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Find Witnesses with GPS Location Based Social Networking App ‘Banjo’



App: Banjo
Seller: Banjo
Android: Free in Google Play
BlackBerry: Not Available
iPad: Free in iTunes (Compatible)
iPhone: Free in iTunes
Investigation: ,





Total Score

User Rating
96 total ratings



Displays location-based information from a variety of social networks.


Because few people include personal contact information on their social networks, it can be difficult to reach out to witnesses.

About The App

Banjo uses GPS to gather location-based posts from social networking sites and organizes information on a map. Journalists can find witnesses that “checked in” near a news event.

Posted October 17, 2013 by

Full Article

Banjo_screen2How is this useful to journalists?

Banjo takes information from social networking sites and organizes it based on location (geotagging). One of Banjo’s best features is a map showing the images of people that checked into venues on social networking sites. Journalists can use this information to find people to interview and can even double-check the whereabouts of those eager to get some face-time (you know, the people that say they were there but weren’t). When it comes to finding out who might have saw what, Banjo can be a great resource.

How It Works

Think of Banjo as an aggregator, or database. It takes all the location-based tweets, foursquare checkins, Facebook location tags, Instagram photo maps, LInkedIn, and Google Plus location-sharing posts and places organizes them by location. You can then search a location and find all the people that “checked-in” nearby. Banjo only posts the information users made public on social networks, so you’ll have to hope there are some witnesses that checked-in.

Banjo was designed to encourage people to venture out, meet new people, and connect with friends. The app is complex and includes many different features (sports scores, news, etc.) Here’s how to use the mapping feature to find witnesses to a news event:

Step By Step Guide

  1. Connect to Banjo by tapping on one of the social network icons (this will connect your personal account). *If you don’t have a social networking account, you can sign in using a Gmail account.
  2. Decide whether you want to grant it access to your contacts within that social network. Allowing access is beneficial to you, because it will help you easily find people you know.
  3. If you’re near the scene, tap “nearby.” If you are not nearby, then search for the address of the incident.
  4. To search “nearby,” you’ll have to allow Banjo access to your current location, which means enabling GPS. (Banjo only shares your location if you post a location-based update to a social network).
  5. At the very top of the app, notice there is a small triangle below the name of the city. Tap it.
  6. Tap the Map option.
  7. Banjo_screen1Notice all the check-ins near your location. Tap on each picture to see details. The amount of information you get depends on how much information the person posted publicly. Each social network includes different information.
  8. If you want to find the person that checked-in nearby, reach out to them via a social network.
  9. If you are in the area, note at that person’s social network avatar and look to see if they may be standing close by.
  10. Try to reach out to many different witnesses if possible. Not everyone will want to talk, and some won’t respond to social networking requests.

If the news event is significant enough, you can also search the “News” portion of the app (pictured). The “news” button is located on the app’s home page. This feature may not always be as reliable as searching the map because it will include posts from people simply talking about the news event and who may not have actually been a witness.

Banjo_screen3What about privacy?

It appears Banjo is obsessed with protecting the privacy of its users. It only displays information collected from public posts on social networking sites Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare, Google+, and LinkedIn. Banjo claims it does not track you, nor does it constantly track your phone’s GPS. To read up on their privacy policies within the app:

  1. Click on your profile picture (top right)
  2. Click profile settings (the gear in the upper right)
  3. Click “privacy” or “FAQs” which both include privacy details.


Banjo is available in 14 different languages.


  • The app does so much more than location-based social network mapping. It lists time-sorted events, sports scores, news, music, and festivals.
  • You’ll want to customize your alert settings right away. These controls allow you to set a distance for friend alerts (anywhere from a quarter mile to 10 miles), and you can pause friend alerts for individual friends or for everyone. If you fail to set any limits, this app could ping you into oblivion.
  • Banjo gives you the option to block people.
  • Because of it’s many features, this app will take some getting used to. Practice with it before a major news event occurs.

Lindsey Mastis is the founder and host of Journalist Apps. She is also a National Correspondent for Feature Story News, based in Los Angeles. In 2013, she traveled to India as a “New Media” fellow with the International Reporting Project. In 2012, she traveled to Iraqi Kurdistan to teach journalists about social networking and TV news. In 2009, she became one of the first “digital correspondents” hired to report, shoot, edit for WUSA, the CBS affiliate in Washington, DC.

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One Comment


    Was totally stuck until I read this, now back up and ruignnn.

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