The Future of Geo-Tagging

Kelly    July 16, 2014


Industry: Geographical identification via the world wide web

Description of how social media is used for business performance:

Geo-tagging. As it has been present in our social media atmosphere for some time now, it continues to advance as we advance. Lets look how some of today’s major applications have incorporated geo-tagging in their functioning…

Facebook: Many of you are familiar with the option to “check-in” that Facebook offers. With this, you can choose a location that you are currently in and tag fellow Facebook friends with you. There is also the option that while posting one or more photos on your wall, you can tag the location of where a particular photo was taken. From this, users can now identify all the places you have recently been to in a section on your profile page called “Places.” Clicking on any of these places will direct you to that place’s page.


Instagram: When posting a photo on Instagram, you can geo-tag a particular location you have been to. Like Facebook, you can type a location of where you were and Instagram will begin to recognize that or similar locations. After posting the photo, you click on that tagged location and look at other peoples photos that have geo-tagged that same location.

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Snapchat: Most recently, the utmost popular application Snapchat has also introduced “geofilters.” A few months ago, the app introduced different options that you can use to modify your photo by simply swiping left. Now, with the same process you can swipe to until the application has discovered your correct location.

However, the idea of geo-tagging within applications has reached new heights. Personally, it almost feels as though it is excreting tones of exploitation and communicating a different kind of surveillance. There are a few applications I want to exemplify to show you what I mean….

Tinder, is the latest “dating” application widely used among ‘single and ready to mingle’ mobile users. The app is connected through Facebook so as you are swiping right or left for love interests, you can see what mutual friends you and the person in question have in common. Whats more interesting is that the application will tell you how far away that person is, portraying the idea of how convenient meeting this person will be.

Find my Friends is an app that is actually associated through Apple. Connected through Apple Maps, you can find out the exact location of your fellow contacts. The application has to be turned on through your phone in order for others to see your location (thank goodness!) You can even get even more personal with the app Life360. It lets you track family members, coordinate and communicate all in one.

To contradict all of this, I will reference Cloak. An app that scans all your social media outlets (Foursquare, Instagram, Twitter & Facebook) to see where your friends are. You would think that this app was created with the intention to find out where your friends are, though it has the exact opposite purpose. Hense the name, Cloak, is the ultimate antisocial app. So you can avoid your friends when you want some time for yours truly.

But lets put the brakes on all the negative Nancy talk about geo-tagging. It can actually be used for positive and helpful reasons. There are a variety of applications that use geo-tagging to benefit a situation. Fitness apps such as RunKeeper, Runtastic, Map My Run and Cycle Tracker Pro use geo-tagging to track steps and help calculate a route to your liking. Recommendation apps also come in pretty handy when you find yourself in an unknown area and want to see whats around. Yelp, Foursquare, Zagat and Snoox just to name a few. The possibilities with geo-tagging and its uses are endless.

Lastly, I want to reference Google’s latest and greatest, Google Glass. This simple looking device comes in many shapes and sizes and does pretty much just about everything. Gathering from reviews and research I’ve conducted, it seems as though the main focuses for this little gadget are for travel, convenience and activity.  When just referring to geo-tagging, the amount of things that you can do with this thing are mind blowing. Navigation, get transit directions, receive traffic notifications to name a few. It is everything that a smart phone device has to offer and literally works right before your eyes.

Lessons for others:

The future of geo-tagging is endless as it continues to grow and develop in our technological society. For one thing, you can say goodbye to fold-out maps because probably never get lost in an unknown area again. Another being, it constantly educates you on where you are and what you can experience in that area. Geo-tagging is nothing but beneficial as it can enhance our participation in certain activities while making an area more attractive. I am curious to see what the future of geo-tagging holds in this sense, because it already has given me a different perspective on communicating with others whilst embracing a new and culture or urban area.

Submitted By: Kelly Hawker, University of Waterloo

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If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Programme Director, Social Media for Business Performance.

Web References:

 Cloak – Youtube Video 

Snapchat – Youtube Video 

Google Glass – Youtube Video 

Beyond Foursquare