Creating an App With Maps: a Few Tips And a Shortcut
It’s virtually impossible to find a person who wouldn’t have at least one map app in their smartphone. Google Maps has been installed over a billion times. Uber and Waze — over 100 million each. And that’s only the numbers provided by Google Play Store!
Now, since you’re here, you probably have an idea of your own map app, but don’t know where to start, and have certain concerns about the project’s level of complexity. Yes, developing an application with maps can be challenging, but there is a shortcut which you can take. Keep reading to discover what we are talking about and to learn a few extra tips on creating such an app.
What Features Your App May Have
Before we will tell you everything about the shortcut, let us give you a brief introduction to the world of applications with maps. So, here is a list of features you may want to equip your product with:
Providing users with optimal directions to their destination is virtually a must-have feature. Let’s imagine that your app is devoted to tourist attractions in Brussels. It gives the information about them and shows them on the map, but is not able to identify the user’s location and inform them how to get there. Will such an app become popular among tourists? Will it solve their problems? No, but the navigation feature could save the situation.
This feature will be especially useful if your app is related to passenger transport. For example, push notifications can inform users that their taxi or bus has just arrived.
Road conditions change regularly, so it would be great if your app provided users with real-time updates about accidents, traffic jams, repairs and closures of the roads, and so on. This feature can significantly improve user experience and make your product more attractive in comparison to its competitors. Waze can be a great example here — it is users who are responsible for updates there, so the road conditions are always relevant.
If you want your users to be able to update information about the road conditions in real time, you will have to give them an opportunity to register and create their profiles. It will also be useful to let them exchange messages.
Only in the United States, one out of four accidents happens because of texting while driving. To make usage of your app safer for drivers and more convenient for pedestrians, equip it with a voice recognition feature.
Price calculator and in-app payment
That’s another feature related mostly to taxis, and we highly recommend to add it in case you are working on an app like Uber.
Obviously, this list is not ultimate, as we don’t know exactly what your project is about. However, it can help you to understand map apps better and to shape your idea.
What Experts You Will Need
Every project requires a professional team behind, and yours is not an exception. Here are some experts you will probably have to look for:
Designer. That’s evident, but we will still mention this — your app has to deliver a great user experience, which is impossible without an amazing design. If your application is inconvenient to use and unpleasant to look at, it will have no chances for success.
Front-end developer. This expert will implement all the visual and interactive elements of your app.
Back-end developer. Having this professional on your team is crucial — they are responsible for the integration of the front-end parts and server-side web application logic. They also write web services and APIs (or Application Programming Interfaces).
QA engineer. Their responsibilities include creating detailed test plans and test cases, and coordinating quality testing activities.
QA tester. Obviously, this is a person who executes the test cases developed by the QA engineer.
Industry expert. It is essential to hire such a professional in case you don’t have deep knowledge about the subject. An industry expert will help you to develop the most efficient strategy.
Another important thing to mention is that you need people with relevant experience in developing map applications. Such apps tend to be pretty complex, so workers who are not experienced enough will make a lot of mistakes. Fixing them will take extra time and funds, and you can go beyond your budget and miss all the deadlines. What is worse, your project may even fail. Hiring professionals with specific experience will allow you to avoid these dangers, so we recommend you to be very careful and attentive when looking for a team.
How to Take a Shortcut
If you like horror movies, you know that taking a shortcut is always a bad idea. However, this rule doesn’t really work with map apps — there is a shortcut which you take absolutely safely! And we will share it with you right now.
So, writing code for a map app from the scratch can take years, that’s why no one does this. There is even no need to start from zero — using Google Maps API to build your own app is a much easier and more efficient way. It will save your time, funds and efforts.
But this way is not the only one. OpenStreetMap is a great alternative to Google Maps, as it is more detailed and relevant. The thing is that the data for updates is provided by numerous people from all over the world. And now we are talking not only about professional cartographers — any person can contribute after creating an account. Besides, OpenStreetMap is absolutely free to use, the only condition is to specify the copyright (and using Google Maps API doesn’t have such an advantage!).
And here is the shortest way you can take — to cooperate with us and use OsmAnd for your application. OsmAnd is built on the basis of the OpenStreetMap database and offers offline maps and navigation. In turn, we are an exclusive partner of OsmAnd, and we perfectly know how their code works. Thanks to this knowledge, we will save time on map implementation and focus on developing your app’s features. As a result, we will deliver your application at least three times faster than other companies.
Does such a shortcut sound interesting to you? Then don’t hesitate to contact us via the form below.