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Geotagging definition

Geotagging is the practice of adding geolocation metadata to various forms of media, such as images, videos, websites, SMS messages, or RSS feeds. Geotagging helps people find information about a specific location, such as news, celebrities currently living nearby, or pictures taken in the area.

Geotagging is also useful for marketing research and behavior analytics. Information about when and where people use products lets companies determine consumer habits and target their core audience better. Because a person’s actual location is sensitive information, geotagging poses a risk to privacy — for example, strangers can track their victims from publicly available geotagged images.

Real geotagging examples

  • Social media sites such as Facebook let users tag a location in uploads, letting people know where their friends have been and what they were doing there.
  • Domain Network System (DNS) entries can include location metadata with the server’s coordinates.
  • Websites can include geotags derived from GPS devices to link content to a particular location (for example, to automatically load relevant images or ads.)

Further reading

Ultimate digital security