How to Create a GPS Navigation app Like Waze

GPS navigation nowadays has become an essential part of a daily routine of truckers, taxi drivers, bill collectors and ordinary drivers, as it is one of those technologies that firmly intrude in our lives so then we can’t imagine our daily occurrence without it.

Uber is an example of a GPS mobile application that rapidly caused agiotage both between iOS and Android users and within IT-community, making its developers rich and demanded. It provides so-called “rideshare drivers” with an opportunity to find fellow travelers that need to drive in the same direction thus drivers can reach the desired location and earn some money on the side. Uber helped many drivers to become sort of cabbies.

But today we’re gonna talk about another application called Waze that uses GPS technology to ease the life of the users and will review what is needed to develop a navigation app like Waze looking through some tips and ideas that would help to design a Waze app clone.

GPS Navigation app Like Waze

How Waze works?

Waze is a community-based navigation app supported on a voluntary basis by drivers themselves. The application gathers information about location and car speed to show current traffic situation in the particular area. It also builds best-optimized driving route taking into account time needed to reach a certain destination point and uses information about road dangers, traffic jams, car accidents, police posts and road closures that is published by other drivers. They can also attach a picture of the situation to their note.

The application logs this information and marks it on the map so there is no need for you to scan it every time you go through this area. As reported by users, Waze shows extra-fast real-time response and can draw route up in less than four seconds. The intuitive and nice-looking cartoon-like interface came to drivers’ taste and is told to be fast and user-friendly.

The crowdsourcing character of the application gives different developers a possibility to create their own add-ons to improve its functionality and add some useful features. For example, police tracking feature is an add-on to Waze. Among other interesting add-ons, there is also coupling with Facebook and Foursquare used to look through friends’ check-ins nearby and Ambert alert that can be automatically activated when the driver goes through place where the kidnapping was committed recently.

How works GPS navigation mobile app

What are the prospects for startup developers who intend to build a mobile app with GPS navigation

Statistics show that GPS navigation app development is one of the most prospective and rapidly growing niches on mobile app market. Gartner’s(advisory firm) research shows that in 2015 users have spent 54% more time on finding places, nearby events and checking navigation rather than in 2014.

The fact that Waze reached an agreement on mutual cooperation with the biggest Uber’s rival, Lyft, means that the great competition has started on mobile application market. Furthermore, Waze was purchased by Google in 2013 for the huge price of around a billion dollars and already had over 40 million registered users at that time! At the moment, Waze is ranked as 2nd app at the TOP-3 The Most Popular Navigation Apps, and the Google Maps is the first.

Advertisers are interested in cooperating with navigation apps owners because its audience is huge. An app like Waze makes money from location-based advertisements that are showed as the user approaches the promoted object. It’s needless to say that such useful mobile applications are a very profitable business when you found out that the application that has been on the market only for one year raises $1 million profit in that time.

Mobile app with GPS navigation

How much does it cost to develop a native GPS navigation app

So, let’s look at the basic necessary features and tools that affect the cost to build a native navigation app.

  1. Authorization. In such socialized applications like Waze or Uber, it’s essential to provide a registration so the user would have his personal account where he can leave notes, reviews and chat with other users. There’s also a need to create a flexible database for the application.
  2. Geolocation. It’s the most important feature because it detects the current location of the device. GPS (Global Positioning System) is used for this purpose. This technology receives information about location from satellites in the form of longitude and latitude. The smartphone should receive data from at least four satellites to provide the sufficiently accurate location.

An application can also use regular cellular network data if the appropriate setting is turned on in the preferences. The device then will receive the Cell ID data to compare the device’s location with the station database. Sometimes this way is used if the GPS is unavailable for some reason. GPS and Cell ID can be used both at the same time to improve the efficiency.

  1. Voice directions. Google Maps Directions API provides developers with a list of voiced by real humans detailed turn-by-turn instructions for lots of roads around the world. It is worth noticing that after 2500 requests to this development kit it gets to be paid.

Native GPS navigation mobile app

How to develop a navigation app for iPhone’s operating system:

In order to develop an iOS application, you need to have iMac or Macbook with the latest version of XCode installed and SDK (software development kit) extension which both contain various compilers, tools, and frameworks that are needed to develop and debug the app for iOS. You should download it for free from App Store. Here are few tips that should be taken into account while developing a GPS navigation app.

  • Modern iOS and macOS applications are written in Swift programming language which is based on the older Apple Objective-C language. As a main Integrated development environment (IDE) the XCode is used.
  • Apple’s MapKit framework will integrate GPS geolocation into your native iOS application.
  • To implement a set of maps into your application you can use the ArcGIS Runtime Software Development Kit for iOS which gives access to custom off-the–grid Apple maps. Once you’ve installed ArcGIS Runtime SDK you can choose between base maps to gain accurate location data about the certain area of the map. Common Google Maps API can be used as well.
  • It will be very useful to add a feature that shows nearest gas station and establishments around.
  • You can synchronize your application with various social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google+) to make authorization easier and faster and improve the connection between drivers’ community.
  • Drivers could gain points for publishing information about traffic situation and compete in the rank system. This would attract more attention and interest to the application.

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How to create a GPS navigation app for Android:

As we all know, number of Android users greatly exceeds number of iOS users, firstly because devices are cheaper, and secondly – because system it’s more flexible, as the program code is publicly available for free and everyone can develop their own plugins and addons. So, a large number of Android users creates a huge market for GPS navigation applications on this platform. Consider this fact when you decide to design a mobile application. Let us list a few advices that can help you develop mobile application for Android:

  • Applications for Android are written in Java and Kotlin programming languages that runs on the Java Virtual Machine.
  • It is comfortable to use multifunctional IntelliJ IDEA as an IDE (Integrated development environment).
  • GPS geolocation is implemented into Android navigation applications by the use of Google Maps Services API that is currently the fastest and the most accurate navigation instrument.
  • It’s necessary to add the feature that remodels the route if the driver makes the wrong turn.
  • Android has built-in voice search, so a user can tell the desirable destinations to the application and it will automatically execute the search.
  • Google Local and Google Contacts are very useful features that show information about nearby locations that is based on previous visits.

GPS navigation app for Android


So in this article we’ve listed the basic points that would be practical for developing a GPS navigation application. The development itself is a very comprehensive process and requires detailed research and professional skills. Plenty of fresh ideas could be implemented into such applications to improve their functionality and make them more comfortable for users. If you are interested in developing such applications, have any questions or want to get information about navigation app development cost, contact us now and you will get substantial and detailed response from our experts.