Technology is revolutionizing almost each and every aspect of our lives. Governments and businesses are adopting technology in their daily operations, and in some areas, the results are spectacular. Implementation in various domains is working and is making life easier for citizens and consumers alike, especially with location-based apps.

by Donald Fomby

City authorities are finding it easier to manage traffic and other operations using the Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Mobile applications are enhancing cities and making them smarter by the day, thanks to location services enabled by the widely used Global Positioning System (GPS) and other similar location provision services.

Apps that allow users to check in to some public and private places like restaurants and places of work give essential data and insight into city movements. Some of the ways data from Location-based mobile apps come in handy include:

  • Provision of traffic information
  • Urban planning
  • Creation of operating procedures in emergency situations
  • Safer cities
  • Smart sustainability

Provision of Traffic Information

Location-based mobile apps transmit the location of the device through various mechanisms that involve pinging nearby cell towers and relaying the data to authorities via telecommunication companies and other relevant government agencies.

This data, when augmented with other IoT technologies, can indicate the volume of traffic in particular routes, which in turn can inform the planning decisions of city authorities. In such a case, the authorities can mull easing traffic in congested areas by limiting the movement of automobiles into some areas of the city, expanding pedestrian and cyclist paths, among other alleviation measures that can help in the decongestion efforts.

Data from Location-based mobile apps can also come in handy in real-time direction and monitoring of traffic, thus giving road users actionable information they can use in making their arrangements regarding road transport.

Urban Planning

In the day, people go to work, shopping centers, and back to their homes. This trend is pretty much uniform for a good majority of people. When these people use Location-Based Apps that allow them to check in these places whenever they arrive, then this data can undergo aggregation to provide meaningful information on commonly visited areas by use of heat maps.

This data further helps to provide insight into the movement of these people and subsequently help to inform planners how and where to make modifications as far as roads and paths go. Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare, and a ton of other apps allow for location tagging, and this data can come in handy in urban planning.

Location-based mobile apps offer precision data for use in particular contexts or areas, just like the translation sites you can find at PickWriters do in their website localization efforts. It is all about context, specificity, and precision – things that are achievable when the relevant data is available.

Creation of Operating Procedures in Emergency Situations

The upside of working with data is that data manipulation can provide meaningful insight into scenarios and situations. Location-based mobile apps allow for the collection of location data of individuals, which can be used to point out busy areas during the day, and the data consequently informs planning.

However, it is worth noting that with cutting-edge technologies like machine learning and prediction, authorities can use the data to predict city movements, and determine possible scenarios when there are emergencies. These predictions can, in turn, help to create robust reactionary strategies, hence making the city smart, capable, and ready for any eventualities in emergency cases.

Safer Cities

A key feature of smart cities is safety. The ability of citizens to go about their business freely in the city without having to fear the possibility of someone mugging them or harming them in any way. Location-based Apps help to provide data on how people move around the city, the times that they move around, and their frequency as well.

This information is essential since authorities can use alongside data they have on cases of mugging and theft to point out insecure areas. Studying the data in depth helps to map out the modus operandi of perpetrators of acts of theft, and authorities can consequently take the necessary steps to reduce their activities.

Smart Sustainability

Location-based apps provide data on locations that are frequented by the city dwellers. Most adequately designed cities have public spaces like parks where people go to pass away their time, meet friends, and watch kids play. When people frequent such areas in the cities, city authorities and planners get the data of the visits to these places. This data informs their planning since they can determine the locations most frequented and how to improve those spaces for the benefit of the public.

The traffic, businesses, and installations in cities do not mean that public spaces and parks should not be in the city. On the contrary, these open spaces, and if they are green spaces for that matter, improve the look of the city, attract tourists, and improve the quality of life for the inhabitants.

In summary, Location-based mobile apps can help to make cities smarter – thanks to the data that these apps generate. Just like any other planning process that factors data as an input, planning of smart cities equally requires the use of location data to plan on traffic flow and transportation, designation, planning, and building of public spaces. A key component in smart cities is mobility – which is essentially the movement of people and goods. By harnessing and leveraging data from location-based mobile apps, planners can structure cities to ensure that there is an optimal flow of traffic and that there is no congestion.

Further, this data can also be used to improve aspects like security and emergency response, which are among the essential things any city should have in this day and age. Smart cities are not smart if cases of insecurity are rife. Cities are not smart if emergency services cannot respond to situations in time. Therefore, in this sense, location-based apps can provide the data necessary for emergency services planning and security planning, as well.

Donald Fomby is a communications professional with more than five years of experience. Donald runs his own blog BestWritersOnline and is proud of an uncanny ability to explain the most complex subject in simple terms.


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