Geolocation technology: How big brother keeps us safe


4 minutes read time

November 15, 2019

Updated: January 2020

With the rapid evolution of geolocation technology we are now faced with the issue of apps following our every move without really knowing where that information is ending up. Not all app users are comfortable with this type of data collection, which presents challenges for businesses that need this information to give you a stronger user experience or like ourselves that need it to keep you safe. So how do we get big brother to leave us alone but also get the most out of this revolutionary technology?

What is geolocation?

A geolocation is the identification or estimation of a real-world geographic location of an object, such as a radar source, mobile phone, or internet connection. The coordinates generated from the geolocation (latitude and longitude) are used to determine a location, such as a street address. 

Why do apps need access to my smartphone’s geolocation?

Geolocations are used to plot courses, track elevation changes, see location history, find nearby shops, tag images on social media, check in to locations and get the local weather information. We also use it every day to make our lives easier, to interact with other people, to solve problems, to set goals, to track anything. 

Our WolMobile app for iOS and Android is designed to keep you safe while working (onsite, remotely or moving between locations). For WolMobile to work effectively it needs access to your location permissions. Here’s an overview of the key features to keep you safe and secure while in your employer’s duty of care: 

  • Automatic sign in/out

If your organization is using automatic sign-in/out, they will have a geofence set up around your organization’s. Once your phone has registered as having crossed into the geofence (using your location information), you’ll be automatically signed in or out. 

  • SOS Alerts

Should you need to send for immediate help, tapping the SOS button will send a notification to your location information to your organization’s nominated SOS Responder(s). The notification contains your location information as part of the alert ensuring assistance can locate you as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

  • Follow me

If you’re working in a high risk situation, alone or traveling between sites, your organization may ask you to use the ‘Follow Me’ feature. Designed for your safety, ‘Follow Me’ alerts your   nominated safety contact if you need assistance in an emergency, to check in with you throughout the day or have spent too long at a high risk or restricted area.  

  • Locations list 

If your organization has multiple sites, WolMobile will use your location in a similar way to Google Maps, providing you with directions, maps, the distance to other locations and ordering the list with the closest locations first. 

Are my apps always tracking me?

The majority of apps on your smartphone can track your location, however, you have to give them access first. If you have downloaded an app that has requested to use your location information you would have been given the option to ‘Always allow’ or ‘Only when using the app’. 

‘Only when using the app’ seems like the more appropriate option but with WolMobile because we need your location to know whether you’re on or off site or if something was to go wrong you must select  ‘Always allow’ when prompted, for WolMobile to work accurately.

The good news is we’re not always tracking you. WolMobile only tracks your location when you’re signed into a location or moving between locations. Once you sign out and finish work at the end of the day, your location will no longer be reported on. 

It’s also worth noting that only selected individuals with admin access to WhosOnLocation will be able to see your location whilst you’re signed in. 

Update: January 2020

We’re always making improvements to our products. Since we first published this blog in November, we’ve already improved WolMobile’s geolocation reporting feature. The latest update brings a whole host of new features, including the ability to filter the map by who’s on or off site, get more information when you hover over a person’s pin and search the map by Service Provider Organization name, to see the location of everyone on-site from that company.

Set up WolMobile today.