Ethan Li

Project Manager

May 31, 2013

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How Geospatial Tagging Can Help Businesses

Screen Shot 2013-05-30 at 4.42.55 PM

We all know it’s fast becoming standard for social media users to share their locations when interacting with others. For example, users on Facebook use the “check in” function to share where they are with friends, or they can tag a photo with the location it was taken. Most smart-phones and some digital cameras now have built-in GPS that automatically attaches location information to the photos which goes along with them when uploaded to popular sharing sites like Picasa or Flickr. Most of these sites can now even display your photos, and posts on a map so you can visualize the locations of your content.

Tagging photos and posts on social media can be fun , but it can be applied in practical business and marketing usages as well. For example, what if you’re a brand looking to expand your retail network, and already have a bucket of targeted real estate candidates for future store sites. How can you obtain more valuable insights from them? Traditionally, it would cost a lot of time and money to send a survey team to specific sites, to hand collect all the valuable information required to get the job done effectively. But it’s far too burdensome for you to manage all the communications and processes, not to mention human errors, misunderstandings and typos.

Therefore, geotaged photos could be a great solution for cutting down this process. since smartphones and GPS digital cameras have already recorded this precise data, and embedded it into photos, they could be used to cut a lot of time and cost out of your data collection.  You can even add additional related attributes to each photo with customized applications, allowing you to integrate them into your original work-flow seamlessly. Moreover, the survey routes can also be collected with the help of GPS tracker which would then enable them to display walking or driving routes.

 With the widespread coverage of Wifi and 3G in almost all countries across the globe, real-time streaming and on-line mapping is not a dream any more. You can easily check where you are in Apple or Google Maps, zoom in and out in either street maps or satellite image, or even switch to street view to know more about its surroundings. More and more Location Based Service (LBS) Apps also let you query how many restaurants, hotels, tourist spots, etc around where you are right now, displaying the distance, address, phone number, or people’s comments. In a previous post we even discussed how flickr and Picasa images could be used to create tourist density maps, which would benefit those business who’s core market includes the tourist demographic.

As more and more services and social media platforms continue to integrate geospatial tagging into their activities, the more opportunities for business to leverage them will continue to present themselves.

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