What Is Geofencing and How Does It Relate to OSINT?

Default Author Image
October 21, 2021

Open-source intelligence (OSINT) isn’t new. Professionals in the intelligence industry have been leveraging open-source data such as search engines, social media, and other public platforms for years. However, the technology that OSINT tools are using to gather data is changing, and quickly. A capability not to be overlooked is geofencing.

What is geofencing?

Geofencing is the process of using open source intelligence to determine where people are when they are posting on social media. OSINT tools should have geofencing capabilities, and you’re likely already using social media in some fashion as part of your OSINT strategy.

Social Media Intelligence, or SOCMINT, as it’s being called, can provide unfiltered access into what people are really saying about a given topic, keyword, or hashtag. 

As little as 7% of social media posts contain hashtags. That means that if you’re analyzing 10,000 posts per day looking for hashtags, you could be missing as many as 9,300 posts that could be important to your intelligence. This is a gap that intelligence professionals need to close, and geofencing technology can help close it. We discussed the use of searching geotagged photos for the security industry in another blog post:

Rather than monitoring social media channels the traditional way, by looking at pages of interest to see what people are up to, searching geotagged photos allows a security professional to look at an area of their choice to see what’s happening on the ground.

What drawing a geofence looks like

The possibilities with a geofencing OSINT tool are endless. Here’s what it looked like when we used Echosec to draw a geofence around MIT:

Drawing a geofence is simple. It begins with entering a location into the search bar (as in the above MIT example) or using a drawing tool to physically select an area on the map. In both situations, you are pinpointing the exact coordinates that matter to you to see what’s happening on the ground in real-time.

Taking open source intelligence to the next level

Geofencing opens up a whole new dimension for intelligence professionals to explore. Searching hashtags and keywords is only useful in cases when you know exactly what you’re looking for, which, in intelligence, is quite rare. With geofencing, you don’t need to know what you are looking for, only where. The best OSINT tools give you hyperlocal location intelligence. This adds an integral layer of information by creating a window into any situation, anywhere on the ground. As many organizations continue to use outdated tools, you have the opportunity to see and react to more information than ever. OSINT tools with geofencing technology are the future. Are you going to be part of it?

Begin your free trial today.