Android, Business, Development, Fundamentals, iOS Wednesday September 1, 2021

How to build a location-based app in 2021 – A complete guide

These days, location-based apps are all the rage. There are several geolocation-enabled smartphone apps available.

Location-based smartphone applications are not simply for getting directions, finding places, or people.

Retailers are already utilizing geofencing technology to convey notifications to close customers. Users can tag places when sharing text, video, or images on social networking applications. Weather applications leverage the user’s current location to provide real-time weather notifications.

Table of contents 

  • Introduction
  • What are location-based apps?
  • Types of location-based apps
  • Location-based App Development Technologies 
  • How to make a location-based app? – A Step-by-step guide
  • Benefits of the location-based app for Businesses 
  • Challenges in Building Location-Based Apps
  • Wrap Up

Location-based mobile apps have a wide range of applications. 

However, how can you make a location-based app, and how can it help your company?

What technologies are used by location-based apps, and why are they used? 

What are the stages to creating a high-quality, customer-focused product?

We will go through everything in this blog, from geolocation technologies to location-based app development and the software stack that goes with it.

What are location-based apps?

Mobile applications that allow companies to provide their services depending on the users’ location are location-based apps.

Other companies may use the same technology to deliver personalized notifications to their consumers’ geolocation. Wi-Fi, cell towers, and satellite/GPS are all used to transmit position information.

Types of location-based apps

Geolocation applications are into many categories. Let us look at the most popular ones in each category and the GPS-enabled features they provide.

  • Geosocial Apps

On social media, users frequently tag the location of a restaurant, theatre, gym, or hotel. Instead of providing an address, pointing to a spot in response to the inquiry “where are you?” is easier and faster. 

The finest examples of building a location-based app of this sort are Facebook, Tinder, and WhatsApp.

  • On-Demand Service Apps 

On-Demand Services are services that are available when you need them.

For a variety of GPS-based mobile applications, location detection is a helpful feature. It allows users to call a cab, buy meals, or even get gas with only a few touches instead of waiting for a manager’s response or standing in massive queues. As a result, a guide on creating a location-based app would be helpful to nearly any business looking to increase customer loyalty.

Uber, Uber Eats, and Zomato are among the industry’s most well-known participants.

  • Navigation Apps

The most popular method for geolocation app development is mapping and navigation apps. These applications assist users in navigating unfamiliar regions by tracking their position and mapping out the best paths. 

Examples of navigation applications include Google Maps, Waze, and Glympse.

  • Travel Apps

There are several applications for geolocation-based travel apps. They can provide guided tours to customers all around the world, or they can be more focused and make recommendations for nearby hotels or flats. When used in conjunction with augmented reality, individuals may choose which areas they wish to visit and receive recommendations for places to visit as well as ideal routes. All pertinent information about local attractions and companies is provided directly to the user’s smartphone.

Airbnb, Expedia, and Booking are just a few examples of how to create a location-based app.

  • Fitness Apps 

The fitness business has struck gold as more and more individuals across the world prioritize their health. Users may create jogging routes, track outdoor sporting activities (running, swimming, cycling, and so on), plan workouts, make recommendations, and measure daily progress using geolocation applications. People may also submit data on Instagram or Facebook to celebrate their accomplishments.

Entrepreneurs have been motivated by Nike Running Club and MyFitnessPal to investigate ways to create GPS-based fitness applications.

  • Recommendations and Finding Services Apps 

These applications give users personalized recommendations for cafés, restaurants, shopping, hotels, and cultural institutions to visit in their region based on their likes and interests.

The finest examples of geolocation applications that allow users to track the places they used to frequent are Yelp and Foursquare.

  • E-commerce Apps

Geolocation features are used by e-commerce systems to give delivery information to customers. As a result, location-based applications assist merchants in determining clients’ whereabouts to provide the best available delivery options, resulting in customer retention.

The most well-known e-commerce applications featuring geolocation capability are Amazon, eBay, and AliExpress.

  • Games and Augmented Reality Apps 

The well-known Pokemon Go game also makes use of GPS and Google maps. Users may “catch Pokemon” throughout the city using location-based apps. Furthermore, the service is social in nature and groups users into teams. So, if you want to make interesting games, consider geolocation app development to provide your consumers a great experience.

Location-based App Development Technologies 

Let’s have a look at how a location-based app works before diving into the various technologies utilized in its creation.

With the aid of a mobile device’s operating system, location-based applications establish a link with satellites. The OS provides the app with information about the device’s location. It determines the device’s movement and position by gathering and analyzing real-time data.

Now, what is the best way to create a location-based app? Take two components: inside or outside geo detecting services, and maps.

