Location awareness refers to devices (active or passive) that determine location, and to the process of delivering information about a device’s physical location to another application or user. This is done using methods such as GPS tracking, triangulation of radio signals (for mobile phones, for example), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ultra-wideband, radio-frequency identification (RFID), infrared, ultrasound and visible light communication (VLC). Location tracking tends to refer to the technologies that physically locate and electronically track and record a person or object, but do not necessarily deliver the information to another user or application. However, the two terms are often used together or interchangeably to refer to hardware and software that is used to record and track location and movement, manipulate data, analyse data, control information and events (give directions or access local services, for example) and send alerts or notifications. This type of hardware and software can include:

Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation systems in cars and smartphones;

real-time location systems embedded into mobile phones or navigation systems, based on wireless technologies (fleet or personnel tracking, or network security, for example);

patient tracking and healthcare monitors and devices (including vulnerable person tracking such as dementia trackers that send an alert when a person leaves their home or a specific area);

electronic tagging for monitoring and surveillance of offenders on work-release, parole or probation, using GPS and radio frequency technology;

182basic, micro and global trackers (watches, insoles or tags, for example), with functions such as SOS alert, leaving safe zone or geo-fence alert and two-way communication, for children, lone workers, pets, animals or valuable items;

portable data loggers that can be placed in bags or vehicles to log where the device travels and how quickly it moves, for examination at a later date;

tourist and heritage guides that use infrared markers, GPS trackers and/or augmented reality technology to guide and inform;

camera memory cards that tag the location of a picture;

supply chain management systems (logistics management software and warehouse management systems, for example);

location-based services on phones, tablets, laptops and desktops (query-based, such as find my phone or find a local service, or push-based, such as providing discounts for local services);

location-based advertising (or location-based marketing) on phones, tablets, laptops and desktops that target potential customers based on their physical location;

smart home or smart office technology that reacts when a person enters or leaves the building (switches on lights or heating, or turns off devices, for example);

software that processes sensor data (accelerometer and gyroscope, for example) in smartphones to determine location and motion (Chapters 49 and 57);

location analytics software that combines geographic location with business data (thematic mapping and spatial analysis, for example: Chapters 21 and 54).