Top Five Geolocation Trends for 2022 and Beyond
Geolocation is powering a whole new generation of technologies. Learn how smart cities, augmented reality, location-based marketing, mobile availability in the developing world, and autonomous vehicles and drone delivery are changing how people and machines navigate their environment.
Geolocation technology has become the foundation for all location-positioning services and applications. Its development was a significant turning point in the history of locational technology. The ability to identify an object’s geographic location in real-time has proven beneficial to various industries that have come to depend on this data.
More than 25 years after geolocation became widely available in 1995, billions of people worldwide now regularly carry a global positioning system (GPS) in their smartphones or other devices. Geolocation has become more critical than ever, and its relevance will only increase in the near future.
This article examines five top geolocation trends and analyzes the wide-ranging possibilities of geolocation in a dynamic world. We’ll also explore how TomTom’s technologies enable developers to take advantage of these trends through 2022 and beyond.
1. Smart Cities
As location-positioning services and applications continue to evolve, we’ll see an increase in the deployment of smart city infrastructure, including sensors and cameras, to improve traffic flow and, in turn, reduce congestion. These developments will support more efficient and sustainable urban environments. A smart city requires increasingly accurate location data to comprehend its operations and resource distribution and achieve this potential.
Geolocation data has a variety of uses, and developers can tailor this data to specific environments and apps. Among these functions is network traffic analysis, which will undoubtedly increase with the proliferation of smart cities.
Continual support from developers is vital for smart cities. Consequently, developers working on smart city systems depend on accurate location reporting from all sensors and cameras. This data especially includes sensors that integrate into vehicles traveling around cities to gather data continually. This integration will become increasingly common as autonomous vehicles gain widespread use.
Location reporting data lets developers overlay real-time status reports on maps, enabling both citizens and city staff to understand the city’s status in real-time. Armed with this information, people and automated systems can reroute traffic for better flow.
Developers can use a reliable source of up-to-date data, like TomTom’s real-time Traffic API, to build smart city applications. These applications could help cities gain insight from their data to upgrade infrastructure, automatically route buses and adjust traffic signal timing, and maybe one day direct autonomous snowplows to take the least-disruptive route.
2. Augmented Reality
Augmented reality (AR) is currently one of the most prevalent geolocation trends, and TomTom Maps APIs are redefining AR. As the name suggests, AR lets us see the real-world environment through a digital augmentation app.
AR apps mainly enhance the user experience by using graphics, text, or audio to enhance reality. Therefore, we will see more AR applications using geolocation to determine a user’s location. For example, geolocation capabilities in AR-enhanced apps have made it possible for users to locate terminals at an airport. This efficient navigation, in turn, improves the airport’s traffic flow.
Additionally, developers can use AR to overlay game graphics on real locations, significantly enhancing the pictures’ realism. We can also see AR in games that require the players to travel to specific real-world locations. Such games use location information to enhance the user’s experience and add tremendous entertainment value to the game content.
Location-based experiences are increasingly popular, and the application of AR technology is one of the ways that mobile device users can get an immersive look at their surroundings. But to ensure an optimal experience, running a practical AR application requires accurate data and excellent infrastructure.
AR is readily available and used in countless ways. Its benefits are far-reaching, and industries such as healthcare, education, and design can benefit from implementing AR technologies. Developers of premium location-based AR apps can only leverage this incredible technology using the most accurate location information for user devices and relevant points of interest.
Developers can leverage TomTom’s Maps APIs to place navigational hints atop actual camera output. Or, applications can pop up tips about nearby points of interest, such as restaurant ratings and price ranges. Applications can even guide students to identify historical landmarks or architectural details based on highly-accurate geolocation information.
3. Location-Based Marketing
Thanks to geolocation technologies in devices, which simplify the process of finding and accessing desired locations, the demand for more seamless location-based marketing has exploded. A range of applications can tailor information and services to users seeking nearby attractions, restaurants, and other points of interest using accurate and reliable data about a user’s location.
Beyond the private sector, developers working for cities and chambers of commerce can use location data to create location-based tourism apps that help people discover nearby attractions. Developers can incorporate TomTom’s geofencing APIs into their apps, as explored in Advanced Geofencing with TomTom Maps and Creating Geofences with GeoJSON to Define Virtual Borders. For instance, developers can incorporate features that inform travelers of nearby points of interest as they move throughout a region.
4. Increasing Mobile Availability in the Developing World
While billions of people are already using location-aware mobile devices, the number of smartphones in use will likely grow to over one billion by 2025. This growth represents a massive opportunity for developers as industries continue to expand and require improved services. Imagine all the location-based apps and services that have exploded in popularity over the past five years, such as ride-sharing and delivery apps.
Developing markets will want to use similar services tailored to their local needs. Developers have an enticing opportunity to use geolocation, geofencing, and TomTom’s location data from more than 170 countries to serve these new markets with the maximum impact.
5. Autonomous Vehicles and Drone Delivery
Autonomous vehicles and drone delivery are rapidly emerging from science fiction into reality. Although most developers won’t be creating autonomous vehicles or delivery drones, the existence of these technologies opens new possibilities for geolocation-based applications.
These transportation technologies cannot flourish without accurate geolocation services, as an address alone is often not sufficient. For example, with an address only, an autonomous vehicle will not know how to navigate to a specified drop-off location. And how will a delivery drone know how to find the designated delivery zone? Applying geolocation-equipped technologies to these devices provides them with the exact delivery locations.
While autonomous vehicles and drones have sensors and AI to optimize navigation, they depend on rich geolocation technology and points-of-interest data to ensure that autonomous cars go precisely where needed and help map drone delivery routes. Geolocation services can determine the position of a vehicle or drone while they are in service. But, for this to be possible, developers need access to APIs that provide detailed, up-to-date location data, such as the information from TomTom’s tracking APIs.
Using geolocation technology streamlines and enhances our experience with geolocation-based applications. These five trends and others provide an excellent starting point for developers to consider transforming and building upon geolocation-based services.
Geolocation technology has proven vital in a way that surpasses most other technologies. It is now the backbone of most applications and many businesses. Developers can benefit from this readily-available technology to produce innovative applications. Then, collected data can be of great importance to the advent of smart cities, shaping the effectiveness of augmented reality products and services and incorporating geofencing into all sectors.
The connected world of 2022 and beyond offers endless possibilities. To take advantage of these geolocation trends, start building with TomTom Maps APIs today!