Where U At? Location-Based Services for Higher Education

Location-based services continue to grow thanks to explosive growth in mobile Web access and increasing numbers of location-aware devices. Not to mention Facebook, Google and Twitter are also doing it.

Other services like Foursquare and Gowalla are perfecting the “check-in, take a picture, leave a review and earn a virtual badge” concept that’s helping the location-based services market to grow to an estimated $3 billion by 2013.

But how can colleges and universities get themselves on the map?

Location-based services can help universities improve and personalize campus tours, collect and share student-created geo-tagged content, incentivize student attendance and promote university events, build alumni communities, provide near real time customer service for students, faculty and staff, generate purpose-built maps from community contributions (like where to park), celebrate campus history and mythology, even track a senior administrator for a day.

And nothing helps sell the university experience like the people who live it every day.

NC State University is in the midst of rolling out location-based mobile applications and Web sites designed to create the kind of authentic content, coverage and community engagement few other Web efforts can duplicate. These free-to-use “hyper-local” services let university units easily add branded location-based efforts to the social media arsenal.

This presentation will discuss what works and what doesn’t work, and what might work for location-based services in a university setting, as well as strategies for managing the concerns that loom large for administrators – privacy, unflattering reviews and inappropriate content.

Tim Jones – NC State

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