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What Geolocation Technology to Choose for Your App

What Geolocation Technology to Choose for Your App

team
Thunderrise

There are dozens of features available for an app nowadays, and identifying location is quite high up on the relevancy list.

Mobile tech industry is growing everyday and users pretty much don’t let go of their phones. This handy device is their aid in majority of situations, and they rely on applications significantly to improve their phone’s performance.

Finding the needed destination, the shortest route or the closest ATM - if you are a smartphone user, you have most likely used geolocation on your device and it might have saved you in an emergency. Location-based technology is an essential and sometimes even necessary addition to majority of applications. For instance, it can be a banging additional feature as in Snapchat, however, it is a core for navigation apps like Google Maps or HERE WeGo.

Do you have a question?

There’s a good deal of techniques for implementing location-based features on the market. We are going to look upon three foremost ones: GPS, Wi-Fi and Beacon.

GPS

Outdoor Environment

As of now, Global Positioning System (GPS) is the most widespread and efficient way of outdoors localization.

Originally launched by the U.S. Department of Defence, GPS is a space-based radionavigation system. It locates your position on Earth using satellites that connect to your receiver device.  

GPS is often erroneously associated with triangular concept of receiving data, however there is no angular measurement involved. GPS receives your location data with trilateration method.

There are three satellites with specified positions in space. They do not measure angles, but they do measure the distance. Therefore, there appears a circle derived from each satellite, equal in all directions. The point where all three circles overlap is the exact location you are looking for. As the GPS receiver changes the position, circle radii adjust.

GPS is a great solution for outdoor use, yet it is pretty much helpless indoors. The signal tends to enervate and strew reaching walls and ceilings. What is more, GPS isn’t too sparing to your battery life.


Beacon

Indoor Environment

Beacons are a framework of indoor location. They are tiny Bluetooth transmitters that catch other devices’ signals and indicate distance to them. They do not track the device, but broadcast a letter-number code approximately 10 times per second so it can connect to the transmitter. What happens next depends on what you have programmed your application to do, the beacon’s function is connecting the app to your current location.

It started with device being able to detect just one closest beacon, but now it expanded to device being able to detect several beacon located thereabout.

Beacons use Bluetooth to connect to devices. It allows them to cover wide audience as up to 90% of smartphones have Bluetooth in them.

Beacon supports Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), which reduces battery usage even more.

Apple and Android have their own beacon protocols - iBeacon and Eddystone correspondingly.
In-App Geolocation

Wi-Fi

Indoor Environment

Wi-Fi location tracking is the most efficient way of determining one’s position indoors. It is more accurate than beacons and covers larger area. It is a great choice when GPS isn’t functioning well indoors.

However, it isn’t the safest one referring client’s privacy. Wi-Fi basically tracks your location even if the GPS is off, which didn’t turn out to be every user’s cup of tea and some big companies even got sued. The answer to the problem was enabling users to accept or decline taking part in the anonymous data collecting.

The technology applied isn’t too complicated - GPS mechanism on your device indicates its location and the enabled Wi-Fi finds available nearby Wi-Fi network to connect to.

Do you have a question?

Best Candidates

Now we’re gonna name some buzzword applications so you get the idea that geolocation is implemented in most apps you use.

HERE WeGo

  • provides you with the best routes whatever the vehicle of your choice is, including taxi and carsharing
  • gives info about the situation on the roads so you don’t get stuck in traffic
  • allows to download a map of the city and use it without Internet connection

Foursquare City Guide

  • offers best restaurants, cafes, bars and much more to visit locally and worldwide
  • allows user feedback so you can pick a facility based on others’ experience
  • allows making lists of places you want to visit
  • check in sister app Foursquare Swarm

In-App Geolocation
HappyCow

  • vegan and vegeterian restaurant guide
  • submitting and viewing user feedback

Tinder

  • dating app that offers you to find a date in your whereabouts

Pokemon Go

  • world exploring game in which you get rewards for reaching specific locations

Location services are appearing in all different kinds of applications, since there are tons of ways to use it - from navigation to finding a date, as you can see above. What is more, audience has grown used to it, so neglecting such an opportunity is a drastic mishap.

If you have any questions left feel free to get in touch with us. Thunderrise Dev Team is at your service.