build-gps-app How to Build a GPS (Global Positioning System) App?

How to Build a GPS (Global Positioning System) App?

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GPS apps are becoming more and more common and are likely to stay for a long time.

GPS is short for a global positioning system that extracts information from satellites to give location details.

Businesses use GPS as a marketing strategy and encourage their consumers to opt-in for this service by submitting their location. So, when the GPS is enabled on a customer’s device, businesses can provide location-specific services such as coupons, discounts, etc., and personalize their user experience.

According to a report on GPS navigation by Statista, 54% of Millennials and 53% of people aged 50-64 years actually prefer GPS apps over hard copies of maps.

From using GPS location to get from point A to point B to using it for tailored online experiences, we can say that this technology has a lot to offer.

Let’s take a look at some of the top GPS apps in the world:

Top GPS Apps Used in the World

You might not realize how many GPS apps you already have downloaded on your smartphone, eating up your storage. Here are some of the top location-based apps you surely have downloaded on your phone:

  • Google Maps: The Godfather of GPS navigation apps that gives you real-time ETAs, offline availability, information on traffic conditions, and much more.
  • Dark Sky: A weather app providing accurate minute-by-minute weather details.
  • Pokémon Go: A gaming app utilizing AR location and AR to explore places and collect more Pokémon.
  • UberEats: A food delivery app that provides location-based restaurants for each user.
  • City Hour: A social networking app that allows business professionals to connect based on where they are.

These were just some of the examples of GPS apps. There are many more out there using locations for a wide range of purposes.

Some key features that all location-based apps share are:

Key Features of a GPS Mobile Application

GPS apps are widely used for multiple industries and hence have some features that enhance the user experiences by a large margin.

Map Integration

Many ecommerce , travel, and transportation applications have dynamic maps integrated into them that allow them to access the pin location of users. These maps are also available online so that users can access locations even without the internet.

Location and Data Tracking

Every now and then, you order something online and get a tracking code or link that allows you to monitor the exact location. The GPS tracking device on the delivery vehicle will show the speed along with the geographical coordinates of the vehicle and help you find out which route the rider has taken.

It will give an estimate of how long it will take you to reach a destination that you have plugged into a GPS-enabled device. GPS also helps in charting the progress of an expedition or a long trip.

Voice Assistance

Voice search is the next big trend of digital marketing. If a user searches for your business’s location while driving and using voice assistance, it is important that your website is optimized to give accurate results for voice search.

Ideas to Launch the Next Big GPS App

Location-based apps (LBAs) are location-specific applications that offer business owners the opportunity to provide an enhanced experience for their clientele.

LBAs can be used by businesses to target location-relevant audiences, create location-relevant content, and track location-relevant analytics.

With over 90% of smartphone users preferentially accessing location-based services each day through GPS and location awareness, location data has become a valuable asset to marketing managers looking to narrowcast to hyper-segment potential customers.

In order for business owners to take advantage of this readily available resource, they must first understand how location-based apps work. These three steps will break down location-based apps and how location data is used for marketing purposes:

Location

GPS apps use location data to create location-relevant content, which can be used on a variety of channels such as social media and email marketing. Content that is location-relevant offers more value to the audience and improves their online experience.

Utilizing location data, marketers are able to narrowcast their advertising, so it is targeted at hyper-segments of potential customers who have demonstrated interest in the business's geographic location through their previous behavior on the web.

Building Profiles

Through location sharing, LBAs allow companies to directly interact with their customer bases and build user profiles by collecting behavioral information about each individual user (what do they like, where do they go, who their friends are, how often they go there, etc.).

These location profiles can be used to market location-relevant coupons and deals to the location's inhabitants.

Getting Data

Location-based apps allow businesses to track location-specific analytics of user location data so that actionable insights can be gathered about an area or population. By taking advantage of location data, businesses are able to examine the effects of location-relevant marketing on customer behavior.

They can also determine which products/services are most popular among certain geographic locations by examining each platform where LBAs are built (BBW walking tours through Foursquare, history trails through Google Maps, etc.).

What Technologies Can Be Used to Build GPS Apps?

One of the first steps taken in location-based software development is defining what technologies can be used to build GPS apps.

The location-based app technologies are built on different layers, which include the mobile platform or Operating System (OS), location services, location databases, search services, and user interface design.

Every location-based app technology has its advantages, disadvantages, and proper use cases when it comes to deciding whether or not they should be used for your next location-based project.

Below is an overview of some of the most common location-based software technologies used by location-based app developers today. We hope this article will help you make an informed decision when choosing the right location-based technology stack for your upcoming location-based project.

Mobile Location Platform

The location platform is the foundation for any location-based software development, and it should be chosen based on the location data that has to be collected and presented in your location app.

The location platform can also depend heavily on which mobile operating system (OS) you are choosing to build your location-based app for.

Some of today's most widely used location platforms include Google Maps (built into Android OS), Apple Maps (built into iOS OS), HERE Location Platform by Nokia, Bing Maps from Microsoft, Mapbox, Arviya Platform by Qualcomm, Map data, Locus Enterprise Mobility Location Platforms, etc.

Location Services

Location Services are basically location data aggregators that collect location information from a variety of location services and store it in a location database.

Some location services can be built into the location platform you've chosen; some come as an independent service or SDK, while others are provided by location databases.

Some of today's most widely used location services include HERE Location Services, Arviya Platform by Qualcomm, Google Geolocation APIs for Android &iOS, Mapbox Location Services, Locus Location Services, etc.

