Love it or hate it, but geolocation is likely to present in over 90% of apps that are installed on your smartphone. In fact, Touchscreen sensors, 5G, GPS, and Camera functionality are the four pillars that the mobile app world is resting on right now. So, if you’re up to making a successful location-based service app, you’d better take advantage of most if not all of these breakthrough technologies.
The geolocation feature can be applied in literally any industry domain, whether you’re running a carwash company or a corporate health insurance project. Shortly speaking, geolocation performs two functions:
- It tracks the movement of the device;
- It reports this data to the server (as well as vice-versa, notifying the counterparty’s activity, such as during goods or services exchanges such as uber drivers and passengers keeping up with each other’s locations).
Needless to say that Data is the new oil of the Digital Economy. Making real use of this data can bring additional value to your company and your customers as well. By the way, the location data market was valued at $10 billion last year and it’s set to balloon in size by more than two-fold by 2027. So, we have collected the best ideas behind apps that use geolocation. You can use this article to consider performing digital transformation for your business and creating a new mobile app solution or, if you are extra courageous, a completely new endeavor. Privacy concerns aside, geolocation technology has undoubtedly been a boon that made our lives easier. It gave birth to the wide range of mobile apps we’re using in our everyday adventures roaming through metropolitan jungles. Moreover, many, particularly younger generation people, can’t imagine life without their help in the form of navigation apps like google maps, weather apps, taxi [ridesharing] services, food or merchandise pickup or delivery services, sports, or even dating apps. So what variety of location-based app ideas can enhance your software solution, fuel your business, or set you up for newfound success? Let’s find out!
What Are Location-Based Mobile Apps?
Location-based service apps/location-aware apps are the applications that offer various services depending on the user’s location as identified using GPS or data from the cell tower and facilitated by Wi-Fi or cellular connectivity. There are several types of services out there:
1. Location-based search for various services and places: restaurants, timetables for public transport, health professionals. For example, Tripadvisor location app lets you view sights and reviews for them nearby which is handy if you’re looking for a place to visit in a new city:
2. Ones that send push notifications: various loyalty program apps and apps that allow earning points that can be exchanged for discounts or gift сertificates. For example, Shopkick gives users points (kicks) when they enter certain shops, incentivising people to enter stores and purchase products since they are already there. This concept/marketing trick is a spin-off version of awarding people bonus points every time they spend.
3. Apps for tracking movement, finding people (or belongings): apps for tracking geolocation of family members and friends or safety apps (such as “find my iPhone”), dating apps, and communication apps for joining others in sports activities, hobbies, trips, and the like. Tinder-like dating apps are probably the most obvious example here.
With the onset of the pandemic, many applications were developed to control over migration of sick people with Covid-19 and establish their connections (contact tracing) preventing or minimizing the disease from spreading further. For example, NHS, coronavirus contact tracing app, where users were encouraged to contribute as much additional helpful information as possible — such as their location — to help epidemiologists identify infection hotspots.
Apple has been a long-time pioneer of “find my iPhone” and synonymous tracking capabilities for all its families and lineups of devices. Just this past Wednesday, April 20th, however, Apple decided to up their game in this direction by unveiling a new lineup of item trackers dubbed “Airtags”, which are designed to serve specifically as trackers, which you attach to things like your car in case you are not mindful of where you park it, car keys, or house keys.
Some more Location-Based App Ideas
Mobile App for Social Networks – Drophook Case
Every fisherman knows that success in this activity depends on many factors. In addition to such obvious things as spinning and bait, success depends on the spot you choose, season, weather, setting, and time of the day.
That is what we’ve found out during our development of Drophook – Web & Mobile Social Network for fishing lovers. Among other social media features, like messaging options and user profiles, Drophook emphasizes geolocation functions.
Keeping in mind those audience preferences, we’ve also added an interactive map that builds on that, overlaying and showing users the best places where they can count on getting a nice catch. Just like you sometimes see experienced fishermen bunched up in a certain spot, Drophook can help facilitate this by allowing fishermen to coordinate where they meet for good fishing results and perhaps offering a good socializing time. The app allows users to pin favorite fishing spots on the map, so they could share locations with friends and find a place in the future, no matter how deep inside the wilderness it might be.
We also added a nautic map with GPS navigation that will be handy for those who like fishing from a boat. This option is beneficial in terms of app promotion, as long as there is a vast audience base of fishers who prefer the sea, lake, or river to shore.
On top of all these geolocation features, there are a few other pertinent types of functionalities left to mention:
- Location-Based Notifications, so the fisherman could be notified if there are, say, environmental spawning triggers that can contribute to spawning starting nearby. In turn, other similar activities that would be beneficial for hunters to know about are sent to them.
- Weather Forecast pinned upon the map to allow users to check weather conditions before going to sea, shore, or to hunt.
Location-Based Offers App
This idea could find its application in any service-based business. The app can map restaurants and parking places or develop a location-based discount app that will display all hot sales and discount offers nearby.
