Wednesday, June 27, 2012

List of Location-Based Services

Update: This list was updated in a new post in April 2013, check out my new list.

Every couple weeks there are major changes to location-based service. Big players are out, new exciting apps come in, such as YWCA's Safety Siren and Swim Guide.

This month, it's the launch of Google+ Local (replacing Google Places). Lately, Banjo is also getting a heap of buzz. And it wasn't that long ago that Facebook bought Glancee.

Trying to keep track of these apps is rather futile under such conditions. But this list demonstrates the interesting ways location-based services (LBS) can be used and highlights their cool features, so I find it useful to keep updating it.

LBS are mobile device apps are able to able to determine users' physical location and then deliver content or experiences relevant to that location. The list below is categorized based on the application's leading purpose. However, many applications offer overlapping functionality.

The descriptions in quotation marks are taken from that application's website.

Coordination, Communication, and Safety
  • Crowdmap - open-source hosted solution to present location-specific crowdsourced info whether for activism, crises, or community projects
  • Glympse - share your location with your contacts and specify the duration of visit
  • Groundcrew - "coordinates on-the-ground action with your people. Use location, availability, and skills to mobilize in realtime."
  • Guardly - "When an emergency occurs, your personal safety network will always know where you're located....we can pin-point your exact GPS location and provide you with valuable information about what's located around you, and how it can aid your situation."
  • Moby - family member tracking and coordination
  • Swim Guide - find nearby beaches, their safety status, and historical info
  • YWCA Safety Siren - sends geolocation to emergency contacts, maps and directions to women's health clinics & resources, etc.
Commerce and Marketing
  • MapDing- hyperlocal classifieds
  • Placecast - service provider for brands to create geolocative mobile apps
  • Priority Moments - proximity-based promotions & deals (only in London, UK)
  • - allows a user to search and receive info and pix on properties for sale in their vicinity or across Canada. Also offers proximity-based new listings and open houses (Rightmove has this for London, UK)
  • Shopkick - "gives you rewards and offers simply for walking into stores, for scanning products, and for signing up friends"
  • Shopcatch - location-based deals (Canadian company)
  • Sociallight - service provider of geolocative apps
  • Where - proximity-based promotions and deals
  • YellowPages - detects your location or enter one to retrieve nearby businesses or people
  • Flickr - upload & search for georeferenced photos (also the ZoneTag tool from Yahoo appears to facilitate this)
  • Geoloqi - "securely shar[e] location data, with features such as Geonotes, proximal notification, and sharing real-time GPS maps with friends."
  • Historypin - enables users to add old photographs and text narratives to locations
  • Instagram - popular photo-sharing app that allows georeferencing & sharing with foursquare
  • Murmur - recorded oral histories of place, uses old cellphone tech as users see plaque and call specific number to hear targetted message
  • Tagwhat - a "mobile encyclopedia of where you are... learn all about the world around you through interactive stories, videos, and photos"
  • urbantag - tag and share lists of places with friends
Geosocial Networking
  • Banjo - geosocial discovery - helps you find friends and people with similar interests near you
  • BuzzE - proxmity friend finding and networking
  • CheckIn+ - "all-in-one check-in app with augmented reality"
  • Citysense - "real-time nightlife discovery and social navigation"
  • Find My Friends - Apple-based friend finder
  • Glassmap - friend tracking
  • Google Latitude - "see where your friends are right now"
  • Grindr and Blendr gay and straight friend and dating finder
  • GyPsii - claims to be the world's largest geosocial network
  • Highlight - "if your friends are nearby, it will notify you. If someone interesting crosses your path, it will tell you more about them"
  • Hurricane Party - "helps friends find, share, and create spontaneous parties"
  • Locle - geo-based friend finder
  • Plazes - proxmity friend finding
  • Skout -"find interesting singles close-by, strike up a conversation, maybe grab a drink or share a cup of coffee"
Local Discovery and Hyperlocal Information
  • Around Me - find business near your location by biz type (similar for gas is GasBuddy)
  • EveryTrail - "find and follow trips from other travelers"
  • Geopedia - geotargetted Wikipedia entries - as also offered by WikiMe
  • Google+ Local - combines Google's old Places listings with Zagat content and their Google+ social network features
  • Junaio - AR-based vicinity info search, including business and attractions
  • Layar - augmented reality browser
  • Local Books by Library Thing "It shows you local bookstores, libraries and bookish events wherever you are or plan to be."
  • Nearest Wiki - "AR view, with a synopsis against points of interest near you. Tapping on the place you wish to learn more about will give you more in-depth information on the location with images" content from Wikipedia
  • Poynt - local search with proximity based reviews and mapping
  • Star Chart- not exactly local, but uses your position and AR view to offer info on the heavens (Google offers similar functionality with their Google Sky Map service)
  • Trover - "log remarkable places and things by snapping a photo and adding a quick note. When your friends and others pass by in the future they, too, can experience your discovery. Track the paths of friends and other interesting folks using our "follow" mode"
  • Twitter Places - search for tweets within a specified area or tag places in your tweets
  • Zeitag - historical photographs
Location-based Games
  • Booyah - variety of games, including MyTown and Nightclub City
  • My Town - "built around your local shops, restaurants, and hangouts. Level-up, unlock items, and earn cash to buy your favorite real-life locations."
  • SCVNGR - "share where you are & what you're up to with your friends. Do challenges to earn points and unlock badges & real-world rewards."
  • TapCity - "play with friends as you build and defend your very own city made up of your favorite places in the real world."
Navigation and Transportation
  • BlackBerry Traffic by RIM uses GPS and customized maps to "establish your estimated time of arrival, find out if a road is closed, or decide to take a faster, alternate route"
  • MyCar Park - "capture your parking location on a map, add a photo, and comments... Then built in maps direct you to your car from your current location."
  • Nearest Subway - locates nearest subway station for New York, Chicago, Tokyo, Paris, Madrid, etc.
  • Red Rocket - Toronto transit maps, routes, schedules, and nearest stop
  • SitOrSquat - find nearby bathrooms with user reviews of their cleanliness by Charmin (genius marketing effort and I must say the most useful LBS to come along in ages!)
  • Waze - "free, community-based traffic & navigation app"

