AWS Announces General Availability of Amazon Location Service


Amazon Web Services (AWS) has announced the general availability of Amazon Location Service, a new service that allows their customers to add location functionality to their applications. Customers can embed location functionality in their applications using data from location-based service (LBS) providers Esri and HERE Technologies to provide maps, points of interest, geocoding (converting location information to a point on a map), route planning, geofencing (creating virtual perimeters), or asset tracking. Amazon Location Service is as low as 1/10th the cost of the most common LBS providers, and customers pay only for the number of user requests, assets tracked, or devices managed.

Location data is vital for companies of all sizes and across every industry to support a range of use cases (e.g. asset tracking, route planning, and location-based marketing experiences) that rely on the explosion of connected devices in the world today. However, due to privacy and security compromises, cost-prohibitive pricing, and a difficult integration process, many companies face significant barriers when integrating location functionality into their applications. For example, some LBS providers impose licensing terms that give the LBS provider the rights to access, use, and commercialise a customer’s location data (e.g. the position of users, facilities, or vehicles). Additionally, the pricing from LBS providers often makes it too expensive for customers to use location functionality in all of the ways a customer may want to use it. Even when the licensing terms and price are less prohibitive, onboarding an LBS provider requires customers to invest significant resources integrating data and building supporting tools before using the provider’s location data in an application. For more advanced use cases like asset tracking or geofencing, a customer may need to build the solution from scratch, which can add months of development time. Furthermore, some customers may want to use an additional provider for a specific application or region, but this requires customers to invest additional resources in onboarding the new provider and integrating that provider into the application, which increases the cost and complexity of the application.

Amazon Location Service eliminates the complexity of adding location functionality to an application by providing a single, managed service that lets customers control what access providers have to a customer’s confidential data, cost-effectively implement location-based features, and easily integrate data from proven LBS providers Esri and HERE Technologies into their applications. Built with user privacy and data security top of mind, Amazon Location Service gives customers complete control of their location data. Amazon Location Service removes customer metadata and account information from queries before they are sent to an LBS provider, and sensitive tracking and geofencing information never leaves a customer’s AWS account (unless they choose to share it). Additionally, the Amazon Location Service licensing terms do not grant Amazon or third parties the rights to sell or use a customer’s location data for advertising. Amazon Location Service is as low as 1/10th the cost for geocoding and routing, and a fraction of the cost for most mapping use cases, when compared to the most common LBS providers. Additionally, Amazon Location Service has built-in tracking and geofencing capabilities, so customers do not need to spend resources building their own solutions and can instead focus on building their application. Amazon Location Service comes fully integrated with Amazon CloudWatch, AWS CloudTrail, and Amazon EventBridge, so customers can easily view monitoring, management, and log data, and can trigger actions based on events (e.g. when a device enters or exits a geofence or when a vehicle arrives at its destination). Amazon Location Service also integrates with AWS security services, including AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) and Amazon Cognito, so customers can reduce system complexity and maintain consistent security practices with identity management and authentication tools that work across administrators and end-users. Amazon Location Service provides a single API that works across LBS providers and allows customers to switch between providers easily based on their specific use case or region, without needing to onboard new vendors or set up separate supporting infrastructure.

“Our customers are excited to use location data to take advantage of the explosion of connected devices available today,” said Bill Vass, VP of Technology, AWS. “With built-in support for tracking and geofencing and a number of use cases that are as low as 1/10th the cost of the most common LBS providers, Amazon Location Service is pretty compelling for any company that wants to bring location functionality to their application using a fully managed AWS service built with the highest standards for privacy and data security.”

Customers can access Amazon Location Service through the AWS Management Console, AWS Command Line Interface (CLI), or via the Amazon Location Service API. Amazon Location Service is available today in US East (N. Virginia), US East (Ohio), US West (Oregon), Europe (Frankfurt), Europe (Ireland), Europe (Stockholm), Asia Pacific (Singapore), Asia Pacific (Sydney), and Asia Pacific (Tokyo) regions.

Azit is a Mobility-as-a-Service company that aims to connect people in motion by providing a last mile transportation service throughout Japan. “Last year, we launched Crew Express, a new Delivery-as-a-Service platform that gives businesses and general consumers a comprehensive solution for last mile delivery,” said Masato Sogame, co-founder, CTO, Azit. “We chose Amazon Location Service because it allowed us to get up-and-running quickly and its pay-as-you-go pricing was perfectly suited for our business. With Amazon Location Service, we were able to implement a new feature that estimates arrival times in just a few weeks, rather than the months it could have taken if we tried to build it ourselves.”

Command Alkon delivers technology solutions for the global heavy construction industry. The 45-year-old company is an innovator in the industry and creates leading-edge software and automation systems for customers across the world. “We needed to have a complex geofencing solution that could track when two construction trucks met for a delivery—it had to be built, released, and approved by a state department of transportation within four weeks so our customer could deliver on a new contract,” said Charles Evans, CTO, Command Alkon. “Because Amazon Location Service was easy to use and is fully integrated with other AWS Services like Amazon EventBridge, we were able to build a real-time tracking solution that met our customer’s needs in only two weeks. Our ability to develop at this speed ensured we were able to meet the state department of transportation’s review date, and Amazon Location Service is now one of our ‘go-to’ AWS services when we need to add location functionality in our applications.”

Coolstays focuses on showcasing unique and unusual places to stay across the UK, Europe, and beyond with 3 million monthly page views and nearly 400,000 users. “At Coolstays, we use interactive maps across our search result pages, commonly accommodating hundreds of properties at once. As these pages receive our highest rates of traffic, delivering the maps fast and cost efficiently to thousands of users is always a top priority for us,” said Nick Wills, technical director & co-founder, Coolstays. “Shortly after the launch of Amazon Location Service, our team jumped at the chance of migrating our existing map infrastructure for increased speed and reduction of cost in comparison to the service we were using. We are thrilled with the results; we saw a 28 percent improvement in tile load speed and a 50 percent decrease in cost compared to our previous provider.”

PostNL is the number one e-commerce and postal logistics provider in the Netherlands. On a given weekday, PostNL delivers on average 1.1 million parcels and 8.1 million letters throughout Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, connecting the physical and the digital world. “We’ve implemented Amazon Location Service in our IoT platform to track the movement of a quarter-million unique loading devices (ULDs), known as roller cages, which are a critical component of our logistical network,” said Sander Heije, Platform Owner Internet of Things, PostNL. “Previously, tracking ULDs in the network was difficult because we weren’t able to monitor the assets as they’re moved around and stored. With the implementation of Amazon Location Service, we can easily monitor our ULDs, which will generate important savings for our operation. We can now maximise ULD usage, so they don’t sit idle and customers always have the right amount of ULDs in case they have a surge in deliveries. This real-time visibility to track and analyze assets with Amazon Location Service, especially at our scale, has spurred multiple initiatives to further optimize the logistics of our supply chain.”