Olya Bohun · Tech Enthusiast

The Ultimate Guide to Building Navigation App

The Ultimate Guide to Building Navigation App

First, look at these numbers:

The figures show that rising concerns about global challenges with traffic congestion, getting around in an unfamiliar area or searching for an optimal route open up excellent opportunities to turn a navigation niche into an everlasting business.

People go mobile, and it applies both to their movements and gadgets. There’s no more fear of getting lost in a new city or country, as there’s always a phone with a whole world mapped in their hands. For the audience to fall in love with your solution, you have to provide them with a perfectly built app for quick and easy navigation. And Brainbean Apps will teach you how to develop one at minimum time and resources.

Step 1: Outlining Core Navigation App Features

##GPS Navigation

GPS navigation is the essential function of your planned app. It allows creating several routes to a given destination point and defining the optimal one, as well as warning about heavy-traffic areas and toll roads.

Additionally, an app may calculate an estimated time of arrival for drivers, as smartphone sensors and GPS data track driving speed. A welcome option might be the ability to set up speed limits and get alerted when exceeding them. For better UI/UX you’d better let users jump between 2D and 3D map views and depict traffic situations with special icons for accidents, road repairs and police.


Real-time updates about traffic jams or accidents are extremely valuable for smooth driving experience with the help of your application. When users get timely and accurate notifications about on-road situations, they have chances to change the route and reach their destinations without any unexpected hassle.


Let users connect to their friends, create communities and share insights via Facebook or Foursquare. Apart from the satellite data, integrating add-ons will also let an application gather on-road information directly from users to compare traffic activity and monitor path hazards. Encourage real-time communication for mutual assistance in social media. It will help drivers connect and confirm the reported issues, as well as promote your application at the same time. Win-win!

To provide such an online interaction, you may choose WebSockets technology that enables two-way communication between a user and a server.

Step 2: Collecting Geolocation Data


GPS stands for Global Positioning Systems, meaning connected satellites scattered on the geostationary orbits and receivers built in every smartphone today. These factors allow to determine the device location pretty accurately with no internet connection required.

Plus, pay attention to the assisted GPS (A-GPS) technology that augments usual positioning with cellular and Wi-Fi geolocations. A-GPS allows to reach higher degree of accuracy, though, it’s important to note that it drains the battery faster than a usual GPS sensor.


Wi-Fi ensures correct, stable and rigorous data transmission, utilizing less battery load. The only pitfall is to search for an open access point with a powerful signal. But if you access it, the Wi-Fi signal can point out the location of the device.

Cell ID

One of the traditional ways of detecting the smartphone location is by signals of the connected cellular base station. As this method depends on the radio signals of the mobile operator, it can get weaker in non-favorable weather conditions or with a big amount of phones.


iBeacon can collect the geolocation data inside the building and help users navigate in extensive areas and constructions. This technology gives more value to retailers, as soon as beacons can use geo-targeted alerts to attract a more promising audience and create contextual experiences in an area where they are installed.

To make the technology work, you’ll need to equip the building with sensors that will detect human presence nearby and collect the data to trigger informational experiences. Beacons gather information and transform it into an actionable message. Serving well for an indoor navigation app, it requires powerful device connectivity within Wi-Fi or Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), for example.

Step 3: Implementing Main Functions

To develop a navigation app fully packed with the essential geolocation features, you need to provide integration through APIs. This effective method helps to focus main resources on coding the application’s logic apart from creating maps and coordinating objects.

You need to connect platform-dependent APIs to detect device coordinates, draw maps and display user location on them.


To get started with the GPS features on Android app, you may turn to Google Maps API, Android.Location and the MapView class. Including the crucial navigation features like defining user’s position, it also reacts to changes in location in real-time, calculates distances and notifies in targeted areas.

And one more thing to do — install the appropriate Google Apps libraries for the Android platform to support Google Maps API.


To track the iOS device location you need Google Maps Geolocation API, iOS Maps or Core Location API. Each of these methods is accurate and functional enough but with different battery consumptions. By the way, iOS Maps is leading in draining batteries fast.

Step 4: The Optimal Variant

The smartest way to build a navigation app is with the help of a free and open-source system — OpenStreetMap.

Take OsmAnd, for example, an offline navigation and map application based on OSM. App’s set of features include offline and online modes, turn-by-turn voice management, on-road traffic alerts and notifications, ETA, user’s position display, quick search by addresses and geo coordinates. OsmAnd adapts to every user, allowing them to save favorite places, pinpoint places of interest, display place names in English, local or phonetic spelling.

Being OsmAnd’s exclusive partners and helping to develop their product, Brainbean Apps has a unique expertise of aligning OSM with the required functionality. Today, our experts work on several map and navigation projects, leveraging the best practices of cooperation with OsmAnd and their app development. Brainbean Apps specialists already know how to modify the existing OsmAnd code to map data-driven routes, for example, or provide geolocation data from external sources like self-driving cars.

Customizing OsmAnd up to different business requirements, Brainbean Apps can save a tremendous amount of time and money on the development of an app architecture from scratch.

The Last But Not the Least

Sometimes you just don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Building a navigation app is exactly such a case. To fit time and budget constraints, it might be useful to leverage the successful experience of the previously built projects, instead of wasting time creating new, usually cumbersome solutions.

Don’t hesitate to turn to Brainbean Apps for a consultation or customized navigation app solution. Get the most out of our rich expertise to avoid challenges and pitfalls on your way to rolling out a top-notch app.

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