How to Create a Location-Based App in 2021 | The Ultimate Guide

Suppose you want to go from location A to location B. So, you open an online taxi app to get a ride. Five minutes later, you get the confirmation that a cab is on its way. The driver reaches the pick-up point but cannot locate you. You call the driver and figure out that he is at least at a ten minutes walking distance. The driver says that he is at the marked pick-up location, so he will not move. You argue that you used your current location, and it should not be that far away. The dispute continues, and you end up canceling the ride and walking the distance. It is frustrating when you order food, but the rider calls you for directions to your house because the app does not show a precise location.

In the above scenarios, the businesses lost money, a customer, time, and resources. When you develop a location-based app, make sure that you do not lose business because of such a problem. Besides online taxi service and food delivery, a logistics business can also use geolocation apps. Continue reading, and you will be able to answer questions such as how to create a location-based app, how to build a GPS app, and how you can make your app a success.

Location-based Apps – What Are They?

All the apps that have the ability to provide services to their users based on their current location are, in one way or another, location-based service apps. They facilitate the users in finding nearby services, places, and people. Smartphones have GPS, and their signal can improve by using it with a mobile network or Wi-Fi.

What can you do with Geolocation Applications?

Businesses need to develop apps that are dependent on geolocation to get the most from their core functions. It can act as a marketing tool by reaching target audiences and getting alternate ways to interact with their customers. Geolocation applications can provide real-time information about nearby objects and places to the users. By marking places on the map, companies can get customer feedback to see how they can improve.

What do Businesses get with a Geolocation App?

Statista predicts that the number of smartphone users will increase from 6.378 billion in 2021 to 7.516 billion by 2026. It means that businesses have that many potential customers. In a report by the Location Based Marketing Association (LBMA), we can see that about 95% of global organizations use geolocator apps to reach new customers. Let us find out how businesses can actually benefit from a geolocation app.

Mobile Advertising with Map Location App

A mobile location app uses GPS to identify the current location of the user. The geolocation app then sends push notifications to the user, informing them about nearby offers, discounts, and other available services.

Map Location App and Purchase Suggestions

Local businesses can benefit from purchase suggestions with a map location app. Retail companies can use Android map applications to analyze the buying patterns of users and offer personalized suggestions. By using a mobile location app, brands can promote their local recommendations.

Mobile Location App Enables Prompt & Precise Services

Geolocation applications enable businesses to serve their customers near their current location. A location-based service app helps businesses in increasing customer loyalty. A location app can identify the exact location of the users with GPS. This allows them to send their product or service to that location.

How a Location App Works

A mobile location app uses geolocation. It provides the geographical location of the device to identify the whereabouts of the user. Any device that has Android, iOS, a fitness tracker, or a GPS chip and can connect to a Wi-Fi can locate where a user is at a particular time.

A geolocation app can find a user even without a GPS. It can use the location of cellular networks or Wi-Fi access points to determine the user's location.

What Technologies are used in Location-based App Development?

Are you trying to find out about location-based app development? You need two main components. One is maps, and the other is outdoor and indoor geo detecting services. A location app uses two types of services; indoor and outdoor. Let us see the difference between the two.

Outdoor Geolocator App Technologies

Outdoor navigation such as maps helps the users in reaching the target destination without hurdles. It also helps in positioning the users and showing them the routes. This type of navigation in a location app uses GPS signals and satellite imagery to pinpoint a particular place. Let us discuss each of these in detail.

GPS

What is GPS, and how to build a GPS app? Well, every geolocator app uses the Global Positioning System (GPS) that is present in every smartphone. It is the most popular method to locate a device. GPS receives signals from satellites, gives a precise location, does not require internet, and works everywhere.

A-GPS

Assisted GPS service (A-GPS) combines the Cell ID and GPS to submit a higher level of accuracy. The benefits of this technology include lower battery usage, enhanced responsiveness, and good speed.

Cell ID

When GPS signals are unreachable, the location of the device is determined using the cellular towers close to the phone. The only drawback of Cell ID is that it is not as accurate as GPS because it depends on how close the tower is to the phone.

Wi-Fi Positioning

Android map applications use Wi-Fi positioning, which gathers data from the internet and provides better accuracy. It drains the battery slowly and works in high-density areas. To use Wifi-Positioning, you need an accessible Wi-Fi spot.

Indoor Technologies

Indoor geolocation technologies help apps in tracking a person inside buildings. They provide more accurate navigation when a person is inside a building. Here are some popular indoor location tracking technologies.

Geofencing

It is a location-based marketing approach that works by using Wi-Fi, cellular networks, and GPS. It does not give an accurate location, but it helps businesses bring more people into the store from outside.

iBeacon & Eddystone

iBeacon is provided by Apple, and Eddystone is Google's service. They both use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) for indoor location tracking. They send out identifiers, which in turn trigger actions in apps designed for iBeacon or Eddystone.

Important Things You Need to Know for a Location-based App Development Project

The success of your location-based app development project depends upon several factors. They are:

1. Market Research

2. Development Team

3. Features

4. Design

5. Technologies

6. Development

7. Deployment & Maintenance

Let us discuss each of these in detail.

