The number of companies using location-based services is increasing steadily. As of 2018, there were 242 million location-based service users in the United States. These numbers represent an increase in 22 million from the previous year, and there are no signs of a slow down in innovation.

It makes sense why more organizations would invest in location-based services. Location-based services provide real-time geo-data from users. This data offers a variety of knowledge and services, such as information, entertainment, and security.

This article will provide an overview of uses for location-based services and examples of location-based service applications.

What are location-based services?

Location-based services (LBS) use a smartphone’s GPS technology to track a person’s location. This data helps companies connect with smartphone users in real-time.

Services include things like “checking in” at a location (restaurant, coffee shop, event, etc.). In return for checking in, businesses can provide real-time rewards such as coupons, discounts, or prizes.

It’s also worthy to note that organizations can only track smartphone information if the users opt-in for the service. When a user opts-in, the service has the ability to identify a user’s location without the need for manual data entry.

What are the uses of location-based services?

There are several uses for location-based technologies. Here are some of the most popular ways businesses use LBS:

  • Maps. Providing detailed directions based on a user’s location is one of the primary uses of location-based technology.
  • Proximity-based marketing. Mobile marketing is one of the most popular uses of location-based services. With the help of an LMS, companies can push ads to customers within a specific geographical location.
  • Store location services. Location-based intelligence helps retail customers find the nearest store from their current location.
  • Fraud prevention. An LBS can work to check a customer’s location through their smartphone to a credit card transaction. This helps credit card companies prevent fraudulent charges.
  • Mobile workforce management. Location-based systems provide a way for employees to check-in via mobile devices when completing remote work.
  • Roadside assistance. Roadside assistant companies can track the location of customers in need of services.
  • Travel information. An LBS can provide real-time travel updates such as local weather reports, traffic updates, and more.

With the help of LBS, companies can provide more focused advertising, track customers and employees, and offer excellent customer service.

What are the top location-based service apps?

Most smartphone users are familiar with one of the most popular location-based service apps, Google Maps. In fact, Google Maps is the most popular navigation app by a long shot. 67% of smartphone users prefer Google Maps to other navigation apps, which is 6x more people than the second-most popular app, Waze.

While Google Maps is a widely known location-based service app, and probably the first one that comes to mind, it’s not the only LBS. Here are other examples of excellent LBS apps.

Uber & Lyft

Uber and Lyft are prime examples of user-friendly location-based service apps. Instead of waiting around to hail a taxi, Uber and Lyft users can send out a request for a ride. The app will search for drivers nearby and make a match based on proximity. Users can even opt for a cheaper carpool option, which is also based on location data.

This use of location-based technology provides for a more convenient, user-friendly, and safer ride-share experience.


Foursquare was one of the most innovative LBS apps, as it popularized the action of checking into locations via a mobile device.

While Foursquare isn’t as popular as it once was, other industry leader apps, including Yelp and Facebook, have adopted the Foursquare idea of checking in to a location.

Dark Sky

Dark Sky is a cool weather app that uses LBS technology to provide hyperlocal forecasts.

Based on your location, Dark Sky will tell you forecasts for exact addresses and times. Dark Sky aggregates weather data and provides a detailed 24-hour forecast with “next hour” updates and when weather conditions may change.


Curbside is a location-based service app that allows users to place orders online. The retailer can fulfill the order and send a notification when the order is ready. Then, the customer can wait at the curb for an employee to deliver the item.

This LBS technology thrives on convenience. Consumers no longer have to wait in line, find parking, or send someone to pick up their order

Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go was a revelation when it first launched. It wasn’t uncommon to see people gathering around in strange places to catch a Pokémon character.

This mobile gaming hit uses augmented reality to help users capture characters in exciting places. The purpose of the app is to usher smartphone users out of their homes and place them in real-world locations, including stores where they can make purchases.


Target is one brand that remains popular because of its willingness to innovate. Target incorporated LBS technology to improve its mobile user experience.

Now, customers can pick up products via the Target “Drive up” curbside program. This program is rolling out nationwide, and it allows users to place an order via a mobile device, select “Drive up,” pay for their order online, and pick their order up curbside.

The app is equipped with technology that tracks a user’s location, sends notifications, and makes the shopping experience convenient.

Gas Buddy

There is little worse than the feeling that comes from having a near-empty gas tank, not being familiar with your surroundings, and having no idea which direction to turn to find a gas station.

Thankfully, apps like Gas Buddy use LBS technology to help drivers avoid this situation. GasBuddy connects drivers to a database of thousands of gas stations and provides store locations, price information, and ratings based on user and store locations.

GasBuddy also offers a rewards program and a payment service, Pay with GasBuddy. This helps the app connect with customers in more meaningful ways.

Wrap Up

Location-based services have revolutionized data collection, shopping experience, navigation, and customer experience across several industries. As smartphones continue to grow in popularity, it will be interesting to see how LBS technology continues to change and improve.

For more information about using LBS as a data collection tool, visit Fuel Cycle today.