GPS tracker apps became a common part of our everyday life so fast that we didn’t even notice it. Nevertheless, every new year brings changes to the mobile world so we can’t call it static. Despite GPS tracking app development doesn’t seem very innovative in 2017, you still have chances to enter the market and get your share of profit. How? Read on to find out!

In this article, we are going to give you the only guide you need and discuss each key point for you to build your own GPS car tracking mobile application.

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How Do GPS Mobile Apps Work?

I bet the phrase “GPS Apps” sounds familiar to everyone. However, I also bet that only a few have more profound knowledge of this topic. Nevertheless, there is nothing too difficult.
A Guide on How to Make a GPS Car Tracking Mobile App
Global Positioning System (better known as GPS) is the most well-known locating technology. Why? It’s pretty accurate and easy to use. Moreover, it doesn’t require any special conditions to work (such as internet connection) since this feature is integrated into every modern smartphone.

Interesting Fact: wherever you are on the Earth, there are no less than 4 GPS satellites flying above you. Your device calculates the distance to every satellite by receiving radio signals and finds out a common point for all of them. That’s how your location is pinpointed.

However, the direct satellite signal isn’t the only tool which modern devices use to determine their geoposition. If you want to create a navigation app you can also use one of the following technologies:

  • Cell ID – Each smartphone is connected to a certain cell tower. This type of signal can be also used by devices to provide their owners with geolocation data. It’s a pretty good choice if you are targeting at urban residents, who live in the areas with a dense mobile connection.
  • Assisted GPS – It is a complex technology that uses both satellite and cellular signals to determine user’s location. It provides the most accurate data due to combining these 2 methods. However, this solution may be a nightmare of some modern smartphone owners since it consumes more energy than each of the methods separately.
  • Wi-Fi – Looking for another solution? Your device can collect all the necessary data right from the Internet! Despite it’s the least popular way to acquire geolocation data it may make some sense for users from megapolises. Why? Because they are the ones who have almost constant Internet access.

It seems we have reviewed all of the common technologies that are basic for any location-based app. However, the phrase “GPS tracking application” sounds too vague. For which kinds of apps can the car tracking feature be useful? Let’s discover it!

Top 3 Ideas for GPS Tracking App Development

Nowadays we can name at least a dozen kinds of apps that one way or another use geolocation services – Foursquare and Pokémon Go, Instagram and Tinder, Airbnb and eBay. Along with these applications, there are a number of others aimed at car tracking. Let’s take a look!

1. Uber-Like Apps

There is no need to introduce Uber since it may be the most popular example of sharing economy model. Car tracking makes up the core of the original Uber app which provides taxi services.

The way it works is pretty simple. Both drivers and riders are able to track the route from the point of dispatch to the destination as they move.
Uber-Like Apps
But there is one thing to consider. Uber is already an undeniable market leader in this field so competing with him doesn’t seem like a good and promising idea.

Instead, you can think about GPS tracking app development for trucks. This field is relatively new and there are not so many competitors right now. Moreover, it’s definitely going to be popular among users since it solves several crucial issues of the freight industry:

  • Firstly, such an app eliminates the intermediaries between truck drivers and customers providing them with the direct contact.
  • Secondly, drivers can constantly load their trucks with the new cargo and forget about the empty container repositioning problem.
  • Thirdly, customers can track their shipment all along the way.

Recommended: The Pros and Cons of Building an Uber-Like Application

Case Study: Cargomatic
Cargomatic is the Uber-like freight app operating in the USA. Using only their smartphones customers can arrange the whole carriage process: from choosing a driver to paying for a delivery. The app is also popular among local private shipping companies who use it to fill partly or fully empty trucks.

For this purposes two apps were developed: Cargomatic Shipper and Cargomatic Driver. The list of features that are available for shippers is wide enough and includes direct car tracking, sending photos, push notifications as well as several others items.

2. Navigation Apps

What type of applications are most commonly used by drivers? Navigation apps! They help us to find the shortest and fastest way to our destination point and often provide us with convenient voice instructions while we drive.

According to Statista, about 17.5% of Android users worldwide have downloaded at least 1 navigation app during 2016. This number may not sound so big, but it’s still impressive since Android has more users than all other operation systems altogether (including iOS).
Navigation Apps
When you think of GPS navigation app development for startup pay attention to the 2 key features:

  • Ability to determine driver’s geoposition.
  • Ability to build optimal routes between two or more points.

You may erroneously assume that the mobile market is overcrowded with navigation apps. It’s only half true. Even now developers manage to come up with creative ideas that subsequently receive a stunning success. And Waze app is a great example!

Case Study: Waze
Waze is not an ordinary GPS mobile app for drivers. It became well-known for a wide diversity of cool features that turn driving into an interactive and fascinating process.

The main app’s feature is its social element. Drivers themselves can update maps and inform others about any road issues – from car accidents and closures to police posts. It means you constantly have access to the latest traffic information.

Among other notable features there are:

  • Carpooling which is a pretty easy way to receive some remuneration by giving a lift to someone.
  • Gas stations’ ranking that shows you near-located places where you can buy the cheapest gasoline.
  • Planned drive which calculates the accurate departure time based on your destination and a number of other factors.

3. Food Delivery Apps

Do you know that about 50% of Americans use food delivery services at least once a week or even more often? That’s why a food ordering app development looks like a promising startup project.
Food Delivery Apps
Despite a car tracking feature is not the essential one, it’s still important:

  • Customers can use it to track their orders delivery in the real-time mode.
  • For couriers it can serve as a navigation app which guides them from a pickup location to a drop point.

As in the case with Uber-like apps here you should develop 3 (and not 2, pay attention) different versions:

  1. For customers.
  2. For delivery guys.
  3. For restaurant managers.

Case study: Postmates
Postmates was a pioneer in the food delivery field. Initially, the app was designed for moving all kinds of goods. However, as it turned out later, meals were the most demanded and profitable item on the list. This is the reason why we know Postmates as a classical example of food ordering app.

Postmates app provides customers with the ability to track couriers who are carrying their orders. Another useful feature is a built-in navigation system. It builds an optimal way between a pickup and destination points and guides contractors during the whole ride.

Development Process

The list of essential features will significantly depend on the type of app you decide to develop. Nevertheless, there are a number of basic elements that any app should have. Here they are:

  • Architecture Preparations
  • Libraries Integrations
  • Version Control System Configuration
  • Integration with Backend (API Client Implementation)
  • App Release (Deploying on App Store & Google Play)

However, if you are going to develop a mobile app with GPS location you shouldn’t forget about specific features. Among them are:

    • Location Detecting
    • Map Integration
    • GPS Coordinates
    • Route Searching

Tech Hints

Stormotion team would also like to share with you some technical hints that will ease development process for you:

  • Google Maps SDK proved itself as a convenient tool for map integration. If you decide to build an app with GPS tracking for iOS it’s possible to use Apple’s native MapKit for this purpose.
  • Routific API seems like a good tool for route optimization which is the essential feature for many drivers.
  • To provide your users with turn-by-turn instructions you can apply Google Maps Directions API. As an alternative, we can suggest you Skobbler SDK that adds to the app routing and turn-by-turn navigation.


It seems we have reviewed all the most significant issues that may occur during GPS tracking app development. Let’s once more underline three key steps in this process:

  1. It’s important to choose an appropriate business project that will be popular among users. Top 3 GPS app development ideas for startup are an Uber-like app, a navigation app and a food delivery app.
  2. After you came up with a business project make a list of essential features that you want to see in your app. This list will determine the cost of your application.
  3. Find a team and get to work!

We hope our article we encourage you to build an app with GPS tracking. Good luck!

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