Geolocation App Development: An Overview

Aug 12, 2021 | Mobile Apps | 0 comments

Forget regular boring status updates. The world no longer cares about what you’re doing; they care about where you’re doing it. Geolocation is the beating (and revenue-generating) heart of some of the world’s most successful apps – so why not bring your app into the big leagues.

If you’re looking to make your business’ app the most successful it can be, develop a mobile app with geolocation. Geolocation in mobile apps not only helps users feel connected to each other (and therefore also feel a connection to your business) but it allows you to gather tons of useful data about your customers and pull new customers in when they least expect it.

Here’s everything you need to know:

How Does Geolocation Work?

All smartphones have a GPS chip inside of them. You may have utilized this chip to check the traffic on Apple Maps or tag your Facebook status during an awesome beach vacation, but it’s not all fun and games. Geolocation can be a major asset to your business and a powerhouse, revenue-generating tool.

Geolocation does two major things that can help your business:

  • Allow customers to report their location to other customers
  • Associate real-world locations (think: nearby restaurants or shops) with a customer’s real-life location

Location-based mobile apps give users a richer experience than something they could get on their computer (which is really important because the average consumer uses their smartphone as a lifeline and only occasionally logs into their home computer). Let’s take a look at some of the key benefits.

What Can Geolocation Do?

Before you even think of generating revenue with geolocation app development for your start-up, you have to know all the data geolocation can collect. This will help you create user-friendly features that boost your ROI. Here are some key things geolocation can do:

  • Identify a user’s current position
  • Detect user’s moving from one region to another
  • Calculate the distance between objects

These key points of data can be transformed into some seriously helpful features for your business’ app. We’re going to show you how to start developing your app below, but if you’re looking to generate revenue, look no further. There are a number of money-making features geolocation can provide. Each way is innovative and user-friendly. It doesn’t feel like a popup ad, but rather something of value your customer appreciates receiving.

Generating Revenue with Geolocation

There are a few ways you can make some extra cash by building an app with geolocation features:

  • Targeted, location-based ads
  • Location-based loyalty programs for app users
  • Promotions for users who share their location

Before one starts on the development of any geolocation application, it’s important to pick out which features going to utilize the most. Targeted ads are highly recommended for the same. A whopping 72 percent of customers surveyed said they’d respond to notifications they receive from a brand when they’re near one of its locations. Sending location-based notifications (and adding a loyalty program for when your customers actually stop in) is a huge way to take people directly off the streets and put them right into your store.

Taco Bell did a really great promotion with location-based notifications – the one your business could model a campaign after if you create a geolocation app. The fast-food chain held a daily happy hour at 2 p.m. where drinks and food would be discounted. They included a “remind me at 2 p.m.” option for users, and then reminded all those customers to come into their nearest store as soon as the clock hit 2. This is super effective because the restaurant was marketing to people who were already near their locations, and it was just what they needed to sway their decision to come in.

Increasing Brand Loyalty through Geolocation

It’s no secret that location-based features can increase revenue, but they can also help you retain customers. Take Claratin for example. Claratin has the highest brand loyalty in the marketplace for over-the-counter allergy relief. This is in part because of the useful features they offer their users. Claratin sends location-based allergy updates (pollen counts and other allergy information) directly to consumers who’ve signed up for their email list. If a customer sees that the day is supposed to have a high pollen count, they may go out and buy Claratin before their allergies even start bothering them (in other words, they’ll use Claratin’s product before they even actually need it. That is definitely great marketing!).

Features like this help customers rely on your business and keep coming back for more.

Integrating Geolocation into Your Mobile App

If the objective is to build an app with geolocation, one needs to find a developer who specializes in such. They’ll work with the API to add location-based features, but they’re probably going to choose to implement it one of two ways:

  • Users ask the application to find geolocation data (such as nearby restaurants, shops) where they are currently positioned (think: the “current location” option in Apple Maps).
  • Users manually enter a specific location and ask your app to find geolocation data without noting their specific GPS location.