Location-based services are divided into two categories: outdoor and indoor. What’s the difference between the two?

Let’s see.

Outdoor Geolocation Technologies

Outdoor navigation apps like Google Maps assist users in locating themselves, displaying accurate routes, and quickly arriving at their destinations.

Satellite images and GPS signals are used for outdoor navigation. Let’s take a closer look at them.


The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a radio navigation system that employs radio waves to transmit information about position and time between satellites and mobile devices. GPS is by far the most popular method for locating a device outside. GPS is a satellite-based navigation system that is very accurate (down to 15 meters/49 feet), works virtually anywhere, and doesn’t require an Internet connection.

Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of using GPS:

Despite its limitations, GPS technology is still regarded as a valuable tool for developing geolocation apps.

A-GPS – Assisted GPS 

The abbreviation A-GPS stands for Assisted GPS Service. This locating technique combines GPS and Cell ID characteristics to provide extremely accurate results. It combines data from both the server and the satellite and sends it over the Internet through Wi-Fi or a cellular connection.

Wi-fi Positioning 

Due to the largest range of Wi-Fi connectivity, Wi-Fi positioning gets data from the Internet with high precision (down to 25 to 50 meters). It operates in densely populated regions and consumes the battery more slowly than GPS. 

Cell ID

Cell towers close to the phone can detect the device’s position if a GPS signal is absent for whatever reason. It’s a decent option for megacities with a lot of cell towers, but it’s not as precise as GPS because it’s based on how close the base transceiver station is.

Indoor Geolocation Technologies

We’ve figured out how to follow a gadget outside, but what about within a building?

As an example, when a customer walks into your business, you need to begin directing them as soon as they arrive. Or when you evaluate a user’s location and deliver them the most appropriate offers or advertisements based on that information.

Indoor positioning system apps are designed to improve the accuracy of navigation within buildings.

Let’s take a look at some of the most often used indoor location technologies.


Geofencing is a type of location-based marketing that makes use of GPS, cellular, and Wi-Fi data.

The usage of geofencing in location-based apps is becoming increasingly prevalent. It is based on GPS, which determines how near a user is to a specific location. It’s commonly used in the advertising industry to show people relevant adverts and offers. However, there are several additional applications.

Eddystone and iBeacon

Apple created iBeacon, and Google’s Eddystone is one of their services. For indoor positioning, both iBeacon and Eddystone employ BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy). They also function on the same principle: instead of giving offers, they send out identifiers. These identifiers, in turn, activate activities in iBeacon/Eddystone-specific smartphone apps.

How to make a location-based app? – A Step-by-step guide 

So, how do you build an Android, iOS, and web navigation app? There are a few things you should think about if you want to make a successful geolocation app.

Steps involved in building location-based app:

Step #1. Conduct market research.

Step #2. Choose a Reliable App Developer

Step #3: Make a list of features.

Step #4: Create a visually appealing UI/UX design

Step #5: Create your app.
Step #6: Release your app

So, let’s get started!

Also read: Mobile App Development Process – A Step by Step guide

Step 1: Research the Market

How can you make a navigation app that’s worth your time?

First, decide what kind of app you want to make and begin researching the industry and your rivals.

Remember: if you don’t conduct any research, you could wind up creating a solution that clients don’t want.

So, who exactly are your customers? What issues do they have? And how may your software assist you in resolving them?

Second, take a look at what’s already out there. Examine the most popular geo-based applications to see what they have to offer and what they don’t.

You may learn about your rivals’ strengths and weaknesses by looking at their websites. Also, gather additional ideas about how to improve features and functionality.

Step 2: Choose a Reliable App Developer

The ability of the app developer or app development firm determines the success of your app. Your app concept becomes a reality when you work with the appropriate app development firm.

It’s important to:

Choose an app development business with relevant experience and a strong portfolio in the field.

Request a list of the location-based applications that the app developer has already created. 

Test the usefulness of these applications by downloading them.

Remember that the app firm is unlikely to do a better job on your project than they did on past projects.

Check to see if the app development business has experience with the platform you want for your app: Android or iOS.

Step 3: Define the key features 

Now it’s time to figure out which features would enhance your geolocation app and provide your consumers more options.

It is preferable, to begin with, MVP development (minimum viable product), which will allow you to test the concept without having to spend a lot of money on full-fledged software. The MVP model offers essential functionality that satisfies consumers’ fundamental requirements. It’s feasible to implement more sophisticated features after receiving the first feedback.

There’s a rundown of the location-based app’s main functions to offer you a hint.

