Google Latitude or other location based applications working through mobile phones can let you track your kids whereabouts during Halloween. Aside from tracking, many of those applications can be used (note privacy concerns) for sharing the Halloween experience. Locations of retailers selling costumes and decorations can also be found by using applications as Poynt. To improve the Halloween experience, Zillow.com, have created a Trick or Treat Housing Index, which presents the top-five neighborhoods to maximize candy harvesting. The index uses four equally weighted data variables: Zillow Home Value Index, population density, Walk Score, and local crime data. Based on those variables, this Index represents neighborhoods that will provide the most candy, with the least walking, and minimal safety risks. Follow the index for top five neighborhoods in SF, LA, Seattle, Chicago and Boston.
To further improve kids safety, “Offender Locator” (iTunes Link) which works with Blackberry and iPhone, tracks sex offenders on your trick or treating route. The app provides you with a list of offenders based on their proximity to the location given. You can get information as names, pictures, age, height, weight and the specific sexual crime they were charged with.
LBS (Location Based Services) is a market predicted to grow (according to Gartner – LBS subscribers are forecast to grow from 41.0 million in 2008 to 95.7 million in 2009 while revenue is anticipated to increase from $998.3 million in 2008 to $2.2 billion in 2009). Gartner suggests that North America is the largest market due to mobile carriers’ strong efforts in navigation services and family-safety solutions.
I find Halloween as a good example for the conflict introduced by LBS technology systems: The need to share experiences and learn about friends locations comes in contrast to safety measures. The same system that gives you more control, is the one to danger your privacy.