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GPS app development for tracking devices: Use cases and best practices

February 11, 2022
7 min
 GPS app development

It is expected that the global market volume for GPS tracking devices will reach more than $2 billion in 2022. The projected CAGR during the period 2022–2028 is 9%, which means that the market size has every chance to hit $3.4 billion by 2028. Though it’s too early to speak about skyrocketing growth, this positive trend means rising demand for geolocation app development services among businesses of various types and sizes. 

The global GPS tracking device 
market volume forecast

In this article, we’ll share our knowledge and experience with building GPS apps and reveal one important secret that will help you reduce development costs

Geolocation app use cases

The expansion of the GPS tracking device market can be explained by the increasing interest in using such technologies in many industries. Below are just a few of the many potential uses for tracking apps and multi-functional solutions with geolocation features.

  • Logistics and delivery tracking
  • Pet tech (you can read more about software solutions for pets and their owners in one of our previously published articles about the growing demand for pet apps)
  • Manufacturing process management (we’ve shared our insights related to this sphere in the blog post devoted to the role of IoT in manufacturing)
  • Care for elderly people and children 
  • Car and bike rental services
  • Fitness and physical activity monitoring (you can find more details about such solutions in this article about IoT in the fitness industry)
  • Geofence solutions

It’s practically impossible to enumerate all the spheres where tracking apps could be of great use. This field is constantly expanding. And it’s highly likely that, right now, some developers are working on a completely new GPS-powered solution that will rock the market in the future.

Types of tracking devices

As many industries use GPS tech these days, it’s obvious that these devices can be put to many different purposes. As a result, there are various types of trackers.

1. Portable trackers. These devices are usually very compact and wireless. You can place them in a backpack or attach them to your pet’s collar. These trackers can be used for monitoring the location of pets, bags, children and elderly people.

2. In-dash devices. Such devices are intended for being mounted on dashboards in vehicles and are used for tracking cars’ locations. One of the key benefits of this type of tracker is that you don’t need to worry about losing or misplacing it, as it’s permanently fixed in the right place.

3. Cycling and fitness trackers. Usually, such tracking devices have a wristwatch-like design and are used by runners, walkers, and cyclists. Very often these trackers have other activity-related features. For example, they can calculate your steps, calories burned and show the distance you’ve covered.

4. GPS trackers for motorcycles. These are similar to those mounted in cars but are typically a different size and, as a rule, are built to be especially resistant to vibration and fully waterproof.

5. Marine GPS devices. These trackers are usually used by governmental and military authorities on sea vessels. Such devices are enriched with advanced functionality such as sound signal detection, a marine database and others.

The modern market is full of various offerings and companies through which to order ready-made devices from China. The main reason for choosing these is financial feasibility, as it’s significantly cheaper to buy a standard device instead of creating your own. 

However, you need to bear in mind that when you have a ready-made device it will be compatible only with particular apps and software. To use a tracker with your custom software solution, your app should be built in accordance with some set requirements and parameters.

Tips for development of a geolocation app

Of course, the development of feature-rich GPS app solutions fully from scratch can be rather expensive and time-consuming. To reduce the time and investment required for such apps, today there are many ready-made services that can be integrated with your custom software.

The process of building an app today can be something like building a LEGO house, where you simply take various blocks and put them together. But it is important to choose high-quality, reliable blocks. Otherwise, your house won’t meet your expectations.

  • Maps. The brightest (and most obvious) example of such integrations is the usage of Maps APIs. Thanks to APIs already present in the market, there is no need to build maps on your own when you’re working on developing a GPS app solution.
  • Payments and business tools. There are lots of options for payment transactions (Google Pay, Apple Pay), payment processing (Stripe, Worldpay), shipping and tracking (Shippo, Shipstation), and other functions. The exact set of integrations that is feasible in your case will depend on the peculiarities and functionality of your app.
  • Backend. But there is one more solution that may seem not quite so obvious. We are talking about integrating a backend platform to reduce the volume of work for developers. One of the most reliable and innovative platforms to mention here is Flespi

It helps you not only to avoid spending extra time on coding but also to ensure seamless hardware integration. This platform offers a wide range of other capacities as well. For example, it is able to aggregate data sent by different devices, unify various formats and visualize huge volumes of data. Thanks to a rich toolset provided by the platform, a lot of tasks for developers are facilitated

Our experience in GPS App development

Our team has rich expertise in geolocation app development and working with software for tracking devices. So as to deliver advanced solutions of the highest quality for our customers, we always do our best to stay in tune with all the latest tech trends and tools. The security and convenience of end-users are always among the top priorities for us. And our successfully launched projects can prove this much better than words.

One of the most interesting apps that we’ve developed was StepUp Horse, an IoT solution for monitoring the vital statistics of race horses during training.

stepup horse

The client we worked with on this project was a company that designed wearable devices meant to be placed around the horse's torso. These devices are intended to measure factors such as breathing, heart rate, distance, and speed. We had to develop an application that would let trainers monitor data in real-time via their smartwatch. Users can also view training history and data statistics on their smartphones.

It is important that the app is able to accumulate not only data related directly to horses and their state but also about training conditions (weather, humidity, time, location) as well as training zones.  But that’s not the end of the app’s functionality. It can be also used to update the firmware of wearables via the Nordic Semiconductor DFU library. 

 Other solutions that we can’t help but mention were Android and iOS applications built for TeamZWATT, a company that, among other devices, develops power metering equipment for cyclists. This equipment is aimed at monitoring and evaluating race performance, as well as distributing power output within the whole distance of the race. 

teamzwatt

Our apps are intended for collecting and interpreting sensor data. They connect sensors to a smartphone using Bluetooth, store the received data locally, and also synchronize the data with the server. You can read more about this solution in our portfolio.

Speaking of using GPS in IoT, we can also mention another solution we developed for a company that sells GPS trackers. Our task was to build an app for ensuring simple and comfortable interaction with these devices. One of the main peculiarities of this project was that the company offers devices of different types, including some intended for monitoring the location of domestic livestock, vehicles, bags and people.

The app involved a lot of integrations necessary for ensuring the desired functionality, including APIs for payments, tracker representation on a map, and data exchange between devices.  Using ready-made services, our team managed to significantly reduce the time needed for development and, consequently, the costs.

Final thoughts

If you already have an idea for a GPS app or are just thinking about the possibility of launching a project that will require having software with geolocation features, Cogniteq could be just the right team to help you. We are always open to new projects and will be happy to become your reliable IT partner. Just fill in the form available on our website and our experts will contact you as soon as possible