Location-Based Services refers to a broad range of services that are based on (or enhanced by) information about the physical location of a user and/or device.
Typical location-based services for consumers might include real-time turn-by-turn directions, the location of the nearest gas station or motel, or social networking services.
What makes the service location-based is that it knows your location automatically, without entering a zip code, for example.
Location-based services can also be business-oriented.
Location-based services are typically made available to the user via a WAP site, or downloadable software (Java, BREW, Symbian, etc.). They can also be made available in some cases via voice or text messaging.
Some location-based services report location to a third party, such as parents tracking the location of children, or businesses tracking a fleet of vehicles.
Location-based services require several components, although all are now very common on phones for the U.S.
First, the network must specifically support it. US carriers have generally been required to do most of this work already to meet FCC requirements for E-911 Phase II.
Second, certain types of position-location technology, such as GPS and A-GPS, require that technology to be built into the phone circuitry as well.
Those two requirements are generally enough for WAP- voice- or SMS-based services. But for software-based solutions, the phone or other end-user device must also support specific APIs that make location information available to the software.