From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Two geofences defined in a GPS application

A geofence is a virtual perimeter for a real-world geographic area.[1] A geofence could be dynamically generated (as in a radius around a point location) or match a predefined set of boundaries (such as school zones or neighborhood boundaries).

The use of a geofence is called geofencing, and one example of use involves a location-aware device of a location-based service (LBS) user entering or exiting a geofence. This activity could trigger an alert to the device's user as well as messaging to the geofence operator. This info, which could contain the location of the device, could be sent to a mobile telephone or an email account.


Geofencing was invented in the early 1990’s and patented in 1995 by American inventor Michael Dimino using the first of it kind GPS and GSM technology for tracking and locating anywhere on the globe from a remote location.

Cellular geofencing for global tracking is cited in the United States Patent Office over 240 time by major companies such as IBM and Microsoft since 1995 and is first mentioned as:[2]

A global tracking system (GTS) for monitoring an alarm condition associated with and locating a movable object, the GTS comprising:

a cellular telephone located with the movable object;
a GPS (global positioning system) receiver located with the movable object, the GPS receiver being effective for providing data reflecting a present spacial position of the movable object, in terms of spacial latitude/longitude coordinates;
an interface between the GPS receiver and the cellular telephone, the interface being connected between the GPS receiver and the cellular telephone and including circuitry for transmitting the spacial coordinates from the GPS receiver through the telephone, wirelessly to a remote location; and
an alarm for detecting that the object has been moved, by calculating a spatial movement of the object which exceeds a predetermined distance based on information supplied by the GPS receiver, and the alarm initiating the transmission to the remote location the spatial coordinates from the GPS receiver when said movement of predetermined distance has been detected.


Geofencing uses technologies like GPS, or even IP address ranges to build their virtual fence. These virtual fences can be used to track the physical location of the device active in the particular region or the fence area. The location of the person using the device is taken as geocoding data and can be used further for advertising purposes.



The FBI has used geofence warrants to identify rioters who participated in the January 6 Capitol attack.[3]


Geofencing, used with child location services, can notify parents if a child leaves a designated area.[4]

Geofencing used with location-based guns can restrict those firearms to fire only in locations where their firing is permitted, thereby making them unable to be used elsewhere.

Other applications include sending an alert if a vehicle is stolen,[5] and notifying rangers when wildlife stray into farmland.[6]

A geofence can be used for location-based messaging for tourist safety and communication.[7]

In 2015, US Senator Charles Schumer proposed a law requiring drone manufacturers to build geofencing constraints into unmanned aerial vehicle navigation systems that would override the commands of the unsophisticated operator, preventing the device from flying into protected airspace.[8][9]

In the workplace[edit]

Geofencing is critical to telematics. It allows users of the system to draw zones around places of work, customer's sites and secure areas. These geofences when crossed by an equipped vehicle or person can trigger a warning to the user or operator via SMS or email.

In some companies, geofencing is used by the human resource department to monitor employees working in special locations, especially those doing field works. Using a geofencing tool, an employee is allowed to log his or her attendance using a GPS-enabled device when within a designated perimeter.

Geofencing, in a security strategy model, provides security to wireless local area networks. This is done by using predefined borders (e.g., an office space with borders established by positioning technology attached to a specially programmed server). The office space becomes an authorized location for designated users and wireless mobile devices.[10][page needed]


Applications of geofencing extend to advertising & geomarketing. Geofencing solution providers allow marketers and advertisers to precisely choose the exact location that their ads show up on. Geofencing uses different types of targeting to identify zip codes, street addresses, GPS coordinates using latitude and longitude, as well as IP targeting.

Geofencing enables competitive marketing tactics for advertisers and marketers to grab the attention of in-market shoppers in their competitive store location, large scale events such as concerts, sports events, conferences, etc. in stadiums, convention centers, malls, outlets, parks, neighborhoods. For example: at a concert, a digital ad relating to the performer or an affiliated company could be sent to only those people in the venue.

For example, a local auto-dealership builds a virtual boundary within a few square miles from its dealership's location to target car buyers within the same neighborhood. This way they limit their ad spending on prospects who are more likely to purchase in order to get a better ROI. Using tracking technologies to identify devices where the ads were shown, geofencing solution providers are able to provide walk-in attribution for their advertising. This means that using a geofencing solution, companies can now track the customers who walked into the showroom after seeing the ad. This level of attribution provides better visibility and analytics for marketers to spend their advertising budget wisely.

A local service business may only be interested in (a) likely clients (b) within a service region or catchment basin. Broadcasting or advertising more extensively brings irrelevant responses and wastes energy, time, money, and opportunity. Electronic advertising can identify and target only desired market objects (people).


Target Corporation settled for $5 million with the San Diego City Attorney in April 2022, promising to audit and improve pricing procedures, after a San Diego complaint that the company used geofencing to raise prices when a customer entered a store.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rouse, Margaret (December 2016). "What is geo-fencing (geofencing)?". Newton, Massachusetts: TechTarget. Retrieved 26 Jan 2020.
  2. ^ "Telephone operable global tracking system for vehicles". United States Patent Office. December 1995.
  3. ^ Harris, Mark (September 30, 2021). "How a Secret Google Geofence Warrant Helped Catch the Capitol Riot Mob". Wired. Retrieved November 10, 2021.
  4. ^ De Lara, Eyal; Anthony LaMarca; Mahadev Satyanarayanan (2008). Location Systems: An Introduction to the Technology Behind Location Awareness. Synthesis Lectures on Mobile and Pervasive Computing, Lecture #4. Morgan & Claypool Publishers. p. 88. ISBN 978-1-59829-581-8 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ "Motorcycle Tracker Updates Every 15 Seconds". Motorcycle USA. 23 January 2009. Archived from the original on January 31, 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-26. Courtesy True Tracker Pro
  6. ^ "Kenya's elephants send text messages to rangers". CBS News. Associated Press. October 11, 2008. Retrieved 26 Jan 2020.
  7. ^ "Location Based Messaging for Tourist Safety and Communication" (PDF). UgoRound Australia Pty Ltd. July 2017. Retrieved 26 Jan 2020.
  8. ^ "Todd Humphreys: Don't Overregulate Drones". Alcalde. 18 March 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-05.
  9. ^ Schumer, Charles (19 August 2015). "Schumer proposes law". Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  10. ^ Hamid Jahankhani, A G Hessami, Feng Hsu: Global security, safety, and sustainability : 5th international conference, ICGS3 2009, London, UK, September 1–2, 2009 : proceedings. ISBN 978-3-642-04061-0
  11. ^ Norfleet, Nicole (April 29, 2022). "Target pays $5 million in settlement over pricing accuracy allegations". Star Tribune. Retrieved April 29, 2022.

Further reading[edit]

  • De Lara, Eyal; Anthony LaMarca, Mahadev Satyanarayanan (2008). Location Systems: An Introduction to the Technology Behind Location Awareness. Morgan & Claypool Publishers. p. 88. ISBN 978-1-59829-581-8.
  • Anthony C. Ijeh, Allan J. Brimicombe, David S. Preston, Chris O. Imafidon (2009) "Geofencing in a Security Strategy Model." In Global Safety and Sustainability: 5th International Conference Proceedings. Jahankhani, H.; Hessami, A.G.; Hsu, F. (Eds.) p.104-111 © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009. ISBN 978-3-642-04061-0