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1.1. Map-based Services

Learning Objectives

You will be able to ...

  • describe the difference between a service and product, and provide examples of each in terms of geographic technologies.
  • discuss how the (SHIP) characteristics of a service relate to the design of an LBS.
  • differentiate the three components; Model, View, Controller, in relation to the architecture of a map-based LBS.


Many people have noted that location-based services possess a special property. They allow using spatial information to be integrated with direct experience of the world. For example, (2004) comments: "direct and indirect experience blurs when handheld devices are used as an adjunct to reality in the field. Spatial knowledge acquired through interaction with 2D maps ('map reading'), is usually taken to be the most advanced level of spatial knowledge." Similarly, (Armstrong et al. 2005) note: "Contextually aware in situ learning environments will enhance learning by coupling direct interaction with real-world phenomena and immediate access to associated knowledge repositories." Arguably, such comments could equally be made of any geographic information repository used 'in the field', for example paper maps, a printed out route plan, or a mobile GIS. So, what makes location-based services different from these substitutes? In this unit we consider this issue in terms of the S in LBS; Services. What is a service? And, how does being a service differentiate LBS from other media for geographic information? Based on these observations, we will then consider how being a service effects the design of maps.

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