Open any application on your mobile phone, be it TripAdvisor, Uber, Instagram, Tinder or even game applications like PokemonGo. What is the first permission these apps ask for? The first thing you will notice is that these apps ask for your location access. The location-based services have eased our lives beyond the imagination and made our daily experiences easier, comfortable and amusing. Are you excited to know how these location-based apps have revolutionized the simple local discovery of places and things? In this blog we have listed down the key features of geolocation applications. Also, the steps that will help you in the geolocation app development process.
What is that one particular key feature that helped Facebook, Tinder, Airbnb application to be so popular? Needless to say, location-based services! This service has changed the workflow of an application. These geo-location apps have been integrated into numerous industries and are used for a variety of purposes.
For some, geo-location service is used for marketing, for others it is used to interact with customers. Customers can have a wonderful advantage of such services to get recommendations, tips and hints. These applications have influenced humans in a beautiful way that everything just seems around the corner.
Not to forget, the MarketsandMarkets report suggests that the location-based service will cross $40 billion by the end of the year 2024. Brilliant news for mobile app development companies isn’t it? Well, let’s dig deeper and have an answer to each of the queries related to location-based apps.
What is a location-based application?
Looking at the nuances in the customer expectations from the services each day, a location-based app provides services around the user’s selected location. This app uses GPS, Cell ID or WiFi to determine the location. Such applications are used for a variety of purposes, few as mentioned above that are for marketing, recommendations, and others to share our own location, to measure the distance, to find a service, to build routes, navigation and all.
Why do we need location-based applications?
Call it a trend or a technology update, we, “the humans” have become geo-dependent. Since most of the applications can not work without having the user’s locations, these apps have become the necessity of time.
To add on to the craze, almost 77% of Americans who own smartphones and a number of industries have grabbed their benefit from location-based applications. These applications are highly in demand specially for the business dealing with logistics, food delivery, retail, social media, etc.
You may ask what is the main function of geo-location based app development? We have an answer to this too. Keep scrolling...
Information sharing: The first thing we do to search for a service or a product is to Google search it for the nearest location. This is exactly the function of a geo-location-based app. It shares important information and service details based on your location.
Easy communication: We all might have received the notification to rate a place or leave feedback on Google Maps. This is again the prime function of the location-based app. It allows users to register for a place, or leave a feedback suggestion. They can also link their own content, be it a picture or a message on these apps for the places they visited.
Ease of marketing: What more do businesses need than getting a chance to target their main audience? Geo-location based app development companies make the most of these features and the marketers can run a targeted marketing campaign and have maximum interaction.
The next question would be,
Which application type makes use of geolocation technology?
Geolocation services are needed by the following verticals of the industry.
Maps and Navigation:
A navigation app is always at the rescue when we are lost in uncharted territory. Apps like Google Maps, Waze and more are the first thing that helps you to navigate inside a region. If you wish to make a location-based application, you can contact a mobile app development company or hire mobile app developers.
Millennials follow the new trend of answering by sending their current location in response to the question, “Where are you?” This is so much easier and faster than writing the whole address and guiding over a phone. Also, you geotag the locations on the pictures you upload over social media may a resort, restaurant or a gym you visited. Everything makes use of this geo-location technology.
How much easier life has become with just a few clicks, you have your taxi at the doorstep or your pizza in the house! GPS location detection has become an easy and convenient way to deliver services/products and increase customer loyalty.
Weather forecast applications:
Each one of us probably has this weather detection widget on the smartphone, don’t we? Yahoo weather makes use of geolocation and thereby gives accurate weather forecasts for the region. This is a leading category that is making use of geolocation technology.
Every app that intends to provide a booking service for a family vacation or a business trip makes use of geolocation service. Travel apps are almost indispensable to users who are frequent travelers.
Health and fitness applications:
If you observe the popular fitness applications like RunKeeper, Runtastic, you will find out that all of them use geolocation services to keep track of activities. Such applications also give routes of jogging and keep up with the health pattern.
Augmented reality games:
Do you remember how the game Pokemon Go became viral back in the year 2016? These games used the player’s geolocation services and allowed them to catch the Pokemon in their cities. These applications are exciting and interesting at the same time.
The quality service of eCommerce applications like eBay and Amazon became highly commendable due to the integration of geolocation technology.
So let’s take a step closer and know which technologies we can use to build an app with geolocation.
The two main components of a location-based application are Maps and location services. The most popular way of determining locations is by using the following.
Every single smartphone possesses a Global Positioning System chip inside. This chip catches satellite signals from at least 3 satellites simultaneously, in order to know the location and timing.
