If you have ever been stuck in an unknown place or missed a turn, you must have realized the value of location-based apps like Google Maps, or Foursquare. The combination of geolocation technology and mobile apps has emerged as a revolutionary solution for modern-age people.
Days are gone when you have to open a big size map or ask a stranger to reach your destination. Today, it is more simple and easier than ever. With just a few clicks, you can find your way and do even lots of things.
You might feel amazed to know that the popularity of location-based apps has reached the next level. The global location-based services market is projected to reach $402.4 billion by 2031 at a CAGR of 24.6% from 2022-2031 (Source). Businesses are using location-based apps in various applications and driving great revenues.
So, if you also have a plan to leverage this technology for your business model, then here is the complete guide to location-based app development. You will know all the essential things to successfully launch your own location-based application. So, let’s get started!
What is a location-based app?
Location-based apps are solely meant for providing location-based services. They use geolocation, GPS, cell ID, beacons, and other technologies to allow users to track their location and use it for defined purposes. At first instance, location-based apps appear to be used for finding locations only.
However, location-based apps are used in a variety of services such as gaming, business, social networking, e-commerce, sports, and more. Location-based or geo-location apps gather data about the user’s current location. And then, the app uses this data to provide customized solutions. They don’t just give information related to location only but also suggest other relevant information like nearby hotels, hospital cafes, stations, etc.
What are the types of location-based apps?
The scope of use cases of location-based apps is huge. It can serve a wide range of industry domains and business niches. Therefore, depending on the industry and use cases, there are mainly three categories of location-based apps:
- Real-Time apps: These apps use geo-location technology in real-time and give information related to location, routes, and maps. Uber is one such example.
- Map-based apps: This kind of location-based app utilizes maps and uses them for various purposes. For instance, Grubhub uses it for delivery, Google Maps for showing locations, etc.
- Geofencing apps: These location-based apps use geofencing technology to collect location-based data and suggest related things like nearby restaurants, hotels, stations, stops, and other destination-specific interests based on the user’s current location. Examples: Tripadvisor, Foursquare, etc.
Popular examples of location-based apps
- Google Maps.
- Family Locator.
- Pokémon Go.
Benefits of Location-based apps for businesses
So, when you plan to invest your money in location-based app development. One question must be there in your mind: how is it beneficial for your business? Is developing location-based or geo-location apps worth it? Well, if you pay close attention to the current trends, the global location-based services market is expanding significantly.
This is due to the increasing adoption of mobile apps and smartphones for using location-based services. Whether it is retail, e-commerce, games, travel, social networking, navigation, or logistics, there is a huge scope for using location-based technology for mobile apps. Here are the benefits of why businesses look for investing in location-based app development.
1. Easier and Faster Shopping
Mobile apps equipped with geofencing technology help people in shopping easily. It allows users to quickly locate nearby shopping centers, malls, or retail stores for what they are looking for. They can find the store location and paths to walk by or drive through. Many offline stores also use beacon technology along with mobile apps to send quick notifications to local customers. In this way, they get the opportunity to attract potential customers who are present nearby the store location.
2. Accurate Location Tracking
Location-based apps utilize different components of geo-location technology like GPS, WiFi, and Cell ID. This enables the application to get accurate data about the user’s location. And thus, this accurate location data allows service providers to flawlessly track their delivery.
There are many instances where businesses have to suffer losses due to wrong or poor location tracking. But modern geo-location technology uses advanced algorithms and devices to accurately fetch a user’s location. As a result, it helps businesses in avoiding potential loss and ensuring high-quality delivery services. Many companies are also using geo-location technology in travel app development to solve industry problems.
3. Efficient Navigation and Virtual Tour
Geo-location technology is not meant for only travel or location-based services. It has the potential to serve industries or business niches that don’t exclusively offer location-based services. By using location-based apps, many companies and businesses offer virtual tours and in-app navigation facilities to users. For instance, the real industry uses augmented reality technology combined with geo-location to offer virtual tours of real-world property within the mobile app. This empowers businesses to take additional advantage of location-based apps for sales and conversions.
4. Proximity Marketing
Proximity marketing is an effective marketing strategy that utilizes the features of geolocation technology. It enables marketers to hit target potential customers by sending ads or content based on their current location. This helps businesses make the best out of location-based facilities to drive sales and improve their customer base. So location-based apps empower businesses to make the best out of proximity marketing and connect with more potential customers.
How to Develop a Location-Based App?
Location-based app development is a standard process like other app development. However, it uses various additional technologies and APIs. Its development process is quite technical and requires accurate implementation. So, here are the steps that you need to follow to build a fully functional location-based mobile application.
Step 1: Define Your App Goal
The first and foremost thing in the location-based app development process is to define your app goal. You need to determine why you are developing this app. What is the purpose behind its development? What problem will it solve and how is it different from others? These questions are important that you have to answer and put into a documentation format.
You also have to conduct in-depth market research to find out how your mobile app will stand out in the competitive market. Therefore, you should also conduct a competitive analysis to get market insights.
Step 2: Create a Project Scope
Once you are done with your research, the next step is to prepare a project scope document. This document will consist of all the information related to your app. It will be used by your iOS or Android app development team or the developer who will be working on your project. You have to mention everything that you want to build in your location-based application.
Step 3: Select the Features
This is a crucial step since you have to be more specific about your application. Here, you need to define what features and functionalities you want to create in the app. These features will allow users to utilize your location-based services. However, there are a variety of features that location-based apps have. Hence, you should wisely analyze your project requirements and choose the features accordingly. To give you an idea, here are some of the population features of geo-location or location-based apps.
- Personalized Suggestions.
- Map as the App Interface.
- Information Filter.
- Location tracking.
Step 4: Hire a Mobile App Development Company
After you have finalized all the technical requirements and features, you need a dedicated team who will work on this project. So, you need to find a mobile app development company or development team. They will take charge of your location-based app development project. This step is also crucial because it will determine the entire process. Hence, you should wisely choose a company that holds specialized and proven expertise in location-based app development.
Step 5: Develop the App
At this stage, your development team or company would be developing your application. During this process, you also have to work in this loop and take constant updates about the project status. You need to make sure the development team is working as per the defined project scope. Hence, you have to keep track of your application development process and ensure they are creating the right features, functionalities, and APIs.
Step 6: Test and Deploy
Don’t be in a hurry to launch your app right after the development. It is critical to test your app to ensure it is free from bugs or any other kind of technical faults. You should properly check your app is performing flawlessly across all mobile device variants.
This test would be done by a dedicated QA & Testing team at the company where you have outsourced your project. So, you should also coordinate to make your app full proof from all kinds of security threats and errors. Once the team validates the app, you can deploy the app on Google Play Store or Apple App Store as per your choice.
Location-based apps are emerging as useful applications for consumers and businesses. They empower users to take full advantage of geo-location technology and use it for various purposes. For businesses, location-based apps are a great app development concept since their demand continues to grow. But since it requires technical expertise and intelligent conceptualization, it is important to take assistance from a professional company for developing a location-based app successfully.
Author: Prankur Haldiya
This article is written by Prankur Haldiya. Prankur is the Chief Technical Officer at RipenApps. He is a connoisseur who has worked with manifold clients & has given his past 6+ years in making chartbuster apps for App Store/ PlayStore. Follow him: LinkedIn | Instagram | Facebook.