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Locater vs. Locator: What's the Difference?

By Aimie Carlson & Janet White || Updated on May 24, 2024
Locater refers to a person who locates something, while locator is a device or tool used to find the position of something.

Key Differences

Locater generally refers to a person who finds or identifies the location of something. For example, a detective can be considered a locater when tracking down a missing person. On the other hand, a locator is typically a device or tool used to pinpoint locations, such as a GPS unit that provides geographical coordinates.
Locater emphasizes human action and expertise in locating objects or individuals. This term is less commonly used in everyday language and often appears in specific contexts where human involvement is highlighted. Conversely, locator is a more widely recognized term, commonly associated with tools and technology designed for finding positions or locations.
Locater can imply a role or job title, where a person is specifically responsible for the act of finding or identifying. For instance, in real estate, a property locater helps clients find suitable properties. In contrast, a locator usually refers to the physical or digital device used in various industries, like construction or navigation, to determine exact positions.
Locater often requires manual effort and intuition, relying on the individual's skill and experience. A private investigator working as a locater uses various techniques and methods to find a subject. Meanwhile, a locator relies on pre-programmed algorithms and technology, offering precise and quick location services without the need for extensive manual intervention.

Comparison Chart


A person who finds something
A device/tool that finds something


Less common, human-centric
More common, technology-centric


Roles/jobs involving location
Tools used in various industries


Manual effort and expertise
Pre-programmed, technological


Detective, property locater
GPS, underground utility locator

Locater and Locator Definitions


Someone who identifies specific items.
She hired a locater to find her lost heirloom.


A device for finding positions.
The GPS locator guided us to our destination.


A person who finds missing persons.
The detective was an expert locater of missing persons.


A tool used in construction to find underground utilities.
The contractor used a pipe locator before digging.


An individual specializing in tracking.
The animal locater tracked the rare species in the forest.


An electronic device for tracking.
The wildlife researchers used a radio locator to track animals.


A job role involving locating properties.
The real estate locater helped us find the perfect house.


A gadget for determining precise locations.
The hiker carried a locator for safety in remote areas.


A professional responsible for pinpointing locations.
The survey company employed a locater to identify property boundaries.


A technology used in navigation systems.
The car's locator updated its route automatically.


To determine or specify the position or limits of
Locate Albany on the map.
Managed to locate the site of the old artists' colony.


One that locates, as a smartphone app that shows the locations of nearby services or attractions.


To find by searching, examining, or experimenting
Locate the source of error.


One who, or that which, locates.
I found the opening times for my local branch using the Web site's store locator.


To place at a certain location; station or situate
Locate an agent in Rochester.


(US) One who locates, or is entitled to locate, land or a mining claim.


To become established; settle
New businesses that have located in town.


(travel industry) The unique alphanumeric reference given to each travel booking.


Something which serves to locate


One who locates, or is entitled to locate, land or a mining claim.


A person who fixes the boundaries of land claims


A person who fixes the boundaries of land claims


What is the primary difference between a locater and a locator?

A locater is a person who locates something, while a locator is a device or tool used to find the position of something.

Is locator used in technology?

Yes, locator is commonly used to describe technological devices that find locations, such as GPS units.

Can a person be called a locator?

Not usually, as locator specifically refers to devices or tools.

Can a locater refer to a device?

No, locater typically refers to a person, whereas locator refers to a device.

Are locater and locator interchangeable?

No, they are not interchangeable as they refer to different things: a person and a device, respectively.

In what industries is a locater commonly found?

A locater can be found in industries like real estate, investigation, and search and rescue.

Is the term locater widely used?

The term locater is less commonly used compared to locator and often appears in specific contexts.

What skills does a locater need?

A locater needs skills such as observation, analysis, and problem-solving.

What are some examples of locators?

Examples of locators include GPS devices, utility locators, and radio locators.

Do locaters use locators in their work?

Yes, locaters often use locators as tools to aid in their work.

Can a locator be used in navigation?

Yes, locators are widely used in navigation systems.

Can a locator function without technology?

No, a locator relies on technology to function.

What makes a locator accurate?

The accuracy of a locator comes from its advanced technology and precise algorithms.

What technology does a locator typically use?

Locators often use GPS, radio signals, and other tracking technologies.

Is locater a technical term?

Locater is not typically considered a technical term.

Are locators manual or automated?

Locators are typically automated devices.

Do locaters work alone?

Locaters can work alone or as part of a team, depending on the task.

Does a locator require human intervention?

No, locators typically function independently using pre-programmed technology.

Is a locater a common job title?

Locater is a less common job title and is specific to certain fields.

What industries heavily rely on locators?

Industries like construction, navigation, and wildlife tracking heavily rely on locators.
About Author
Written by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.
Co-written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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