Most modern-day devices have location information features that you may not think about much but use every day quite a bit. Geolocation and/or Global Positioning Systems (GPS) refers to the ability to pinpoint the current position of a device, such as a mobile phone, in terms of latitude/longitude, street addresses, or other geographic coordinates.
There are several ways that this technology works to provide a user’s position, namely, positioning satellites, IP addresses, cell towers, and WiFi networks. We all use these location data features in a variety of apps, most traditionally with Google Maps and other map services.
We’ve compiled a list of the most innovative uses of geolocation data in mobile apps and how this feature can work for your app development plans.
If you want to be truly innovative, you can take a few tips from this driving map service. The practice of taking basic everyday mobile apps that we all use and adding key features that provide solutions to pain points that arise through repetitive use is a very sound practice.
Any factory-installed mapping app that comes with your device can get you from point A to point B, but Waze incorporated crowdsourced information into the dynamic world of driving. Drivers can report accidents, construction, and even speed traps that are integrated in real-time to live maps with your current position, letting commuters take alternate routes on the fly.
It also has social capabilities, where you can connect with drivers that take similar routes and share shortcuts or delays. There’s even a carpool feature where users can organize shared rides. Waze is a prime example of reimagining the mundane everyday map service app.
Everyone likes to play games with mobile apps. From the user standpoint, making a virtual scavenger hunt a social event only adds to the fun, where you can meet up with friends or discover new ones.
Also, because of the opportunities available, local businesses and brands will want to get in on the action, as it offers incredible exposure and recognition. Additionally, organizations that value engagement and group activities – like corporations, conferences, tourist boards, and universities – will want to take advantage of such an inclusive and fun activity.
This goes way beyond a lighthearted group activity. Scavify uses geolocation data and location sharing and combines it with social and business interests to automate a valuable activity that most businesses traditionally paid event planners big money to organize. When you have an app that users, organizations, and brands all want in on, consider it a success.
As with the Waze app above, Bizzy has taken a concept, not unlike Yelp or Groupon, and truly focused on the User’s Experience. Yelp and Groupon have figured out that peer-focused review sites and discount coupons have now become resources to recommend things to do and places to go for the casual user.
Bizzy has taken it one step further by asking the individual user-specific questions every time they open the app and guiding recommendations based on the answers and their current position. We’ve talked about how millennials are usually quite willing to offer up tremendous amounts of personal information to further personalization within an app. Information that most businesses pay various data miners and agencies to attain.
Asking informative questions and receiving voluntary answers is pure data gold, so plenty of thought needs to be given when crafting these inquiries. If it’s done well and processed correctly, this app will serve as a personal concierge for every type of user. Bizzy even reinforces its efforts with follow-up emails to ensure that the user has given all the information needed.
With all the great new retail apps out there, why would we feature Target as an innovative geographic location app? Well, it’s instructive to look at Target’s place in the retail app marketplace and how they could possibly improve on the store that seems to have everything. We’ve all seen the typical results of a Target run, go in for a few things, end up making a bunch of impulse buys, and spending way more time and money there than you intended to.
So, as great as the in-store experience may be, Target wanted to create a feature that utilized a user’s current position. Through the app, you can shop and select your items, apply discounts, and buy everything. Then, when your current location indicates you’re close, a Target employee will run out and load up your purchases right when you pull in.
Getting exactly what you want (and no more!) when you want it and having it personally delivered to your car is a good example of diving deeper into the user’s needs and solving them with a user’s location data.
In addition to the factory-installed mapping feature, most new devices also have a basic weather app on their home screen that relies on location information such as latitude and longitude. However, the outdoor planner and weather nerd in all of us wants something more, both for our local neighborhood and for any travel we may do.
Dark Sky uses a user’s position to pinpoint location and multiple weather services to provide hyper-local forecasts down to the minute, as well as long-term forecasts. More casual users will appreciate the push notifications that warn of sudden precipitation coming in, and those who choose to dive deeper have a wide variety of beautiful radar and satellite maps to examine.
Again, listening to what users want out of their everyday basic apps and tweaking it the way they want is a great tactic to engineer a truly desirable app. Keeping it hyper-local and responsive is really the only way to improve on a weather app, and Dark Sky delivers.
Apps that can utilize location data can provide hyper-local, helpful services to their users. While it may seem like a difficult task to take advantage of latitude and longitude or geographic location, it is not. There are a ton of geolocation APIs that you can plug into your app to extend location data features.
Other important location information such as altitude accuracy can be implemented through a geolocation API too. There are ways to improve upon standard map services like Google Maps. Utilizing a user’s position can help you offer detailed local offers and specific incentives and deals to nearby users.
Geolocation objects and browser support can help you turn a basic app idea into the next successful, helpful mobile application that users love to use.
If you need help with your mobile app, speak with an app development partner. They’ll help you find the best geolocation API for your app and help you turn basic location information and geolocation data into a stunning service.