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The Power of Location (LOC)

Location and place are effectives means to organize, analyze and understand our world and how we live.

Title Description


Trends in spatial thinking includes how GPS affects how we think about our world and navigation. Also the use of place, and how vernacular geography is used to describe it. One must avoid the temptation to think of place only as a location. (DSTL) A place is distinguished by its people, markets, governments, and institutions, as much as it is by its physical landscape and natural resources, transportation systems (including streets and roads), buildings, and boundaries- (US National Academies).

Location as indicator of intent

“Location targeting is holy grail for marketers”- Sir Martin Sorrell, WPP CEO, MWC 2011
By measuring the entropy of each individual’s trajectory, we find a 93% potential predictability in user mobility - Limits of Predictability in Human Mobility, Science 2010
1st law of geography: "Everything is related to everything else, but near things are more related than distant things.” - Waldo Tobler.


Personal electronic devices now measure much of our activity and context. New methods to capture, quantify and communicate individual human activity at a micro level are now available, e.g., OASIS’s Classification of Everyday Living (COEL). Rating services for individual behaviors, e.g., risk rating, will develop similar to credit risk rating services.

Location Authentication

Confirmation of location is critical for many activities, e.g., location of transactions can determine what taxes apply, the location of the boundary of a property forms the basis of its registration, and the location where evidence is discovered in a crime scene can have an impact on judicial proceedings. Considering the threats to location information, e.g., spoofing, a greater level of security is emerging for location-referencing.

Trends merged into above or retired

Title Description

Learn To Think Spatially

Spatial thinking is a collection of cognitive skills. The skills consist of declarative and perceptual forms of knowledge and some cognitive operations that can be used to transform, combine, or otherwise operate on this knowledge. The key to spatial thinking is a constructive amalgam of three elements: concepts of space, tools of representation, and processes of reasoning. (US National Academies) OGC should consider how the innovation it promotes can extend this "learning spatial" to "doing spatial". (This topic has bee made part of SpatialThinking )

Location and Mobile communications

People who communicate digitally also tend to meet in person. 90% of users who have called each other have also shared the same space (cell tower), even if they live far apart.

Location based marketing/consumers

Targeted advertising is at the heart of the largest technology companies today, and is becoming increasingly precise. Simultaneously, users generate more and more personal data that is shared with advertisers as more and more of daily life becomes intertwined with networked technology. The online advertising ecosystem is built upon the ability of advertising networks to know properties about users (e.g., their interests or physical locations) and deliver targeted ads based on those properties - (Paul Vines, Franziska Roesner, and Tadayoshi Kohno).

Statistics and Geography

As well as geospatial information, Governments and government bodies are increasingly reliant on statistical data to inform policy and decision making. As resources become constrained, it is increasingly important to make sure they are used in the most effective way possible. Geography is often the medium through which statistics are interpreted whether at global, regional, national or sub‐national level. As the need for better statistics increases so does the need for greater integration of statistics and geospatial information, resulting in so called spatial statistics - (GGIM). (This topic has been folded into Data Science)

Human Geography

Well-organized and comprehensive human geography data can be applied to analysis that allows us to better anticipate the behavior of people over space and time and to inform decision-making that supports human security, including crisis mitigation and humanitarian response - (WWHGD_WG).

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