Personal Efficiency and Organization
  • Siri's Location Services - directions, recommendations, and personal efficiency services based on your location
  • Task Ave - "location-aware reminders. Magically get alerts when you're nearby a task."
  • Voxora - "voicemail for places", integrates with foursquare
  • Social Recommendation and Navigation

  • DeHood - tap into neighbourhood buzz to find local businesses
  • - foursquare-based and only in NYC it sends "a text message when you check into a NYC restaurant that is at risk of being closed for health code violations"
  • Goby - suggests "fun things to do" based on your location or category (US only)
  • Localmind - get answers about a specific place & real-time events by people who are there
  • Urbanspoon - location and shaking based restaurant recommendations
  • Urbantag - customize a list of favourite places and share with friends
  • Wikitude - offers A.R., map, or list view of various types of proximal content (reviews, deals, and Wikipedia entries)
  • Yelp and Citysearch - user-generated local reviews combined with local search engine
Travel and Place Guides
  • Ask a Nomad - answered on your travel questions from fellow travellers
  • Compass by Lonely Planet - "plot itineraries on dynamic, GPS-enabled map. Grab practical information and useful tips using our augmented reality camera view"
  • Gogobot - travel tips from friends & other users
  • MobilyTrip - social networking travel diary app
  • mTrip - "automatically customizes your trip itinerary...guides you to each tourist attraction with directions, uses augmented reality to display tourist attractions in your area, and allows you to share your trip with personalized e-postcards"
  • Ski & Snow Report - detailed ski info snow amounts, traffic volume, weather, lift times, etc)
  • Ski Tracks - a GPS-enabled ski log of your routes, velocity, etc. with ability to geotag your pix
  • TimeOut - travel guide apps for various tourist hot-spots
  • TripAdvisor - get TripAdvisor's content on your mobile with proximity search option
  • Tripbirds - travel tips from friends
  • Trippy - get trip advice from your social network

Early and/or Deceased LBS:
  • Brightkite, Centrl, Loopt, Rally Up, and Gowalla - pioneers in place check-ins(Facebook Places also tried this market and then soon closed)
  • Dodgeball - SMS, pre-cursor to foursquare bought by Google and eventually shut down (see CNET eulogy)
  • Dopplr - social travel planning (bought by Nokia and withered)
  • Flook - offered user-generated geolocated information
  • Glancee - friend finder based on proximity and social and personal commonalities (started in 2010, bought by Facebookand shut down)
  • GeoSpot - started in 2005 and offered location-based information and search products
  • Hidden Park - "iPhone adventure game created especially for young families...lead(s) children into a fantasy world of trolls, fairies and tree genies - right in their local park"
  • Fire Eagle and Friends on Fire - location sharing platform and API, by Yahoo
  • Magitti - local recommendation, from PARC (see ReadWriteWeb article)
  • Mscape - location-based gaming platform by HP
  • Whrrl - users joined interest and brand based groups to get recommendations, tips, and deals

  • Please let me know of any corrections or ones you recommend be added to this list.


Anonymous said...


Brett Rosen said...

Would like to add BuzzE as an item that fits under the geosocial services. It is largely a Facebook alternative with status post sharing and one on one chat and video exchange and theme based group chat rooms.

Anonymous said...

Superb collection. Hats off to you buddy. Keep it up

Glen Farrelly said...

Watching the show App Central and they profile a true life-saver app - 112Iceland

Users hiking the wilds of Iceland can leave notes of their last location for use in a potential search-and-rescue mission if necessary

Best Cheap Travel Deals said...

Urbantag is definitely handy when you travel. Save, share and discover places with your friends, with this you can't be lost event to a place unfamiliar to you. Great mobile apps!