Location Database

A location database is a collection of pre-processed location data that has been collected from various location services and then stored on a server. The first generation of location-based apps was entirely built around free open source location databases.

Today location databases are widely used to power location-based apps that need more customized location data or just for backup purposes where all location information is stored in case location services fail to provide location data.

Some of today’s most widely used location databases include HERE Location Database, Mapbox Geocoding & Search Services, Locus Location Databases, etc.

Search Service

A search service provides location-based results related to a given query or topic by analyzing the client device's current position and proximity to relevant nearby locations along with user preferences.

It can be seen as an integral part of any location-based app providing relevant nearby search results whenever the users enter a keyword into the location-based app's search bar.

Some location-based apps use location data as the user's preference. In contrast, some location services like Mapbox make it possible to provide location-based results even if there is no location data available for a given location.

Some of today's most widely used Location-based Search Services include: Google Places API, HERE location search APIs, IpsoMx API for location-based mobile app development, etc.

User Interface Design

The user interface design can be built either using native programming languages or HTML5/CSS3 technologies depending on the operating system your location-based project is being developed for.

But, of course, the UI also has to be built in accordance with the platform you are building your location app for.

In order to build location-based projects, location SDKs have been built for a wide range of programming languages and mobile OS, e.g., Google Maps API for Android, HERE location platform by Nokia, Apple Maps location services, etc.

As location-based technology continues to evolve at an unprecedented rate, location-based technologies are expected to play an even more pivotal role in all kinds of businesses across different industry verticals.

Once the location-based project is complete, location data can be integrated with other kinds of business data to create even more value out of it.

Key Points to Remember While Developing A GPS App

Data and location-based apps go hand-in-hand.

One of the main features location-based apps provide is location data.

Your location can be used as a gateway to discover new places or for local searches. Location-based services offer location information about different places such as airports, shopping malls, restaurants, etc. They also help you find nearby public utilities such as supermarkets, gas stations, and hospitals.

The best location-based applications will work regardless of your location and give you access to location data that concerns you at any point in time and regardless of your location.

This allows app users to turn their smartphones into tools that know where they are and what's important around them at all times, from tracking down friends on a map to finding where they parked their car or being alerted of location-specific promotions around them.

It is clear that location services can play a significant role in any location-based app. But what good is having location data if the location itself is not relevant?

Location relevance is crucial for location-based apps to provide accurate location information.

To access these features, you need location awareness which means getting all the necessary location data without compromising performance and accuracy.

However, there are several challenges associated with customized marketing campaigns for different locations, including adapting the products and services provided to suit local needs, tailoring content that focuses on local trends, addressing regional requirements, etc.

However, location-based apps can address these challenges successfully to turn location awareness into location relevance.

Location-based apps allow you to access location data and use location to help you explore new places or for local searches. They also help you find nearby public utilities such as supermarkets, gas stations, and hospitals.

Also, location-based services offer location information about different places such as airports, shopping malls, restaurants, etc.

This allows app users to turn their smartphones into tools that know where they are and what's important around them at all times, from tracking down friends on a map to finding where they parked their car or being alerted of location-specific promotions around them that are tailor-made for people who live in certain areas.

However, location relevance is crucial for location-based apps to provide accurate location information.

Location awareness means getting all the necessary location data without compromising performance and accuracy.

How to Build a GPS Application?

Creating a location-based app involves several steps, including testing, research, wireframing, and consumer outreach.

You need to lay down the foundation of your location-based app by researching how it will work, customize user experiences based on location, why the user needs GPS to use it, and examples of who can benefit from using it.

As with any mobile app development project, creating a location-based app requires planning for what your location-based app will entail and how location factors into its functionality.

For example, some apps involving location do not play a large part in the app's performance, while others require a location to work properly.

The location of where your app is being used should play some role in what it does for the user, but this does not mean it has to be location-specific.

For instance, an educational app can be location-agnostic; students can use this type of location-based apps no matter where they are as long as they download it on their mobile devices.

Users can also benefit from location-agnostic games if they choose not to use GPS when playing them. However, these types of apps rely more heavily on users' internet connection speed.

Location-based apps are data-intensive, so location should affect the app's functionality in a way that uses location information. For example, location-specific educational games allow students to learn more effectively by playing geolocation games at school rather than at home.

Similarly, location-specific dating apps connect users with partners who live nearby.

Once you have established your location-based app idea, you can begin thinking about how the location will affect its features and function.

You must also take into account all of the logistics involved in location services for mobile apps. Location is complicated because it relies on several factors, including speed of movement, the accuracy of GPS readings, internet connectivity, and phone capabilities.

The best thing to do is research location-based mobile apps on the market to see how location has been integrated into their features.

After you have established your location-based app idea, research location-based apps on the market to see how location affects them and what functions location provides for users. This will give you an idea of what is possible with location services for mobile apps.

For example, some location-specific educational games allow students to learn more effectively by playing geolocation games at school rather than at home. Similarly, location-specific dating apps connect users with partners who live nearby.

Once it's established that your location-based app idea can benefit from integrating location services, doing thorough testing is important. Using your app where its intended audience would be is the best way to test location-based apps.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a GPS App?

The cost of app development depends upon its complexity, the amount of time and resources required to build the app. First, you'll need to decide whether you want to outsource the project or build the app with your in-house team.

Once you decide on that, you’ll need to consider the efforts and number of people that will be actively involved in your project.

At maximum, you'll require a UI/UX designer, front-end developer, backend developer, quality assurance engineer, and a project manager.

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