Home Your Tech Mobility It’s a geo-centric world (dangerous or not)

It’s a geo-centric world (dangerous or not)

Geo is the new trendy antecedent that is replacing i- and e-. What’s it all about? You need to know!

In the simplest terms ‘geo-whatever’ means obtaining your location – a ‘Where On Earth Identification number (WOEID) of you/your computing device (geo-latitude, geo-longitude, altitude, bearing, time and speed) and converting that (with the advent of street level maps like Google Maps) to a geo-address.

Many of the following terms are (or may become) common geo-coding Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) or supported in programming languages like JavaScript. APIs typically ‘automate” a common programming tasks by using one word instead of lots of lines of code.

Note: The hyphen separating the words is usually optional and is used for clarity only. The last word is how that information may be used. This list is not exhaustive and I welcome feedback to add to, or clarify any of the terms.


Geo-location – determining your WOEID via geo-sensing

Geo-sensing – senses a person’s WOEID either by cross triangulation of mobile phone towers, or Wi-Fi networks, or GPS or soon Near Field Communications chips or Loyalty program or credit card use.

Geo-URL – determining a websites WOEID (usually where the web-server is located).

Geo-IP - determining an IP’s WOEID for a non GPS or mobile equipped device i.e. a desktop computer or server.

Geo-coding – conversion of WOEID to a physical address (or vice versa) making an application location aware.

Geo-format – expressing geographical coordinates in HTML programming language

Geo-stationary – a fixed distance relative to a particular point on the earth’s surface i.e. GPS orbital satellites.

Geo-services – Yahoo! BOSS Geo Services use many of the terms above to allow Developers to use Search and Geo aware applications. Most search engines have similar API’s. Yahoo! says that Geo-services leads to greater user experiences and more revenue for your location based business.





Geo-public/private – whether your device transmits geo location data that can be used (public) or not (private) – the default is public.

Geo-data is part of big data that allows for results to be cross tabulated with things like buying preferences or demographics.


Geo-block/s/ing - excluding a location like Australia from an international music or shopping site usually with the excuse that there are international classification, licensing, censorship issues but usually to enable higher charges to be levied.

Geo-fencing – defining a specific area to transmit data over Wi-Fi or cellular networks i.e. a specific conference room or a city building. It can also be used to geo-block transmission to certain areas.

Geo-tagging – adding WOEID to a photo

Geo-SMS – a new tag that gives SMS an dMMS messages a hidden but usable WOEID tag.

Geo-social – matching WOEID up with social media and personal data opening up ways for advertisers to entice you to try different suppliers.

Geo-caching – a treasure hunting game using GPS to hide and seek containers www.geocaching.com

Geo-logging – mapping/tracing a person’s movements over time (great for stalkers or CSI!)

Geo-trust – whether the user’s device may be in a location where for example more fraudulent transactions occur or where their device may be stolen. May be useful for electronic transactions.

Geo-marketing – a new marketing discipline based on location.

Geo-informatics – monitoring the location of assets usually with the help of a Geographic information system via satellites or cellular phone network etc.

Geo-mashup or Geo-CMS – uses maps to record the location of posts, tweets and blogs in a Content Management system like WordPress (similar to geo-tagging) – allows the map to display where people are tweeting from.

Geo-search – uses your WOEID to bring back only relevant results within a defined or default distance

Geo-shopping – similar to geo-search but allows sellers to offer specific goods and services in a specific locational radius. For example real estate agencies may use this for rentals and sales in particular suburbs or precincts.

Geo-portal – a web site that changes according to the location of the visitor

Geo-blog – a blog restricted to a certain area i.e. a local community group may use this to provide commentary about their area or provide more granular map detail as you approach areas in their location. Alternatively only people in the geo-blog area can add to the blog.

Geo-group – a group based on specific locational data.

Geo-hood (neighborhood) or geo-community refers to the local area you work or live in.


Everything that I read on this subject says “Get over it” inferring that the locational services are a much in demand service and that it won’t be abused by advertisers, marketers and government. Of course most of what I have read is written by Google, Yahoo et all so its a matter of "the fox minding the chickens". The fact that more and more powerful API’s (uses) are evolving means that more and locational uses will be found.

Locational uses in marketing means, at worst limiting the selection to what’s within your geo-hood and some would say that there is way too much to choose from anyway – I say freedom of choice in my hood or elsewhere is an inalienable right. For a little more on this see this iTWire article on browsing privacy

Although most of us don’t do anything nearly risky enough on the web Choice magazine has recommended the using a VPN service to protect your identity and to access geo-blocked web sites - TorVPN, LogMeIn Hamachi, Hotspot Shield, HMA, IPVanish and Overplay.




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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!