Show objects that are in close proximity to your current location or a place of interest.


Users have a deep interest to know what is happening around them. Showing them the location of nearby objects has therefore immediate impact on decisions they may want to take, e.g. if a friend is nearby they may want to message them to meetup.


Notify users that someone or something is close to them. Analyze the users’ current location or place of interest and show people or objects that are near him/her. Nearby is commonly used in consumer applications to tailor the initial result set to a rough geographic region, e.g. hotels in Las Vegas or restaurants in Salzburg, Austria. With the advent of near real-time mobile applications it becomes more and more common to prompt users with information about their current location.


Nearby is technically speaking the result of a buffer operation but without the Buffer interface to enter the distance. It is the job of the application design to determine the logic to buffer specific layers within a specific distance of the users’ location and decide on how to feedback this information.

  • The Nearby pattern can be invoked implicitly (alerts or notifications) or explicitly (button click) to determine results based on predefined layer and distance parameters.
  • Different to the buffer pattern the user is not given the opportunity to change these parameters.
  • The source location is mostly ‘you’ and the results are typically based on one layer (e.g. friends) only. Both you and the target are moving and change frequently which – in the case of implicit inquiry – requires the application to employ logic to trigger ‘nearby’ queries at intervals that make sense both in terms of user interaction and performance.
  • In the case that the meaning of items displayed on the map cannot be inferred through map markers and labels alone, it can be necessary to accompany the map with a list that directly references the nearby elements



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