Mobile Geo-Tagging – How It Works and Important Things to Know

With the internet and wireless communications playing such a large part in our lives, there’s a lot of information around these days – and much of it is simply data about data. This metadata as it’s known describes not only resources, web pages, and database entries, but also objects – including some of the artifacts that we create every day.

The additional information provided by metadata[1] can be useful – but in the wrong hands, or communicated in the wrong way, it can also be a problem. Such is the case with geo-tagging.

Geo-tagging is the process of attaching location information in the form of geographical metadata to digital media like web sites, videos, and photographs. Geo-tags may also be applied to digital output and communications such as tweets or status updates on social media.

The information included in a geo-tag may include place co-ordinates (latitude and longitude), bearings, altitude, distances, or even place names.

Useful Applications for Geo-Tagging

Geo-tagging is a function of the location services associated with your computer system, network, or mobile devices. It’s powered by the global positioning system (GPS) or satellite positioning used by your system, and based on the position and co-ordinates of the metadata, geo-tagging may be used to find location-specific destinations (e.g. shops and restaurants) or web sites and online resources.

Most social networks and their related services use some form of geo-tagging to track the location of their subscribers. This allows users to augment their posts and updates with their current location. If you’re traveling the world or visiting a new restaurant or night spot, this can be a great way to let your friends know where you are, and what you’re doing.

One of the commonest uses of geo-tagging is to associate a location with the pictures or footage shot by a smartphone camera or digital recording device. Geo-tagging may occur after a photograph or video footage is shot, or once the images are posted online. The increasing numbers of cell phones with built-in GPS facilities are capable of geo-tagging a photograph as it’s being shot.

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