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Location Based App: How To Build a Geolocation App [Full Guide 2020]

By May 5, 2020November 13th, 20203 Comments
location based app how to build geolocation app guide 2020 agiletech

Nowadays, the trend of the location-based app has become a considerable part of the mobile app market. More and more, companies integrate location-based services. From ride-hailing app like Uber to social media apps like Facebook or Instagram, all of them use location-based development!

These location-based apps have changed millions of peoples’ lives. The ability to integrate location tracking has brought more comfortable daily experiences for customers as well as a new level of marketing strategies.

As of 2018, the location-based app market size was valued at $23.74 billion. And it will reach up to $157.34 billion by 2026. Along with this growth, the demand for location-based services apps will increase too.

Due to this fact, many industries basically couldn’t well exist without this technology! Geolocation app has opened the door for new startup ideas for every business.

In order to help you understand more, we’ ll outline how to create a location-based app, the key features of geo applications and step by step to build a navigation app.

Finally, we will share our experience in many location-based apps! So, start reading!

advantages of location-based mobile app development

Before defining how to create a location-based app, it is important to find out what the main advantages of navigation are.

In general, geolocation is a technology for a mobile interface, which is available for every smartphone. This location-based services can find in iOS or Android smartphone, fitness tracker, delivery app, or anything that has a GPS chip or connects to Wi-Fi.

Therefore, the key features of every location-based application are – GPS tracker, location tracking, and map integration.

So, here are the key features of the location-aware app:

  • Social interaction – Users can find out the location of their friends, family members, and other users.
  • Source of information – Google Maps provides the nearest place or the best route to a destination.
  • Communication – They also allow users to pin a location, leave feedback as well as update photos and videos.
  • Better targeted ads – Location-based marketing can target more customers.
  • Experience with augmented reality – Pokémon Go is a great fit for augmented reality location-based app.

8 great examples of location-based app

best examples of geolocation based app agiletech
  • Maps and navigation: Google Maps
  • On-demand service: Uber, Grab
  • Augmented reality and games: Pokemon Go
  • Travel apps: TripAdvisor, Booking
  • GPS app for weather forecasting: Yahoo weather
  • E-commerce: eBay, Amazon
  • Dating app: Tinder
  • Finding services: Yelp and Foursquare

Location based app technologies

Before answering how to make a navigation app, let’s start with the basic concept: Location-based technologies. In fact, you can build location-based mobile apps with few technologies. Actually, GPS apps can be divided into two main types – outdoor and indoor.

Each geolocation app development can connect with satellite through mobile device’s operating system. Next, by collecting data in real time, the app will receive moving object or person. Software outsourcing company will decide how to create a location based app depends on features.

location based apps technologies how to build geolocation app backend agiletech

Outdoor technology


All mobile devices have a built-in GPS module. GPS uses the information about location and timing that satellites send from the space.


  • Determine a current location quickly
  • High accuracy of GPS about 60 feet


  • Reduce the battery life fast
  • Influence of atmospheric conditions

Cell ID

For some reason GPS can’t access, you can use another approach: cell towers. Relying on the radio signals of the operator, the smartphone will know where the owner is located.


  • The locating technique is a great choice for large cities.
  • Geolocation function can available even without a GPS signal.


  • But in return, this approach has low position accuracy (several hundred meters).


In location-based app development, Wi-fi works in two ways: using RSSI or Google Maps. For instance, by comparing the cellular data with Wi-Fi points, the RSSI (Receive a Signal Strength Indication) is applied.

When it comes to Google Maps, the profile of frequently visited locations within Wi-Fi access identifies the location of the user.


  • Drains battery slower than GPS.
  • The user’s location can determine quickly with nearby Wi-fi spots.


  • Covering a lower area due to the maximum range of Wi-fi access, compared to GPS.

Indoor technology


Geofencing is location-based advertising. With GPS geolocations, cell ID, and Wi-fi, it determines the time at which a person enters the specified virtual perimeter. 

For example, when you come to somewhere that approached, a push notification will send to your phone. Then you can receive a push notification about coupons or discounts of a restaurant nearby.

As a result, this kind of geo-based development becomes quite popular nowadays.


  • Detailed information about the location: how geographically close, inside or outside, what time they entered, etc.
  • The geofencing coverage range is up to 500 meters.
  • A lot of business opportunities including marketing and connection with clients.


  • High power consumption.
  • Limited range (minimum 100-150 meters).

iBeacon and Eddystone

Depending on the platform, Beacon’s technology will be different. iBeacon API was built by Apple, support iOS. Another format by Google, Eddystone, can be used both on Android and iOS devices.

These two types of technologies rely on small wireless transmitters and BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy).  If you want to know how to create a location-based app for accurate indoor navigation, iBeacon/ Eddystone will be worth it.

A great example of this kind of unique app is Revisor, built by the MLSDev team. This app allows users to experience historical events by showing relevant AR content when users visit the locations of the most well-known battles of the American Civil War.


  • High detection accuracy
  • Ability to work without the Internet.


  • A small coverage radius.

How to build location-based app?

Now we have come to the question of how to create a GPS & location-based app. Let’s start with some ideas and create a wireframe of your geolocation app. Moreover, don’t forget to create a minimum variable product (MVP) to evaluate your GPS app at a minimum budget.

Explore the opportunities in the market

Firstly, clarify the type of app you want to build based on one of the above-listed geolocation app use cases. Or come up with a unique new one.

Especially, you should take time on research. Talk to some potential users, and define the existing market leaders as well as their failed projects.

Let’s find your unique idea to benefit your users and set you apart from the competitors also.

Choose the location tracking technology 

Secondly, deciding must-have features, suitable geolocation technology, and the tech stack.

For iOS:

  • The native MapKit, provided by Apple.
  • For another popular framework, you can consider like HERE or OpenStreetMap.

For Android:

If you don’t want to use traditional GPS technology, you can consider WiFi, cellular or Beacons.

Additionally, when creating a geo-location base app, it should be fast and reliable.

Geofencing can bring customers from parking to the market. But it is much accurate when determining the precise geolocation.

While beacons determine the client’s location with greater accuracy indoors. For example, iBeacons will provide more accurate navigation inside the house.

Security is priority

From the beginning of the development, you need to put data safety first. As data-heavy of location-based apps, make sure to comply with the local regulations in every country that you want to target.

Find a reliable partner

Hiring a software outsourcing company is the most time-consuming to develop an app that uses location-based.

So, how to choose the tech partner?

  • Define your exact goals such as product concept, estimate time, size of team you want to hire, etc
  • Shortlist potential service providers like their portfolio, location, positive vs. negative reviews
  • Evaluate your prospects: Background check -> Client references -> Capabilities of an IT outsourcing company -> Work process -> IT quality standard

Getting started

Finally, you’ve known how to build a location-based app. Geolocation apps can help you improve customers’ experience as well as deliver the information in the right place and at the right time.

Not only solving problems from outdoor to indoor tracking, but geo-based app also help your marketing strategy.

Now it’s time for us to deliver some of our projects before:

How much does it cost to build a geolocation app?

Just contact us at [email protected] or via (+84) 936 281 059. We will give you a step-by-step guide to get started with geolocation app development.

  • Define a full scope of work includes functions, UX/UI design, prototype
  • Set an estimated budget and plan your resources
  • Testing
  • Delivery

Hire a Dedicated Development Team to build your location-based apps and set your business apart from your competition.

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