Understanding Location-based systems II

Milsat Technologies
3 min readApr 23, 2021


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In the previous article on Understanding Location-based systems, the universal need to pinpoint the location of individuals either at rest or in motion was established. The increasing acceptance and integration of several layers of location data by the big names of major industries was also discussed. This article will focus on demystifying the exciting relationship that exists between geographical information systems as a technology and location-based systems.

Location-based systems are perceived to be a closer technology to users. The technology gives users the chance to access real-time information about points of interest, however, the bedrock of all Location-based systems remains the impressive technology of GIS. Both GIS and LBS have different origins with a unique user community, although GIS is much older and evolved with the application of geographic data obtained from earth-orbiting satellites, near-earth mapping devices, drones and UAVs among others. Geographical Information systems require extensive computing resources and possess the capability to satisfy a wide range of functionality in the spatial context. Whereas LBS was originated recently by the development of mobile devices and it is more popular among individual users rather than professional organizations.


The exciting relationship between LBS and GIS

Geographical Information System or GIS is a technology used for collecting, storing, analyzing, and editing all kinds of data related to earth. So, it provides answers to all kinds of queries associated with geographic information science. Location-based systems represent a real-world application of the endless potentials of GIS. However, LBS is different from other traditional geographic information systems (GIS) and web mapping applications because they are aware of the context within which their users are currently in, and can adapt the contents and presentation accordingly.

To make LBS work, several key components are required: a mobile device or internet-enabled device, positioning capabilities, a communication network, and a service and content provider. The positioning component relies solely on GIS technology, and it determines the current location of the user. GPS is often used and map matching algorithms are deployed to improve poor GPS accuracy in outdoor conditions, while Wi-fi networks are employed to achieve increased accuracy in an indoor environment. Notably, visualization is the most integral part of an LBS. The chance to toggle between several layers of spatial data and well-grounded maps is what GIS technology offers a Location-based system.

The role of GNSS

Through GIS, global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) can communicate with LBS platforms to receive real-time location data. GNSS provides the location and time information in all weather conditions, anywhere on or near the Earth’s surface where there is an unobstructed line of sight to at least four or more global positioning satellites, establishing access to accurate location data of an object or individual of interest that is visualized through a location-based system platform.


Answering the questions

Overall, a Location-based system, even though has a strong GIS principle, does not capture everything GIS stands to represents. Rather, LBS effectively combines the spatial strength of GIS with a communication network to give several layers of location information. LBS has its origin in GIS and is an intersection of different technologies including GIS, mobile Internet, and telecommunication. So Geographical Information System is an inseparable part of Location-Based Service like Global Positioning System (GPS), Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and location-enabled Wi-Fi.

Today, location-based systems are utilized in several industries that include marketing, emergency, information services, navigation, location-based social media, mobile location-based gaming, sports, billing, geotagging, tracking, augmented reality. Notably, these industries have always utilized GIS to cater to the geospatial needs of their companies, and it will be of no surprise if several sectors integrate LBS to further boost their organization reach.



Milsat Technologies

We design and develop geospatial solutions that make data acquisition and access easy for businesses and groups in Africa