A Geolocation-enabled Mobile App – Basics You Should Know

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Posted: December 21, 2017

Today, location is accessed by several apps to list down results that match our requirements. Consider a movie ticket application, it detects user’s location to show results of movie theaters in the vicinity. Same is the case with a deal or a coupon mobile app that accesses your location to present you offers in your neighborhood rather than for a place which you’d probably never visit.

Geolocation feature has also become an integral part of social media apps as well – allowing you to check-in at places or a location with your friends. Further, it is used by apps like Uber, Google Maps and more to take you to your destination without worrying about the route and traffic. Because the best route gets selected considering traffic and time of travel. Geolocation mobile apps cater the purpose of detecting the physical location and guiding you all the way to your desired place.

But how does this work? For you to understand this you need to first know what is geolocation technology?

Geolocation Technology. It is used to identify and estimate the real geographic location of the Internet-connected device. This technology has opened a gateway to new concepts and new ideas that could not have been possible without it. The integration of geolocation technology in mobile apps has enabled businesses to devise smarter marketing and customer acquisition strategies.

How does Geolocation Mobile App work?

Using geolocation technology, communication is setup between the smartphone, which comes with GPS (Global Positioning System) as a stock feature and the satellite. Geolocation based mobile app thus establishes a seamless interaction funnel between the two, gathering location data at different instants of time. The gathered location helps in determining the behavior of the moving object or the person, which can be used to devise ground-breaking growth strategies for business.

Technologies used during the course of location estimation include

Geofencing

It is used to determine how close the Internet-connected device is to a specific place or point. It uses device’s GPS to estimate the same. Not only this as it can yield out results about device’s presence (indoors or outside/just arrived or left). This type of data is often used by apps to offer personalized deals and coupons to their customers. There are three types of geofencing triggers, static, dynamic and combined – based on user’s position relevant to a specific place, based on user’s position on the changing data stream and based on user’s position relevant to other devices in its vicinity respectively.

Wi-Fi

Wi-fi determines the location of the device more accurately than any other medium. It does it by RSSI (Receive a Signal Strength Indication) or by scanning the frequently visited places of users which are on Wi-Fi networks. The data is accurate within two meters.

Cell ID

When the GPS server is down, the location of the device can be determined by cell towers of the mobile network to which the device last communicated.

GPS

Today, almost every smartphone comes with integrated GPS. It captures the location and timing sent via satellite, which is then confirmed and made sure by at least four satellites.

Related Article: How Much It Costs to Build a Navigation App Like Waze.

Geolocation feature used by applications

The feature is currently very prominent as each app requires location data to offer personalized deals to their customers or for other use cases. Considering the app categories featuring geolocation, there are plenty of them including maps and navigation like Google Maps & Waze, weather forecast apps like Yahoo Weather, social mobile apps like Facebook, Instagram & Snapchat, on-demand services like Uber & Postmates, fitness apps like Runtastic & Moves.
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Privacy is hindered

Despite an array of benefits that location-based mobile apps bring to the table, there exist privacy concerns. Businesses access your location to devise better marketing strategies and push relevant information to your device. However, this aspect of business raises several eyebrows related to security and privacy of user data. Although applications seek your permission before accessing your location or different personal fields, consequences of that data being shared are still known to the end users. Hence, it is crucial for businesses to make their users aware of the confidentiality of data accessed and it is not being shared with third-party companies for making money.

Concluding words

Geolocation-enabled mobile apps offer a tremendous range of possibilities to businesses of all domains. Knowingly or unknowingly, geolocation has become an integral part of a mobile application- changing the way businesses interact with their customers. Consider including this feature in your next app for improved targeting and better marketing.

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