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How to Develop a GPS Navigation App like Waze?

Are you looking to launch a GPS navigation app similar to Waze? At Sieg Partners, we leverage our extensive software development experience to guide you through this process. In this blog, we will explain the utility of GPS apps, review popular GPS apps, discuss the required features, and outline the app development process. 

How Does a GPS App Help?

GPS navigation apps are invaluable tools for modern travelers. They provide real-time directions and optimal routes based on current traffic conditions, making travel from point A to point B significantly easier. These apps use various location tracking and mapping technologies to deliver precise routing information, including turn-by-turn directions.

The market for navigation systems is expanding rapidly. GPS navigation systems are widely used across industries, from defense to ride-hailing services like Uber. According to a Mordor Intelligence report, the navigation systems market is expected to register a CAGR of 11.3% during the 2021-2026 period.

How to Build an App Like Waze

A Brief Overview of GPS Apps Like Google Maps and Waze

Google Maps
Launched by Google in 2005, Google Maps is available as both a web application and a mobile app for Android and iOS. It offers a variety of features including:

– Satellite imagery
– Aerial photography
– Street maps
– 360-degree interactive street views
– Real-time traffic conditions
– Routing information for travel

Developers can use Google Maps SDKs and APIs to integrate mapping functionalities into their apps.

Originally launched as FreeMap Israel in 2006, Waze became a popular GPS navigation app following its rebranding. Acquired by Google in 2013, Waze offers:

– Crowdsourced traffic information
– User-reported traffic incidents
– Alerts about traffic jams and other incidents
– Map data modification via a map editor
– Customizable navigation voices
– Lane guidance
– Trip suggestions
– Support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

Key Features of a GPS Navigation App

When developing a GPS navigation app, you should include the following features:
– User management and authentication
– Options to select a mode of transportation
– Geolocation and navigation
– Step-by-step voice directions
– Rerouting capabilities
– Integration with popular messaging and social media apps
– Push notifications and in-app messages
– Multilingual support
– Offline map downloads
– In-app purchases and payment gateway integration

Focusing on key mobile platforms like Android and iOS is crucial to ensure a wide user base and a positive user experience.

How to Build an App Like Waze

How to Develop a GPS Navigation App Like Waze

1. Build a Planning Team
Form a small team led by an experienced project manager (PM). Include a software architect and a team of business analysts (BAs). This team will:

– Gather and document functional requirements
– Design the technical solution
– Create a project plan

2. Gather and Manage Requirements
BAs will gather functional requirements through structured interviews with stakeholders and potential users. Consider aspects like user experience, data sources (e.g., Cell ID, WiFi network data), required algorithms, and regulatory standards. The software architect will define non-functional requirements (NFRs) such as security, usability, maintainability, performance, and scalability.

3. Plan the MVP
Adopt the Agile development methodology and plan for a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). This initial version should include essential features to validate your business idea and gather market feedback.

4. Evaluate 3rd Party APIs
Consider using third-party APIs to enhance your app’s functionality:

– Mapbox: Offers mapping, navigation, search, and accounts services.
– Google Maps: Provides mapping and route integration, though it restricts step-by-step navigation use.
– Foursquare: Known for its accurate location data and robust APIs.

5. Choose the Right Tech Stack
For optimal performance and user experience, we recommend:

– Java or Kotlin for native Android development
– Swift for native iOS development
– PostgreSQL or MySQL for relational databases, or MongoDB/Apache Cassandra for NoSQL databases
– REST for API development
– AWS Amplify for mobile backend as a service (MBaaS)

6. Plan Your Project
Include plans for iterations using the Scrum framework, human resource planning, effort and cost estimation, and mitigation of security vulnerabilities. Define metrics for monitoring progress and performance.

7. Hire a Competent Development Team
Recruit experienced developers from reputable software development companies. This ensures you have skilled developers and management support. Key roles include:

– UI designers
– Native Android developers
– Native iOS developers
– Testers
– DevOps engineers

8. Execute, Monitor, and Control the Project
Develop the 
Android and iOS apps using Android Studio and Xcode, respectively. Implement a structured code review process and conduct thorough testing. Follow platform-specific guidelines to publish the apps on Google Play and the Apple App Store. Monitor key metrics and make necessary adjustments to ensure the app’s success.

Final Thoughts
As navigation apps like Waze have become the most lucrative industry in the twenty-first century, many companies are eager to develop them due to the overwhelming popularity of mobile app development. However, the creation of GPS tracking apps can be very difficult, but by having a trusted tech partner and an on-demand mobile app development company at your disposal, you can transform your concept into an app that can dominate the market.
We have outlined the steps to build a GPS navigation app, reviewed popular apps, and provided insights into the development process. For expert assistance with your  GPS app development project, contact Sieg Partners.


Should I develop a native or cross-platform GPS location-tracking app?
Your choice depends on your business requirements. Native apps offer better user experience, performance, and security, while cross-platform apps reduce development costs.

Has Sieg Partners developed apps for Apple’s platforms like iOS?
Yes, Sieg Partners has developed several apps for Apple’s platforms. Our expert Swift developers focus on both functionality and non-functional requirements.

Can Sieg Partners offer project management support?
Yes, Sieg Partners provides end-to-end software development and project management support. Our dedicated account managers work closely with you to ensure successful project delivery.

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