Everything Future Programmers Should Know About Geofencing

Programmer working at a computer with his professor

If you love working in a fast-paced industry in which the only constant is change, then you’ll do well as a computer programmer. Throughout your career, you can help drive the development and implementation of emerging technologies and find ways of improving others. One of the latest technologies to keep your eye on is geofencing. It refers to an automated action triggered by changes in geographical location.

Geo-fencing Basics

Geo-fencing is different from old-fashioned GPS tracking, although it relies on GPS technology. Essentially, a geofence is a virtual perimeter that you can establish around a set area. When an RFID tag or GPS-enabled mobile device crosses the geofence into the area, a pre-programmed action goes into effect. Creating a geofence is fairly simple. While developing a mobile app, for instance, a programmer could draw a circle in Google Maps using APIs. Of course, crossing the geofence won’t trigger automatic actions in every single device—only in those that are pre-authorized to respond to the geofence.

Commercial Possibilities

Geo-fencing offers exciting potential for commercial uses. For example, assume that a clothing store has several locations around town. A computer programmer creates a mobile app for the franchise and draws a geofence around each physical location. Customers who use the mobile app and opt-in to the location service, can receive exclusive coupons and sales alerts on their phones when they enter a store. Geofencing can work for many business types, including concert venues. For example, customers can get more information about upcoming shows while they’re currently attending one.

Public Safety

Computer programmers can even put geofencing to work protecting the safety of their communities.  For instance, you  can set up geofences that resist drones. These geofences are set up around airports and areas that are under federal protection, such as the White House or the Pentagon. It’s common for drone-resistant geofences to send a warning message to the drone operator when the drone gets too close. Other geofences are capable of stopping a drone in mid-flight before it crosses this invisible boundary.

Consumer Uses

Geofences aren’t just for businesses and federal agencies. Everyday consumers can make good use of them, thanks to the efforts of computer programmers. A consumer who enables geofencing capabilities in his or her smartphone can easily set “if this, then that” commands to make their lives a bit more convenient.

For instance, a consumer can request that the house lights be turned on when the device is within five feet of the front door. Another possibility is setting a reminder alert that is triggered when the user leaves the workplace. The individual might need a reminder to pick up flowers, for example, or stop by the supermarket. These are just a few examples. The possibilities are virtually endless. As a future computer programmer, what other uses for geofencing can you think of?

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.