Either of these options uses Geolocation, but only one will use your customer’s specific GPS information. It’s the difference between coding for two APIs and one. Again, this is something your developer will automatically do, but it’s always good to have some background knowledge.

Using both options is recommended as you want customers to be able to search for specific locations in areas they aren‘t currently located as well as get info about where they are immediately. Think about how annoying it would be if you were trying to Yelp some restaurants in a city you planned to visit, but it wouldn’t allow you to type in a location? No thanks!

Key considerations for developing a geolocation app successfully

Hybrid vs Native

You can develop native Android and iOS apps; alternatively, you can develop hybrid apps. Native apps can make the best use of the hardware features of the mobile device. You develop native mobile applications using languages like Java or Swift. They offer the best user experience, performance, and security.

On the other hand, hybrid apps can run on both Android and iOS with just one codebase. This reduces the development and maintenance costs. React Native, a mobile framework based on JavaScript can deliver a near-native user experience. You need to weigh between user experience and costs.

Choice of External API’s

We recommend you build RESTful APIs to leverage your business capabilities. However, you might want to use market-leading 3rd party APIs in some cases. You should build your own APIs to implement the core functionality.

On the other hand, implementing non-core functionalities like social networking integration or push notifications becomes easier with 3rd party APIs and SDKs. Using 3rd party APIs increase the external dependencies, therefore, It boils down to a fine balance. Analyse factors like pricing, security, real-time availability of data, etc. when evaluating 3rd party APIs.

You might need to weigh between various 3rd party API solutions too. E.g., you might need to choose between Waze vs Google Maps when building an app like Uber. Google Maps offers directions for walking, driving, bikes, and public transportation. On the other hand, Waze offers directions for cars.

Managing Geo-location Data

Depending on the nature of your app, you might collect various kinds of geolocation-related data. You might use different technology solutions for this. Furthermore, you might process them for different purposes. You need to design and implement a suitable technical solution to manage this location data effectively. This could involve the following:

  • Securely managing global positioning system coordinates-related data obtained from GPS technology solutions;
  • Integrating Google Maps APIs and SDKs;
  • Integrating OpenCellid, a popular open-source database of cell towers;
  • Implementing appropriate security solutions to prevent a breach of user’s location data;
  • Utilizing tools like the Geolocation API from Google to get a location and accuracy radius based on information about cell towers and Wi-Fi nodes;
  • Using appropriate tools to collect geolocation data from Bluetooth

Choice of Location-aware Technologies

You can choose from various geolocation technology solutions for location tracking. The following are a few examples:

  • Beacons: Beacons can help with indoor navigation, positioning, and tracking. These are small radio transmitters that send Bluetooth signals. In this context, iBeacon, a protocol developed by Apple deserves a mention. An iPhone that supports sharing data using Bluetooth low energy can be turned into an iBeacon. You can create an app that’s compatible with iBeacon.
  • Geofencing: Geofencing utilizes GPS coordinates to encapsulate a geographic area. This technology uses the location data via GPS to find the proximity of the user to that area.

Apps with Integration Geo-location Services

We recommend you review well-known apps that have successfully integrated geolocation services to deliver functionality. This will provide you with useful ideas. The following examples are noteworthy:

  • TripAdvisor: TripAdvisor uses geolocation services to allow travellers to find nearby places of interest.
  • Facebook: The check-in feature offered by Facebook uses location tracking technologies.
  • Airbnb: Airbnb used Foursquare, a popular location platform to provide useful services to its customers.
  • Pokémon go: This popular mobile game used GPS technologies to allow players to capture a Pokémon in real-life locations.

Conclusion

Adding geolocation features to your app is a no brainer. It’s an easy way to generate business and help your customers feel a real, emotional connection with your app. We at AppleTech have the prowess to create geo-location based solutions or integrate them into your existing solutions. Reach out to us today!

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