More than maps: the evolution of location-based applications

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Introduction: the early days of LBS
  3. Disruptive forces driving opportunity in LBS
  4. Current technological and business challenges
  5. Solutions
  6. Innovators in the LBS market
  7. Frameworks for creating long-term LBS strategy
  8. Key takeaways
  9. About Peter Crocker
  10. About deCarta


Over the years, mobile navigation and mapping applications have evolved, and the method in which they are built has changed as well. Early location-based services (LBS) apps were difficult to build and required specialized skills, but over the years, leading map and geospatial technology vendors have simplified the development of location-focused mobile apps. As a tradeoff for simpler app development tools and services, developers have relinquished some control and flexibility. Innovation and change in the industry is driving demand for increased control of data and the user experience of location-based apps. New tools and approaches are emerging to meet this demand. Mobile developers and marketing executives need to understand the capabilities of emerging technologies and the strategic implications of sticking with the status quo. Key findings include:

  1. Hyperlocal location services and the connected car are driving disruption.
  2. Developers need to take more control of the mapping experience within their apps to create differentiation and promote their brands.
  3. Understanding the usage context as well as proximity will differentiate location-based applications.
  4. Current and future contextual capabilities will be another key differentiator.
  5. Flexible, comprehensive LBS platforms are providing new alternatives.
  6. Open-source maps and software are challenging the dominance of traditional map content vendors.

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