What is Geolocation?

Everything on the Earth’s surface has a location that can be expressed with just two coordinates. Using new classes of geolocation tools, it is very easy to determine and capture the exact location of physical objects — and even to capture the exact locations where photographs and video are taken. It is also becoming easier to work with geolocation data: it can be plotted on maps; combined with data about other events, objects, or people; graphed; charted; or manipulated in myriad ways. Indeed, such data are leading to entirely new forms of mapping. Our devices increasingly have the ability to know where they are (and, consequently, where we are), and to routinely record our coordinates as we take photographs, talk to friends, or post updates to social networking websites. The transparency of this group of technologies — increasingly embedded in all sorts of devices — is making them very much an essential part of our lives. Recent advancements in mobile apps leverage geolocation so that users may learn more about a site they are visiting, or discover other people or places in their vicinity, making the areas surrounding them new and dynamic spaces for learning.