need to find your route on a paper map. In fact, it's hard to even find an actual paper map these days.
The benefit to this technology is great. When there are construction changes or backed up traffic that you weren't aware of ahead of time, the navigation service can provide alternate routes. You can also plan your route to avoid tolls. Many drivers opt for hands free directions, either through their car's navigation or by using the navigation feature on their cell phone.
Another facet to location services in a vehicle is the ability to contact emergency services when needed. In case of an accident, emergency services can be dispatched directly to your location, even if you're incapacitated. Location services also offer additional aid in finding your automobile's location if it's been stolen or you're searching for the person who's driving it. Another great feature to your location service is that it offers a way to easily find your car if you can't remember where you've parked, which happens more often than you might think.
Location services are exactly how ride sharing services, such as Uber or Lyft, work. The app allows drivers and riders to set their location so that the closest driver can pick up the rider with minimal delay, revolutionizing the gig economy and transportation models.
GPS and other location service technology is widely in use to aid in locating actual people. Cell phones can be located in order to find an individual who may be lost or in danger. There are currently devices on the market to help locate and monitor special needs people, those who are elderly, and even children.
The law enforcement community often uses different facets of this information in their investigations, including being able to determine a suspect's whereabouts based on their cell phone location at a set time. Law enforcement can also use different facets of this technology to help them build a case against a suspect, such as determining who that suspect meets frequently.
Geocaching, Sports, and Health
Geocaching is a treasure hunting game using clues on your cell phone to locate hidden items. This game uses GPS coordinates that are posted on a website. Participants then use the coordinates to hunt for objects throughout the city or area. Other games you may have heard of include Pokemon Go, a game in which users located hidden Pokemon in their surrounding areas using the map and clues on the app with their cell phone.
Location technology isn't only used to devise games, it's used to help athletes keep track of their progress when they're participating in their sport of choice. Garmin Connect, for example, allows outdoor athletes (biking, skiing, hiking, etc) to map their progress, set their routes, even share data with other users. Tracking your health as part of your athletic regimen is one facet, but it's also beneficial for those who monitor their activity due to medical conditions. In fact, location technology and network communications allow physicians today better access to remote monitoring of patients, offering better outcomes for healthier lifestyles.
GPS technology has made its way into a great deal of your daily life. You'll notice that location features can be enabled on many of the social media sites and other apps that you use on your cell phone, helping you to connect the real world with your virtual reality.