Market Research

Market research is the first step because you have to figure out if the development project you are going into is even worth the time and effort. You also need to see if there are any existing apps like the one you want to create. Study those apps and see what they are offering.

Hire Development Team

For the development of the app, you need an experienced development team. There are three ways to hire a team. You can either hire freelancers, outsource from a development company, or hire an in-house team of developers.

Freelancer

Freelancers are the cheapest among the three, but they have limited expertise. You need to stay in touch with freelancers to make sure that the project is going according to the defined timeline.

Outsource

Outsourcing the development from a company is favorable only if you plan on developing a single app. When you have lots of app development projects lined up, you need an in-house team of developers.

In-house

Hiring an in-house team can be costly because you need developers and designers as well. The advantage of an in-house team is that it is easy to collaborate with them and keep a check on the progress of the project.

Add Features

Now that you have a team to develop the app, you need to define the key features the app requires to function the way it should and the ones you want for additional services. Your best bet is to start with a minimum viable product (MVP). It will help in testing the app without spending too much on the development. Below is a list of features that you must have in a location-based app.

Map Integration

Map integration is necessary to suggest specific locations, plan routes, mark places on the map, and get information about places. Remember to enable the offline mode for users' convenience.

Location Tracking

Everything from delivery to logistics and online taxi service requires location tracking for the best experience. It is useful to track delivery orders and beneficial in travel apps.

GPS for Fitness and Health Apps

Fitness activities such as cycling, swimming, and running require a GPS tracker to monitor the distance and intensity. Health apps need sensors to monitor the user's heartbeat, blood pressure, and blood-oxygen levels. Fitness activities such as cycling, swimming, and running require a GPS tracker to monitor the distance and intensity. Health apps need sensors to monitor the user's heartbeat, blood pressure, and blood-oxygen levels.

Voice Guide

Voice guide is vital for traveling because the driver cannot look at the screen of their phones while driving. They need a voice guide to know when they have to make a turn and when they have to stop for a traffic jam ahead.

Notifications

You can use push notifications for personalized offers, such as discounts to loyal customers. Sending a discount offer for furniture to every customer is not as efficient as sending each user a discount offer based on their previous buying pattern. A customer who wants to buy cutlery will not be interested in a furniture discount.

Suggestions

Suggestions can help you send personalized content to the users. They are great for suggesting something similar to what the user is currently doing or something related to the user's current geographical location.

Great Design

You have to design your app in a way that is visually appealing to the users. In a location-based app, you need to have an intuitive and functional navigation system. Brainstorm ideas, create unique elements such as buttons and tabs to grab the user's attention. Remember to keep the design as simple as possible to make it easily understandable.

Select Technologies

You need to understand and use the right technologies and tech stack to make a function geolocation app. Here is a list of some popular tools that developers use in such an app.

Web

1. HTML5 geolocation API

iOS

1. Google Maps API

2. Core Location API

3. Google Maps SDK

4. Apple MapKit

5. Google Places API

Android

1. Android Location Package

2. Google Location Services API

3. Google Maps API

4. Google Maps Directions API

5. Google Distance Matrix API

6. MapView class

7. Yandex Maps

8. Open Street Map

9. Mapbox

Development Phase

Now that you have done everything before this step, it is time to start the development phase. Divide the project into smaller sprints, and define a timeline for each sprint. This will make it easy to assess if the project is progressing according to the timeline.

Deployment & Maintenance

After completing the development phase, you need to test the app thoroughly for any leftover bugs and issues. Once you resolve them, it is time to deploy the app on the respective app stores. Make sure to comply with the requirements of the App Store and the Play Store before deployment. After deployment, you only need to maintain the app. Release frequent updates and new builds to add new features to the app.

Challenges

There are always some advantages and some disadvantages to everything. The same is the case with a location-based app. Businesses and users have many uses for such an app, but there are some challenges that you have to keep in check. Let us discuss them in detail.

Security

Users refrain from allowing apps to track their activity due to privacy concerns. Make sure that you understand this matter thoroughly. Consult with lawyers so that you do not miss out on anything. Make your app secure by using multi-factor authentication, encrypting communications, and using an SSL certificate.

Ethical Issues

Ethical issues surround the collection of private data. Customers provide this information in exchange for discounts, presents, and other offers. You still need to carefully decide on how you will gather and use this data. Take this matter seriously as it can be troublesome for your business.

Positioning Accuracy

Logistics statistics show that about 41% of drivers in the US lose approximately 15 minutes due to inaccurate positioning. It means that logistics companies can lose up to USD 2.5 billion every year. Try to make positioning as accurate as possible to get noticed by giant companies.

To Sum it up…

A location-based app needs clear goals, a thoughtful plan of action, and a strong strategy. Be sure to follow all the steps given above and use ethical ways for collecting data. Use marketing campaigns as necessary but do not overdo by stuffing the app with ads and notifications.

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Article by Appstirr

14, Sep 2021

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