Infographic: How location data is collected

Every time you update your status or log into a Wi-Fi hotspot your information is collected. Companies are sifting through the location-based services (LBH) data to project how to maximize its potential.

In a recent report by Gartner, global smartphone sales have grown by 3.6 percent to 435 million in the second quarter of 2013 up from that of the second quarter in 2012. Some of the growth can be attributed to the FCC announcement in September 2011, when the FCC issued a mandate to U.S. phone carriers to include GPS capabilities on phones by 2018. The reason being to have smartphones to match the upgrades to the 911 system. Operators on the 911 lines would be able to locate the position of mobile calls just as they would a landline.

Smartphones with location services will only grow leading to an unexpected boon for companies looking to match offerings, especially local offers to consumers. Not to mention companies could potentially follow users along on their smartphone activity to better understand buying habits and consequently influencing their purchase decisions.

How is location data collected? Check out this infographic by Business Insider which shows four common channels for gathering data:

  • Cell towers
  • Wi-Fi connections
  • IP address
  • User-generated
location data

Image credit: BI Intelligence

With the ability to aggregate this level of detail, privacy is one of the main issues for location services. Users on Android and iOS platforms can turn off location settings to protect their privacy.

LBS data combined with user habits such as researching products on phones, finding or researching restaurants, mapping, and navigation, which this Harris Interactive poll shows, give companies many ways to learn more about their users and test programs that are more effective.

Featured image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Joy Ma

Joy Ma

Contributor at Tech Page One
Based in Silicon Valley, Joy Ma is a longtime tech journalist and startup veteran. She currently serves as’s Executive Editor. Email her [email protected]
Joy Ma
Tags: Data Center,Technology