  • Maps integration: It’s an essential feature for all sorts of geolocation apps. Users may use it to mark locations on a map, plan routes, designate particular locations, and obtain information about areas they want to visit, among other things. It’s best to enable offline mode to get the most out of map integration. As a result, users will be able to use the app even if they do not have Internet connectivity.
  • Voice guide: This function is ideal for drivers who want to keep an eye on their route without taking their eyes off the road. The navigation directs you where to turn, displays the number of meters till the next turn, and warns you about impeding traffic jams. If the driver misses a scheduled turn, the system generates an alternative route and instructs the driver on how to return to the track.
  • Suggestions: Customers’ preferences or rates for certain items or services can be predicted using recommendation systems. Based on the interests of the users, the app might recommend local events, news, or locations to visit. The algorithm analyses the pages you visit or follow, as well as your favorite destinations and attractions, to provide you with relevant material.
  • Location tracking: The most common uses of location monitoring are in e-commerce and logistics. It aids businesses in determining the location of customers for delivery orders. This functionality might be useful in travel apps as well. Because all of the data is saved in a database, users will be able to relocate locations if they visit them again.
  • Notifications: All mobile applications require push notifications to function properly. However, before launching a successful geolocation messaging campaign, it’s critical to create subgroups for loyal customers so that tailored offers may be made. Sending the identical message to every app user that goes into your store is inefficient, especially if you offer several goods.

Step 4: Create an appealing UI/UX design

You can also visit: What Is The Difference Between UX and UI Design In Software Development?

Clients will not utilize unappealing apps. As a result, in geolocation app development, developing an appealing, functional, and intuitive navigation system is essential.

Consider an original and one-of-a-kind notion. To attract users’ attention, utilize flash elements, buttons, and tabs. For your location-based app, choose the most relevant icons, typefaces, and colors. However, don’t leave your consumers perplexed about how to use and navigate your app. The software must be simple to use, comprehensible, and understood.

Step 5: Create a location-based app

It’s time to work on your geolocation app.

To make the process more structured and foresee issues, it’s essential to break development into discrete chunks (called sprints). 

At this stage, QA engineers test your product, while programmers finish a specific element of the app’s functionality.

Step 6: Release your app

The final stage of location-based app development is to deliver ready-made solutions to customers and collect early feedback. To do so, first, submit your app to the App Store (iOS) or Google Play Market (Android).

Benefits of the location-based app for Businesses 

Here are the points that list the benefits of location-based applications for businesses. 

  • Precise and timely services 

One of the most significant advantages of location-based apps is that they allow businesses to service consumers in their nearby geographic region, therefore improving customer loyalty. Uber, for example, may utilize GPS technology to pinpoint a user’s specific position and deliver their goods or services as swiftly as feasible.

  • Purchase recommendations

You may evaluate users’ shopping behaviors using location data and make tailored purchase recommendations. Customers may use their cellphones to look for items and services, and geolocation apps will help companies advertise their recommendations nearby.

  • Mobile marketing

The location of the users is automatically defined by the app to target advertising. Push notifications generated by geolocation applications can be used to carry out this type of advertising.

  • Virtual tours

You may create a location-based AR platform that allows for great navigation in virtual tours. Geolocation applications use GPS, accelerometer, or compass data to show virtual components on real-world objects. Furthermore, users may point to any city location, and the screen will display all item information. As a result, it increases client engagement and, as a result, sales.

Challenges in Building Location-Based Apps

Despite the numerous benefits for both organizations and consumers, geolocation app development has certain drawbacks that you should be aware of. So, let’s have a look at the major roadblocks.

  • Ethical Concerns

The collection of private data is at the heart of new marketing strategies. Customers frequently submit personal information in exchange for advantageous deals (discounts, presents, etc.). Companies must, however, be cautious in how they collect and use this data.

Customers and sellers both benefit from the information supplied. However, when consumers are unaware that they are being watched and just one party benefits from the information gathered, the ethical boundary blurs.

  • Security

Users are reluctant to activate geolocation on their devices or provide permission for apps to follow their activities due to privacy concerns. Consult with privacy and data protection attorneys, and ensure that your IT business is aware of the situation.

  • Accurate Positioning

Locations must be correct if you provide location-based services. The following alternatives can lead to inaccuracies:

  • Obtaining knowledge in an unreliable manner
  • Moving devices 
  • Inaccurate data interpretation
  • Densely populated area
  • Data that is no longer valid

The level of precision required depends on the type of location-based software. Let’s argue that accuracy is a must-have for mapping and navigation applications, as opposed to dating apps, which may have flaws.

Wrap up

Developing a location-based mobile app can be time-consuming. Get in contact with us if you want to learn more about geolocation services for app development.

We’ll gladly assist you in creating the finest location-based app for your company.

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