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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Location-Based Services, Final Report


In December, 2001 the Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science (CSISS; and the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS; held a specialist meeting to explore location-based services, and their implications and significance for the social sciences and for geographic information science. There are a number of reasons for believing that LBS will have significant impact on the social sciences, stemming from three basic arguments. First, LBS today represents only the beginning of a series of technological innovations that can potentially impact society in numerous ways, ranging from surveillance and the invasion of personal privacy, to technologically induced changes in human spatial behavior, the role of location in social networks, and the spatial structuring of retail and other services. Second, LBS have the potential to provide novel sources of data to social science, including detailed information about daily activities and their locations. Third, LBS technology has the potential to allow researchers to access databases, and conduct sophisticated analysis of data, while located in the field, and immediately following acquisition of data. The meeting of experts to review these technologies and their implications considered a range of recommendations for further research and educational innovation, all elaborated upon in this report.

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