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How to add GIS to your mobile app: a step-by-step guide

GIS in web and mobile apps

Add GIS functionality to your app to provide users with real-time data in a convenient visual format.

GIS stands for Geographic Information System. It creates, manages, analyzes, and maps data to provide valuable insights for tourists, farmers, shoppers, builders, logisticians, and more. In 2022, GIS market revenue reached $1,8 billion, which is more than twice as much as in 2014. Growing demand for GIS services indicates their relevance for users and encourages business owners to develop GIS web and mobile apps. In this post, we’ll share real use cases for GIS solutions and explain how to implement GIS service in your software.

Today GIS solutions are powerful decision-making tools that enhance business opportunities and increase user experience (UX). For this reason, geoinformatics software is being used in all spheres of human life, from logistics to finance, allowing better and more effective use of business-critical data. Below are the most prominent use cases of GIS web and mobile applications to give you fresh ideas for business growth.

Mapping

Of course, a geographic information system is primarily about displaying valuable data on a map and enabling ‘the power of where’. 

  • Where to eat?

  • Where to study?

  • Where to travel?

  • Where to plant?

  • Where to build?

GIS mapping solutions can answer all these questions by providing data in a well-organized form through visualization on a map.

Urban construction

Example of a map showing nearby food shops
Example of a map showing nearby food shops

GIS applications enable smart urban planning, considering environmental, demographic, and economic factors. Users can build digital twins of their cities, creating different 3D scenarios and visualizing future buildings in the selected area. In addition, urban GIS software may offer a collaborative environment for colleagues to test each others ideas and choose the most effective solution.

Transportation

There is hardly any business that does not deal with transportation now. Effective logistics is an integral part of a  productive operation, and GIS streamlines this process by reducing downtime and increasing the speed of delivery. With this in mind, GIS application development extends to more than building a map showing the distance from point A to point B. Instead, it suggests optimal solutions based on data captured from various sources and analyzed by specially-designed algorithms. Common things done by GIS in transportation are as follows:

  • highway maintenance

  • traffic modeling

  • route planning

  • environmental impact assessment

  • safety management

GIS solution in transportation
GIS solution in transportation

Agriculture

GIS services in agriculture help companies efficiently use land resources to achieve higher yields at a lower cost. With GIS applications, farmers receive recommendations to improve soil fertility, prevent land degradation, and arrange landscape design. Additionally, users can create a crop plan and reduce equipment downtime by receiving timely insights about meteorological conditions.

GIS service in agriculture
GIS service in agriculture

Insurance and finance

In the finance sector, it is critical to obtain up-to-date information about the state of assets and predict their condition, considering various influencing factors. GIS apps use satellite imagery analytics to provide companies with necessary information about real estate objects and evaluate their price given the current technical condition. In addition, GIS applications can predict the possibility of natural disasters, thus allowing companies to assess the risks of investing in specific regions.

GIS app for insurance and finance
GIS app for insurance and finance

Implementing GIS in a mobile app

The easiest way to add GIS functionality to your mobile app is to use a ready-made map service, where you can add data from the selected database. For example, let’s imagine you want to create an app for tourists that helps find hotels in a specific area, check their availability, and book a room. To implement this functionality, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Connect a map. The most common choice is Google Maps. Google’s official website for developers provides detailed information on adding their maps to iOS and Android apps.

  2. Implement an admin panel. This will be used by people who will manually fill the hotels’ databases: room availability, prices, ratings, reviews, etc. Your app will connect with the databases via a custom API and display the needed information at the user’s request.

  3. Display objects in the app. For example, when a user selects “show hotels within a radius of 500 meters,” your application will connect to the hotels’ database and add all objects that match the search criteria to the map.

The process of GIS application development
The process of GIS application development

Note that the above scheme is a simplified version of the creation of the GIS mapping app. In a real application, you would likely want to display not only hotels but also restaurants and cafes, historical sights, opening hours of establishments, driving directions, public transport schedules, and more. To do this, you need to connect to hundreds of 3rd party APIs simultaneously. Next, you have to arrange each dataset in a separate graphical layer. Finally, all layers will be joined to display a complete picture on the app’s client side.

How to make a GIS app
How to make a GIS app

Your software needs a robust IT infrastructure and sufficient resources to successfully cope with the above tasks. The best way to get this is to deploy the project in the cloud and use advanced IT tools on demand.

Five benefits of GIS in mobile app development

Whether you develop a banking app, an e-commerce service, or an aerospace solution, GIS will add value to your project and make it more useful to customers. Here are the benefits the users will receive in a GIS app:

Easy data access. Thanks to visual representation, users can evaluate the displayed information at a glance and quickly extract valuable insights.

Better organized information. GIS software companies create intuitive interfaces providing essential data in a well-organized, user-friendly manner.

More informed decisions. GIS collects data from various sources and gives the user complete information on points of interest.

Faster planning. Users can easily prepare for different activities using spatial and non-spatial data on interactive maps.

Real-time insights. Up-to-date information helps users build routes, plan crops, create supply chains, close financial deals, and more.

Summing up

Many organizations use GIS to create intelligent maps that visualize data, perform advanced analytics, and help solve complex problems. In some applications, GIS is required to develop core functionality, while in others, it plays a secondary role, adding value to the software and enhancing UX. In any case, GIS solutions provide advanced functionality and make apps more helpful to customers. If you are looking for a company to help you develop GIS services, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our managers will study your project and provide a detailed project estimate in the shortest possible time.

January 18, 2022