Geolocation app development

Geolocation app development – what is it today: the trend move necessary to stay on the market, a least-evil solution or just a pleasant feature that attracts users?

Mobile applications with geolocation are firmly entrenched on the market, taking root in all top categories – from sports and fitness to games and dating apps.

application categories

The most popular application categories in the Apple App Store in July 2017, by statista.com

This chart shows the most popular categories in the Apple App Store. As of July 2017, this list topped the “games” category and business applications became the second most popular category, having 9.83% of the total share. It’s nothing to say that more than 140 billion applications were downloaded in the official App Store in the summer of 2016.

The implementation of geolocation features expands the mobile applications capabilities and helps to improve interaction with the client to a new, higher level. The best confirmation of this will be both niche applications like the Uber, and mass ones, like Tinder and Pokemon Go. If you are thinking about how to develop a mobile app with geolocation, then this article will be useful for reading and to understand how to integrate geolocation in mobile app.

App with geolocation service

To find out what is app with geolocation service, let’s find out what is geolocation first. Geolocation is the geographical data (latitude and longitude) of the device location. Applications with geolocation are apps which functions are tied to user location data.

How to get the location information? This can be done, for example, using GPS, Wifi or a cellular operator network data, although in some cases it is also possible to use Bluetooth beacons.

GPS

The most known option – user’s location is determined by signals from available satellites. To describe the principle of this technology, let’s imagine the situation when few friends are calling (A GPS receives a signal simultaneously from many satellites) with the question: “where are you?”. In this way, the mobile device with the enabled positioning function continuously receives the signal, but instead of the trivial “where are you” also receives the request “how fast are you”. I.e, the time for which the signal has come, multiply by the speed of the object, so the distance is calculated, of course with certain error corrections.

A-GPS

The Assisted GPS technology helps to obtain combined information, both from satellites and from an accessible network connection, when data transfer occurs via the Internet – Wi-Fi or cellular network. This approach allows to determine user’s location in a faster way and also consumes less the battery of the device. The only drawback is the use of the Internet traffic.

Wi-Fi

If the first method was the most known, then these technologies is probably the most common. In order to determine the person’s position using Wi-Fi networks, you first need to know the location of nearby access points. To collect such information, both Apple and Google resort to GPS assistance. When GPS is enabled, the device sends its location data and available Wi-Fi networks that are within the receiving radius. Thus, anonymous location information and identifiers (SSIDs and MAC addresses) of access points are sent to the servers. But to determine the location of the user in the future, only WI-Fi is needed, and it’s not necessary to connect to the network, you only need to be in the coverage area. Again, the statistics sent are anonymous and stored in special databases. In addition, the user personally agrees to the collection and transfer of data when the GPS services are in the active state.

Cell ID (CID)

There are times when a connection with satellites can’t be established, but nevertheless, it is necessary to obtain the location data. In this case, the user’s geo-position can be defined with the help of the base stations of the communication provider – each tower has its own identifier and the position is calculated by the distance of the client from it. An excellent feature to integrate into a location-based application.

Beacons

Another option for determining the location – the use “Bluetooth low energy” (BLE) beacons. Such devices are autonomous (e.g. run on batteries) and transmitting\receiving signals from user’s devices via Bluetooth. This technology is available to developers via API – Eddystone with AltBeacon protocol and API iBeacon – for Android and iOS respectively.

In order to understand how the process of determining from the outside looks, it is worth noting that this type of identification is more suitable for closed rooms, offices or small events. With this method, you do not need to have a network connection. More often, the beacons are used to attract customers or advertise to increase users loyalty to the brand. For example, after installing such a device in the store, then at the time of customer’s identification, the beacon will send a push notification, which will contain the necessary information on the availability of discounts, promotional code, etc.

geolocation service

Build a custom geolocation app

To build a custom geolocation app, first you need to know what kind of app you want to create, therefore we have identified such trendy categories of applications in which 100% of such functions are needed:

Maps and navigation

Strangely enough, but this is the first category of applications that use almost all available functionality to determine user’s position. An interesting feature of applications of this type can be the provision of information about nearby cafes, hotels, parks or just shops that you will pass during a walk. Another example is mobile services that determine traffic jams or allow to call a taxi directly from the application interface when you are searching for a route to a specific location.

Travel and booking applications

Mobile applications for travelers (like Booking.com or TripAdvisor) will be useful when planning vacation and business trips. This is especially true if you have an unplanned flight to another city or country and you do not know the nearest hotels, restaurants, hospitals, etc.

Transport services

A vivid example of such applications is Uber. Calling a taxi, the subscriber can track both the driver’s and his own route on the map. The driver, in turn, can see the location of the passenger who called the taxi and accept an order. On the other hand, geolocation can be used for goods transportation, or deliver parcels and mail, by organizing the work in such a way that the consumer can always find the location of his goods.

Fitness, entertainment, social networks and dating apps

Or you can make a location-based mobile app for fun, entertainment or sports activities. As we pointed out earlier, applications with built-in location detection function are successful not only among transport companies, carriers or travelers. Also, these functions are great for sports to monitoring the distance traveled. On the other hand – geolocation can be used in games, such as Pokemon Go, or in dating applications like Tinder, where on the basis of your position you can be offered personals for acquaintances.

How much does it cost to make a geolocation app

So, summing up all the above, if you want to make a location-based mobile app, note that today a rare application makes a shift without the built-in geolocation function. This applies to both entertainment and business applications. This is especially valuable for promotion, trade or provision of transportation services. Although there are examples when applications from other categories also perfectly integrate these features and get to the top in official stores by the number of downloads.

And If you are wondering how to develop and how much does it cost to make a geolocation app – do not hesitate to contact us, we are always glad to help!

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How to Create a Location-Based Mobile Application
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