Location-Based Services

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What Does Location-Based Services Mean?

Location based services (LBS) are network services that use IP addresses and real-time geodata to provide end users with information that is relevant to the user's physical location.


Location-based services are opt-in and can be delivered through push or pull mechanisms. In push LBS delivery schemes, users receive information at the provider's convenience. In pull LBS delivery schemes, the user will only receives information if they request it.

Some of the most common applications for location-based services LBS applications include localizing responses to search engine queries and providing point-to-point driving directions. Other popular use cases for location based services include:

  • Store location — allow retail customers to quickly find the nearest store location.
  • Proximity-based marketing — limit ad delivery to computing devices within a specific geographic location.
  • Travel updates — deliver real-time information about traffic flow and weather to devices located within a defined area.
  • Roadside assistance — allow service providers to track a subscriber's location and notify authorities in the event of a breakdown or accident.
  • Workforce management — allow logistics-dependent companies to track employees within a specific office building or manufacturing plant.
  • Asset management — facilitate monitoring the location of certain physical corporate assets.
  • Financial fraud detection — reduce security risks by alerting customers when their credit card has been used to conduct transactions across several geographic locations over a short period of time.
  • Content delivery — serves website content from the nearest CDN server to improve page load times.

Techopedia Explains Location-Based Services

Advancements in GPS-enabled applications for transportation, farming and logistics has created a high demand for location-based services and companies are continually finding new ways to use device location information. Many software development platforms, particularly those used for creating mobile applications, now offer dedicated application performance interfaces (APIs) to support LBS.

Location Based Service Technologies

Because LBS are largely dependent on the user’s location, an important objective for any LBS service provider’s system is to determine where the user is. There are many techniques to achieve this, including the use of GPS and GeoIP lookup tables.

Short-range positioning beacons can also be used to provide location-based services. Such devices typically employ WiFi, Zigbee, near-field communication (NFC) or Bluetooth technologies and are ideal for indoor LBS applications.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.