This kind of application is also popular in retail. Supermarkets and other retailers integrate GPS into their apps to help users find stores near them. The application can be a powerful tool if you need to increase your brand awareness, attract more new customers, and keep the existing client base engaged and loyal. The geolocation app for offers is a great chance to boost your business and make it more profitable.
On-demand Community App
The other approach is to make a location-based platform that would connect people to each other instead of to places. Surf & Yoga is a great example of such an app that used location technology. Thanks to the power of geolocation technology, we’ve made a platform for an active community of users so that they could share with each other their knowledge in Yoga and Surfing.
Geolocation is one of the most important “Surf & Yoga” features as it helps users find perfect morning yoga spots with a breathtaking sunrise view of sandy bays with high waves and preferably no sharks.
Most dating apps use geolocation as their primary technology, as people want to make acquaintances or more with those who live nearby. We recently finished a project that provides a unique experience of meeting new people through the blind date app INCINQ. It would connect people first and foremost based on their location. Of course, the application also takes into account gender, age, rating, personal characteristics, etc., the user must fill in all the fields in the profile so that the system can select a suitable date for him/her.
There are many types of applications in this direction: an application for planning a route for a run, tracking training results (such as distance traveled in a specific amount of time), or, for example, finding a gym or training ground, as well as a coach. We are completing such a project for a European client.
The idea is that people who travel around to different European countries can continue to train and stay active. But finding everything you need in an unfamiliar city is not so easy. With the help of the application (in combination with other location-based apps such as Tripadvisor), users can find everything in just a minute: a training ground or invite a trainer to their place, schedule a training session and even pay for a training session, plan where they will run through such as nice parks, bridges, riversides, or possibly attractions that can be run by and appreciated from the outside while visiting new cities possibly to lose calories before a visit to a local bar or restaurant suggested by an app like Foursquare where they will check-in using Facebook. This app is available for iOS and Android, thanks to Flutter. Yeah, it is a Flutter location-based app. In other words, the future may lie in apps combining a lot of these concepts pioneered by giants such as Nike running, Tripadvisor, and Facebook, resulting in fantastic hybrid versions that a lot of people will find to be great solutions.
The same principle can be used to pinpoint other suitable locations:
- Weather apps
This app can help to check the weather forecast in a particular area for whatever purpose users might need to check the weather for reference.
- On-demand delivery
This type implies the delivery of different services – barbers, food, babysitters, neighbors, etc. A geolocation feature helps to find the required service fast and easily as it shows the results of available options near you at any given moment in time.
- Social network and messengers
A geolocation feature can be used in different ways if we talk about social networking. Users can share their geolocation, mark it on their posts, check into places, mark themselves as safe in the face of troubling events such as terrorist attacks or other morbidities such as severe natural disasters, etc.
Location-Based Messaging App
We used geolocation in Sparkle – Social Instant Chat that enables users to create and join public chats with people nearby. This mobile app is a location-based messaging tool that locates all active users in the same area and connects them via chat. Besides, Sparkle allows users to set the radius within which the location-based chatting will be available to others by using geolocation technology.
Additional applications for radius feature in location-based apps:
- Live Video Streaming App that will allow users to find watch what’s happening nearby. More on live streaming app development, you can find here.
- Local Parties Finder for travelers and those who are looking for night activities.
- Support Groups & Sponsor Finder for disabled people or people with addiction who urgently need a hand of help.
Location-Based Application for Travelers Example
This is probably the most obvious example of an industry that relies heavily on geolocation technology. There is literally no booking, sightseeing, guiding app that doesn’t take advantage of geolocation. But even in such a highly competitive and crowded market, there do exist some untouched or undersaturated niches.
So, just for a change, let’s take a look at the platform that targets a more luxurious audience – Sea Guide – TripAdvisor for the Yachting World. We’ve made the LBS platform essentially a crowd-sourced destination, a rating-based guide for people who enjoy taking time off on the water such as yacht lovers.
What sets this platform apart from others is its extensive and easy mapping functionality that helps users quickly add new sites, yacht locations, and services. Those people familiar with the yachting world will appreciate the possibility of adding precise GPS Coordinates of their boat with exact Latitude and Longitude coordinates in place. A similar feature can also be included in an Uber for Services (Boats App) that we described in detail in our Startup App Ideas Series.
Photo Location Finder App
Sometimes it’s hard to find a place even if you have a picture of it. The easiest way is to search by picture through Google. Sadly, this is not going to work if you have a photo of the bar’s interior.
It turns out that making such a location-based app may be a great tool for both HoReCa advertisers and visitors. The advertisers could use this app to locate happy customers’ photos, and customers may count on gifts from restaurants and cafes for check-ins like this used to be in the Foursquare app. This is a mutually beneficial idea for both – business owners and their clients.
Health and Fitness apps
According to the study by NYU Langone Medical Center, 58% of U.S. smartphone owners downloaded at least one health or fitness app onto their phones, which makes this kind of solution extremely promising in terms of financial benefit for your business, it’s better to join a blossoming industry late than never enter it at all.
