Geolocation apps are ubiquitous in today’s digital service space. These apps use signals such as GPS, cellular tracking, WI-FI, GPS, and Bluetooth to find the location of electronic devices. By utilizing this service, it is possible to find the geographical positioning of people or objects.
They’re hundreds of applications today that feature this technology efficiently. But if you have ever considered building your own customized tracking app, then this short article should guide you through geolocation app development.
Factors to Consider for Geolocation App Development
Like any worthwhile endeavor, GPS software development requires careful planning and considerations before embarking on the project. Below are some crucial factors to consider before you try to make a geolocation app:
- Power optimization
- User Experience
- What platforms to use
- Fast connectivity
- The ability of the app to work offline or in a poor network environment
- Solving a user’s problem
Keep these in mind as we proceed to the steps on how to make a location-based map app as enumerated below:
STEP 1: Prototype > MVP > MFP
Coding is expensive. Before you commit any money to code, it is recommended that you, first of all, develop an interactive prototype — a representation of your app that can take basic input. This is to ensure that the idea for your app is technically feasible before you proceed.
They’re one of two ways that you can go about this:
Make an MFP Before the Prototype
If you’re planning to make a GPS-based app that features location awareness as its core functionality, then it is recommended that you begin your project by creating an MFP (Minimum Functional Prototype).
An MFP is a lightweight MVP that enables you to test the most critical function of your app before you proceed. For instance, if you want to make an app that helps people rendezvous at an agreed spot, by first making an MFP, you can decide whether or not to move on to the next stage depending on how well the key feature of the app is working.
Make the Prototype Before MFP
If, on the other hand, location awareness is not the primary feature of your app, then you can develop your prototype. After you’re done with the design of your MFP, you can proceed to design an MVP that’ll feature the rest of the app’s functionalities.
STEP 2: Create an MVP
To make an android app that uses GPS, the next thing to do after developing a working MFP is to create an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). At this stage of the app development process, your development team would do the bulk of the work, including coding and adding maps to your app. It is worth noting that Google Maps SDK works best for cross-platform apps.
STEP 3: Test Your Product
After your app is done, you want to test it extensively to ensure that it still works as well as (or better than) it did during the MFP development phase.
Testing a location tracking app is not going to be an easy ordeal: your QA people would need to walk around outdoors or indoors (if it is an indoor geolocation app) to confirm that mapping works well. But you should also be aware that accuracy is affected by several factors, including atmospheric conditions, satellite geometry, and receiver quality. So don’t expect 100% in your tests.
STEP 4: Release
When you’re satisfied with the outcome of your testing, you can proceed to release the app: simply upload the golden build of your app to Play and Apple Stores and wait for its approval. Once approved, your app will be live on the mobile app stores of your choice and available for download (or purchase). You can also release the app as a beta version if you want to run more tests on it.
STEP 5: Keep Your App Updated
Updating your app is very important. Apart from affirming to the users that your development team is working and listening to their complaints (if any), periodic updates keep your app on top of OS updates and new changes in map SDKs. Failing to update your app to allow these changes can cause some features to fail over OS or map SDK updates.
It is projected that by 2027, the market value of location-aware apps will reach $184 billion from $44 billion as of 2020. For this reason, amongst others, there is a high demand for people skilled in geolocation app development.
Whether you want to learn to develop geo apps professionally or want to design something that will serve you and your friends, you need to gather more information. Here’s a more detailed guide on how to build a location tracking app for you.