Location-Based Services – Concept

copyrights:Aleksander Buczkowski 2011-2012

The concept of Location Based Services is based on years of development and convergence of different technologies as well as an evolution of information society where context and customization of information is one of the first priorities for users. Looking at the technological background of LBS it can presented as the intersection of several technologies: geographical information systems (GIS) and other spatial and positioning technologies, the Internet and the Web, and new information and communication technologies (NICTs).

The ‘Web GIS’ reflects development of Web mapping services that started operating in the mid 1990’s (e.x. Mapquest.com) and where widely popularized all over the world by Google Maps launched in 2005. This part reflects as well the evolution of many GIS Web based analytical tools including ArcGIS Online. The ‘Mobile GIS’ reflects the convergence of traditional GIS software and mobile devices (handheld computers, palmtops) that enabled field-based personnel to capture, store, update, manipulate, analyze, and display geographic information. Most of these solutions required downloading data to the mobile device.  The ‘mobile internet’ presents the development of two technologies: wireless internet and modern mobile devices. The resultant of these technologies is LBS which is utilizing all parts of this equation. Taking into consideration growing progress in all of those fields including increasing computing power of mobile devices, accuracy of positioning technologies, fast wireless internet connection and cloud computing, the LBS seems to have a potential to play a significant role among all of technologies.

In research, LBSs are often considered a part of the context-aware services. A system is context-aware if it uses context to provide relevant information and/or services to the user, where relevancy depends on the user’s task. Information or service can be triggered with so-called context information – several parameters reflecting the context of the user’s task. These parameters may be subdivided into personal, technical, spatial, social, and physical contexts. The major problem linked with context aware services is modeling those parameters in quantifiable and computable way. The spatio-temporal information about the user is one of few parameters that are straightforward and fairly easy to measure and use. This is linked to the term to the term Location-Aware Services that might be defined as Context-Aware Services that utilize the location of the user to adopt the behaviour of the service. Location-Based Services in a most general sense are services linked with location information; therefore Location-Aware Services are a special case of Location-Based Services.