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OPLIN 4Cast #161: Location-based services

Posted in 4cast

Last updated on January 27, 2010

Location-based services are built into to many of our favorite online tools.  For example, with our mobile apps or GPS, we can find nearby restaurants, theaters, gas stations, etc.

The value of shared location data will depend on the quantity of people sharing and the quality of the location-aware updates.  Services such as Twitter, Loopt, Foursquare, Gowalla, Google and potentially Facebook will give everyone the opportunity to share what they know about their location so you can judge for yourself where you want to go next.

With that in mind, libraries will want to consider how this will impact them.  Do you participate?  Do you follow up on comments that were not in your favor?  Do you give incentives for people to visit?

Cool fact:
Location-based software has been used for the greater good in locating disaster survivors, during the Iranian election/debacle and on World Aids Day.

One such open-source product, Ushahidi, is there for disasters. “The Ushahidi engine is there for ‘everyday’ people to let the world know what is happening in their area during a crisis, emergency or other situation.” It brings “awareness, linking those in need to those who can assist, and providing the framework for better visualization of information graphically.”