Geolocation is closely related to positioning but can be distinguished from it by a greater emphasis on determining a meaningful location (e.g. a street address) rather than just a set of geographic coordinates. Specifically this involves the use of advanced RF location systems utilising, for example, Time Difference Of Arrival ( TDOA ) where greater specificity of location is possible. TDOA systems often utilise mapping displays or other graphical information system. This is in contrast to more traditional radio location technologies, for example Direction Finding where a line of bearing to a transmitter is achieved and not the specific location.
In terms of the internet and computer systems used to describe the capability to detect and record where you and other people are located, and to use the information to enhance the desktop using an Internet-connected computer or device and can be performed by associating a geographic location with the Internet Protocol (IP) address, MAC address, RFID, hardware embedded article/production number, embedded software number (such as UUID, Exif/IPTC/XMP or modern steganography), invoice, Wi-Fi connection location, or device GPS coordinates, or other, perhaps self-disclosed information. Geolocation usually works by automatically looking up an IP address on a WHOIS service and retrieving the registrant's physical address.
IP address geolocation data can include information such as country, region, city, postal/zip code, latitude, longitude and timezone.
The word geolocation is also used in other contexts to refer to the process of inferring the location of a tracked animal based, for instance, on the time history of sunlight brightness or the water temperature and depth measured by an instrument attached to the animal. Such instruments are commonly called archival tags or dataloggers.