Location-based media (LBM), or also called location-based services, is another advancement of mobile devices and network technologies. LBM uses geolocation mechanisms to provide services to a mobile device user based on their location. The user's location is used to tailor content delivered to them, as well as allow the sharing of information with others. The location information can be determined in real time or from information embedded in pictures, videos and other files.
The LBM Advantages
Social media has taken advantage of LBM with several applications being developed to target mobile users. Foursquare , Facebook Places and Gowalla are applications that are currently offering location based social networking. These services allow you to "check in" to a location and update your social network on your whereabouts and, in many cases, include the others in your network who are there with you. Users are also offered discounts and coupons by checking in at locations, such as the example of Starbucks offering Foursquare users coupons if they pass by a store.
Think of a student, employee or tourist in a new city. Prior to LBM, the newcomer would buy a map, an “all about the city” book and, in recent times, use Google Maps or Yelp search to find places to eat, relax, go to church or just go sightseeing. LBM has changed this practice, as now your mobile or other smart device can give recommendations based on your preference settings and your location. You simply walk down the street and receive an alert from your device that an Italian restaurant is ahead, or an historic monument is at the next corner.
Other Uses of LBM
LBM also has uses in education to assist students during field trips and teachers being able to link photos, videos and information back to the location and the experience. Google introduced a service to share location with family and friends via Google Maps. The difference with this and other tracking services is the exact location and movements can be tracked. As creepy as this sounds, it does have it upsides, such as when you split up a large group at an amusement park or for your children when you are not around.
Privacy and Security Concerns of LBM
Whenever there is any mechanism that can divulge information on your comings and goings to the public, privacy and security becomes a concern. LBM is based on geolocation and geotagging and, as such, keeping your whereabouts private and secure for the most part are in your hands. It is your responsibility to manage your privacy settings and divulge this information only to the people who need it. Unfortunately, limiting the people that can access your location does not prevent it to be shared by others and how much information can be inferred from it. One example that emerged from LBM is the project Please Rob Me , which is an alert to the danger of location-based information being used by mischievous users to know when houses are unoccupied and could be robbed.
- Check the settings on your smartphone and mobile device: Turn off GPS and close location tracking applications when not in use.
- Use LBM responsible: Only add persons you know to your social network and don't share your every move via an LBM service.