However, in order to determine the position with about 60 feet accuracy, the data from at least four satellites have to be received on the smartphone. Each of them gives radio signals with location and precise time. The radio signal travel speed is almost the same as that of light, i.e 300,000 Km/h.
The device has GPS, notes the time of arrival and further calculates its distance from every satellite in the vicinity.
This detection happens at a very high speed and accuracy. The only drawback of using GPS is, it reduces the battery life.
In scenarios where GPS signals are unavailable, then the location can be determined using the cell towers. Every phone is connected to a cell tower that receives mobile coordinates every single second. Based on the coordinates, the location of the smartphone can easily be determined.
This is a great solution for the megacities where there are many cell towers available. However, you can not expect an accurate location result. It may go wrong by several hundred meters.
Bluetooth low energy:
Beacons are the new industry GPS. This is another great alternative to GPS and GPS application development companies are going crazy about it. The beacons are wireless Bluetooth transmitters that can identify a nearby portable electronic device. The Bluetooth signals transmitted by the nearest smartphones are captured by the Beacon which can help us in knowing the location of the user.
iOS uses iBeacon API, while Android uses Eddystone technology and AltBeacon protocol. The beacons are easy to install even indoors and outdoors in megastores or malls, but the technology is quite costly as compared to the others.
WiFi technology works similarly to CellID but gives more precise results. The reason behind this precision is because it is encapsulating a small area. It functions in two ways, using RSSI and getting location details from the database or Google Maps.
The database refers to the WiFi signals received between the phone and WiFi points. And this transmission further leaves wireless fingerprints. This fingerprint is used to determine the user’s location with almost 2 meters of accuracy.
For mapping, the exact location, Google Maps or Map Kit Framework is used.
We have listed above some of the technologies used for outdoor device location, but how to track devices indoors? For indoor geolocation, the following technologies are used.
Geofencing technology works combinedly using GPS, Cellular data and WiFi data. After knowing the user’s position, it determines the time during which a person enters a virtual perimeter. This technology is less accurate but is useful to bring the user to the desired place from the streets.
The Geofencing operating range is further used to provide a customized user experience. However, it consumes high power when compared to others.
The three main types of geofencing triggers are:
Static triggers: It is based on the user’s position in a particular area;
Dynamic triggers: It is based on the user’s position relative to the dynamic changes;
Peer-to-peer: It is based on the user’s position relative to another user.
How to initiate a location-based application:
Here is the step-by-step procedure using which you can create a location-based app for iOS and Android.
Explore the Idea:
Since you wish to outshine the competitors, you need to study them in detail. This means you need to know who your end-users are, how will they utilize the application and which problem will the geolocation-based app solve?
You can find out which strategies your competitors have implemented and what are their fallbacks. By knowing the strong points and the weak points, you get a clear idea about which features and functionality you should incorporate into your app.
Create a wireframe:
Wireframing helps to put down your app idea and have a check on it.
Find the development partner:
It is of utmost importance that you pick up a reliable tech partner for your app idea. You can check out the mobile app development company’s portfolio, their pricing and the work done and ensure that they will be able to meet your expectations.
It will be a bonus point if they provide UI/UX services for app development. You can hire developers to get your app done.
Decide on the technology stack that you wish to work upon:
Based on the features you decide to include in the geo-location-based app, you need to select your tools for app development. Ask the tech expert and get the suggestions on which technology stack to use.
Implement security features:
If you are developing a geo-location-based application, then you need to be aware of the scammers. You need to secure the data shared by the users be it using any technology source. You can hire a data protection lawyer and understand the matter and its implementation.
You can initiate multi-factor authentication and encryption of communication. You can also use an SSL certificate, Network Security Configuration for Android or App Transport Security for iOS. Avoid storing any sensitive data on the user devices.
Now here comes the answer to the next question:
What is the cost of building a geolocation-based application?
There are a few factors that help in determining the final cost of geo-location based application. The country from which you hire the development teams, their rates and the quality of work delivered influences the cost of app development.
Additionally, the functionality you wish to add in the application, the features and the complexity add on to the final cost. It is almost difficult to say the final cost at the initial stage because you may wish to incorporate features and functionalities even at the later stages.
If we give you an estimated amount, then a GPS app development company will charge you around $50-100 per hour.
We hope you are now clear about the building and functioning of a geo-location-based application. One of the major benefits of building a GPS app for android and iOS is that it helps you to reach the right audience at the right time. Uncover more potential of your app idea by contacting us today.