What are they?
Location-based web services make use of satellite navigation (GPS) technology to add geographic information to software applications on computers and smartphones. Often these services will determine your location and use it to provide you with information about the things around you, or keep track of your whereabouts to determine your activities for the day. They can also be used to tell friends exactly where you are.
How does it work?
Location-based services rely on the GPS receiver in a smartphone, or other devices that receive signals from the GPS satellite constellations (and to a lesser extent surrounding mobile phone towers), to determine your location. This information may be fed into a mapping application to show you your location, or compared to a database of information of nearby locations, such as shops, restaurants and train stations.
Why are location-based services useful?
Location-based services such as Layar and Insqribe can provide a wealth of information about nearby locations. Foursquare is a game that lets users check in to locations to gain points and receive discounts from other nearby service providers.
What do you need to keep in mind if your children are using location-based services?
You need to ensure that children who have access to these services are not using them to broadcast their location to everyone on the internet. Also, online maps have been known to have errors so cannot be relied on completely for directions.