html 5 geolocation, html5 geolocation, geolocation API

How does HTML5 Geolocation work?

If you were looking to optimise your geolocation efforts, then you probably would have heard about HTML 5 geolocation.

HTML 5 is the latest version of HTML and is a significant upgrade over previous versions of the markup language. But, the biggest difference to note is the standardisation of geolocation technology. More specifically, the geolocation API, which is why we are going to discuss what exactly HTML 5 geolocation is, how it works and what it means for e-commerce businesses. 

What is HTML 5 geolocation?

Before diving into the nuances of HTML 5 geolocation, we need to discuss what a Geolocation API is. The API is what enables users to give their consent to share their location and protect users who don’t want to share their details. 

HTML 5 essentially standardises geolocation technology, meaning that different browsers like Firefox and Google Chrome now utilise geolocation technology to track a user's location provided that the user gives their consent. The information is passed to a location service via an HTTPS request, the request compares the new location with different databases, IP address locations and cell towers. The visitor's location is then returned to the web code using a Javascript callback. 

The technology grants e-commerce businesses across the board will have an easier time implementing tracking technology, making it much easier to understand their web traffic. The standardisation of HTML 5 geolocation technology goes a long way in opening up geotracking to e-commerce businesses, making it much easier to track users across different devices. 

Understanding the technology behind HTML 5 Geolocation

However, how does it work? Understanding how HTML 5 Geolocation works will help businesses take advantage of the unique value proposition the technology presents. 

HTML5 geolocation lets you find the geographic coordinates of a website visitor's current location like the longitude and the latitude. The information provided by HTML 5 geolocation can be used to optimise the browsing experience. For example, if customers look up the location of a restaurant, they can get the restaurants closest to their current location. E-commerce businesses can use the information to better understand their customers. 

Obtaining the visitor’s position with HTML 5 geolocation is a fairly simple process. 

A user's location can be obtained using the getCurrentPosition function, which can be used in the navigator.geolocation object. Depending on certain conditions, you can get three different positions: Success callback, Error callback and position options. 

The conditions for these parameters change based on whether the user consents to share their location. If the user agrees to share their location information, then data is successfully obtained from the browser. 

When the information is shared, the data can be found as a position object, and the relevant function will be called along with the input parameter. The position object features a timestamp property, the timestamp denotes the time at which location data is retrieved along with the coords object, which contains properties like geographic coordinates, altitude and heading. However, some users may not consent to have their location information shared, in which case the API would deliver the error callback function. Other factors that might prompt an error callback function include when a request times out or when an unknown error occurred.

HTML 5 Geolocation can be used to track location data at regular intervals. To accomplish this, use the watchPosition () function. It will return a value similar to that of the getCurrentPosition (). HTML5 Geolocation API estimates the location of an IP address based on several factors like cell tower IDs, GPS information and public IP addresses. 

However, it should be noted that despite the technological prowess of HTML 5 Geolocation, it should be noted that the technology is not foolproof. Not all browsers can support HTML 5, so if you have a target audience that happens to be using a browser, then you may not have access to user location data. 

Greater audience segmentation with geolocation 

HTML 5 Geolocation is the latest evolution of HTML that standardises geotechnology. Making geotracking far more accessible across different browsers. The latest developments in HTML technology allow you to use the latest location data to better understand your target audience. E-commerce businesses can take advantage of this technology to refine their marketing efforts and improve user experience for their customers.

Learn more about the HTML5 geolocation API (how it works, tutorials, demos & more)

27th July 2020
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