Geolocation technology has become a mainstay in society, utilized for everything from navigation tools to social media platforms and even online gaming.

The recent Pokémon Go craze has shown just how pervasive location-based apps can be. But despite using the technology on a daily basis, many consumers—and even practitioners—do not have a solid understanding of how geolocation technology works. Just how does Yelp offer you a nearby dinner recommendation or RunKeeper track your daily miles?

ISACA set out to demystify geolocation technology with our new infographic, What Is Geolocation and How Does It Work? The infographic describes the types of data that are collected and how they are used to create accurate results. It also discusses the 3 main uses of geolocation technology, which include:

  • Geo-referencing: finding the physical location of an object relative to a map
  • Geo-coding: searching available types of objects or services by location
  • Geo-tagging: embedding geographic data into an object’s metadata for future reference

For many businesses, use of geolocation and mobile technologies is critical to success. The benefits of using geolocation technology can be realized in many industries, such as manufacturing, retail and financial services. Asset management, content customization and fraud detection are just a few areas where businesses are successfully using location-based technologies.
As with any technology, geolocation does come with its own set of risk. Concerns around privacy, safety and security of data abound. Mitigating the risk associated with geolocation requires a two-pronged approach of technology safeguards on the business end as well as increased awareness from users.

For individuals wanting a deeper dive into geolocation technology, including governance and assurance considerations and strategies for addressing risk, see the ISACA Journal Online-Exclusive article Geolocation: Risk and Benefits.

(About the author: Betsie Estes is research resource manager for the ISACA. This post originally appeared on her ISACA blog, which can be viewed here)

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