Integrated geolocation in such applications helps users to track their workouts, patterns, and of course, progress. Sports-lovers may, for example, take advantage of GPS data to build and monitor their walking, cycling, and running routes, as well as record other activities like swimming. If you think this idea through and bring it to a logical conclusion by developing a real working software, you can create a rather holistic solution that will potentially attract hundreds of athletes to the product. You can add features for searching for and pairing running partners that are in close proximity to one another, looking for a place to grab a bite of healthy food after the gym, outdoor running session, or another workout, etc.
It’s always nice to know what weather to expect for the day in your area, it helps you to plan your attire for the day and help you decide whether to keep an umbrella handy or not. Geolocation is hence a useful feature to have with your weather app, a must-have feature of any weather application, particularly for those who are constantly moving around and traveling.
Besides current conditions, such apps may show short-term forecasts, for instance, for the next day or week, as well as send alerts about impending storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, or just upcoming heavy rainfall to be mindful of. This allows users to get push notifications about unfavorable weather conditions before they happen and be prepared, staying ahead of the surprises mother nature might have in store for them.
Most IoT solutions have GPS functionality integrated into them, so the list of options is almost endless. For instance, if you’ve always dreamt of contributing to the intelligently-built society you live in, you can make your city or community smarter by developing a mobile app that monitors traffic, parking, vehicles, and cargo via wireless sensors.
Another idea is to create an application for smartwatches, which are skyrocketing in popularity nowadays. This can, for example, be a fitness app or app for running or cycling, which are users’ favorite choices.
Features of the location-based app
Geolocation APIs for Mobile Apps
What is a map API? The Map API provides location intelligence for software developers building location-based products and services. It is an essential building block for location-aware applications, rich maps, and geographic data retrieval.
Essentially, there are four Google Maps APIs to choose from, depending on the requirements and features that you want to have in your mobile app. You can take one or use every one of them if you have new ideas for GPS applications.
- Google Maps API displays the map itself and allows you to change the color scheme, hide labels, use a different road density, and switch between sites. Also, you can now create a custom map style so that the map will fit your branding.
- Google Places API. It grants access to the detailed and categorized database of 100 million places.
- Google Maps Directions API. According to the latest survey, 58% of U.S. adult smartphone owners use their devices to look up their directions. Along with directions, this API allows users to choose transportation mode or take multiple modes.
- Google Distance Matrix API. It estimates travel time and distance based on a user’s destination, traffic condition, and suggested routes.
All of these Google Maps APIs have dedicated versions for Web, Android, and iOS.
Stage of building a location-based app
Here comes a question: how to start the development of a location-based app in your business/industry and successfully launch it? We created a short guide on where, with what tools and how to build it.
Do your research and due diligence on the market
Before choosing the area or beginning developing your location-based app, make sure that it is worth the effort and recognized. Find out about common features, functionality, set of services, designs, and other options about competitors’ apps. The next step is to compare them, reveal weak sides, and transform them into strong sides in your solution. You also need to define your target audience, research their interests, and if your app would be useful to them.
Choosing a reliable tech partner
The second step is to search for a reliable tech partner who will satisfy your requirements in the app accurately and deliver highly qualified services. Check their portfolio if they had experience in developing location-based apps before and if the launches were successful.
Before choosing the required technologies, you, along with Business Analysts, need to define critical challenges and features that will need to be included in your application. As part of the process, developers will also pick out the appropriate technology stack to be used in the development.
Level of security
Security is a crucial feature in location-based apps. All users have to be sure that their data is protected from scammers when they let the app use their geolocation. It is also important to consult with the team you chose about the importance of this safety net and how it will be ensured. Usually, all bugs and errors are revealed when the application is at the testing stage.
The Future of LBS Mobile Technology
As we become more accustomed to our smartphones, the future of LBS apps will change. These apps are reaching well beyond the “check-in” abilities of Foursquare and Facebook, and well past using Google Maps to guide you to your destination.
Geofencing, in-store mapping, and location-based advertisements have all seen their time to shine recently. These marketing and user experience initiatives all have a bright future ahead of them as more businesses, retailers, restaurants, and service providers continue to adopt LBS technology into their mobile apps. LBS features will allow businesses to provide relevant content and improve a user’s in-app experience.
From “going” to gaming, and from ordering to consuming, LBS technology improves the functionality of many mobile apps. Without these LBS features, most of the available mobile apps would not be as widely downloaded and used as they are today.
A geolocation feature is an invaluable technology that must be added to the development of most types of apps. It has its own benefits when used in apps created in different industries and sectors like healthcare, marketplace, media, travel, etc. Some of these sectors and industries are obvious and evident, like taxis, map services, sports, food delivery, and even dating. However, the reality is that in this day and age, most modern applications are location-based as it helps users find information about upcoming events, meetings, local news or updates, etc. All they have to do is turn on the geolocation and follow the latest news in their neighborhood, opting into updates in the form of notification alerts if they so wish. If you already have an idea for a location-based application or you think that the development of this kind of app can make your business more profitable, contact us. Our Business Analysts will help you research the market of the apps that form the competitive landscape and build a business strategy for your own impregnable solution.