How to develop a geolocation feature for mobile apps?
Geolocation technology helped startups grew into successful businesses. Also, it changed the state of things for existing services and products on the market. Location-based applications have influenced the coexistence of companies and their clients. But how geolocation works and where can it be used?
In this article, we are going to cover the types of GPS locating apps and how to make a location-based application.
Types of mobile apps that exploit geolocation
Maps and Navigation
Usually, such apps have a voice directions option, combined with traffic reports and offline maps. Apart from never getting lost, you will be able to reach the place of destination quickly.
Also, these applications can track the distance that was covered, which is useful for fleet management.
Places' descriptions and recommendations
Weather apps are absolute leaders in the usage of geolocation among users.
Health and fitness
Social networks and dating services
Technologies applies for developing an app with geolocation
So let's take a closer look at these ways for determining one's precise location.
Even though GPS involved a lot of complex technology, the overall concept is simple. GPS receiver gets a signal from each GPS satellite that transmits the precise time the signals were sent.
GPS tells how far the signal is coming from every satellite by subtracting the time when the signal was transmitted from the time it was received. Also, GPS receives satellites position in the sky at the moment of sending the signal. Therefore, if the GPS receiver knows the travel time of each GPS signal from every satellite and their position, it can determine the exact position of the object according to three dimensions: east, north, and altitude.
However, there is a small problem. The GPS receivers need to know the time very accurately to calculate the exact amount of time it took for GPS signal to arrive. Despite that GPS satellites are equipped with an atomic clock that shows precise time, GPS receivers are not. Thus, if there is a signal from the fourth satellite, GPS receiver can determine the precise time without an atomic clock.
In the case when GPS receiver can get signals only from 3 satellites, it will be possible to get the location, only a less accurate one.
However, while this system is going to work just fine for an urban area with lots of cell towers, that is not the case for the rural area where there is one or no towers for several kilometers.
Wi-Fi can help determining your precise location in two ways:
Received signal strength indication uses the signal your phone detects from the closest access points and checks with a database of Wi-Fi networks. It provides information on where each identified access point is located. With the help of signal strength, RSSI finds where you are in relation to access points.
2. Wireless fingerprinting
It uses profiles of the places based on the pattern of Wi-Fi signals around them. It suits the best for the place that is often visited by a smartphone user. The fingerprint is a so-called digital trace your device leaves the first time you go to that place. They can trace your location down to just a few meters. Scary, right?
We recommend developing native applications for each platform if you want it to work flawlessly.
Security and Privacy
A lot of everyday users refuse to provide access to their location fearing harm or persuasion. Many stalker victims have suffered due to over-sharing their personal whereabouts, which makes the secrecy of user's location an important issue.
If the business wants to make the user choose their location-based applications, then it has to provide guarantees that this information would not be shared with any third-parties and that it is safely stored.
Location-based applications help businesses and brands tackle their engagement strategy to cover as many customers as possible. Use the location-based application to your benefit and offer your clients what they need at the right place at the right time.
Remember to ensure that your customers' location is safe, and your app will rock!