Mobile applications are particularly exciting to geographers due to their ability to collect swathes of spatial data from citizens, to present information relevant to a user's current location, and to present data via interactive visualizations. While these functions are presented together within a single mobile location-based application (LBApps), the academic literatures pertaining to each of these three functions are highly fragmented. Thus, we ask: what is the relationship between the three major components of LBApps: location-based services (LBS), volunteered geographic information (VGI), and geovisualization? Additionally, what are some of the possible resulting implications for users' spatial understandings after interaction with these three components? Here, we present literature from VGI, LBS, and geovisualization that is relevant to mobile applications. We seek to reveal the synergistic relationship between these mechanisms in addition to the existing overlaps and gaps in the literature. We hope that this is a starting point for geographers interested in researching mobile applications to further enhance the collection, distribution, and visualization of spatial data. Like traditional cartography, it is imperative to keep the intended audience in mind during each step of the LBApp design and research process.