When was the last time you stopped and asked someone to give you directions? Probably, that was quite some time ago.  With navigation apps like Waze on a smartphone, you can survive even in the middle of nowhere.

But there is more:

BIS research agency report said the navigation app market is continually growing, with $34.56 billion income expected by 2021. Therefore, a navigation app could be a very profitable business.

Here’s why:

Location-based businesses and outlets, such as gas stations and restaurants might be interested in running local-based in-app advertising navigation.

If you are contemplating building a navigation app for iOS, read on.

In this article, we are going to highlight how to create a GPS navigation app like Waze, and how to make such an app popular.

Now, let’s get to it!


Waze Key Statistics

Waze map app is the second top-rated mobile application among users, beaten only by Google Maps. It enabled drivers to use live maps, get real-time traffic updates, and other road data.

In 2013, the app counted over 36 million users. In the same year, Google bought Waze for the vast price of around a billion dollars. In 2022, Waze was sold to Google at $966 million.

But that is not all:

What is the key to Waze’ success?

Read on and check how the Waze app works.


How Does Waze Work?

As we said, Waze improves the lives of every user by providing them with a hassle-free, relaxing, and smart traveling experience. The app was designed as a crowd-sourced network, where drivers report accidents, road closures, and other hazards on the map.  

Here’s the deal:

  • Apart from sharing real-time traffic and road information, Waze users can post photos. The app gathers the latest route information from drivers to help other drivers. 
Waze users can post photos
  • Using GPS, Waze users receive turn-by-turn voice directions via tablets and smartphones. 
Waze users receive turn-by-turn voice directions
  • The app users also receive information about potential traffic jams and suggest to users optimal, shortest, and fastest routes to their destination.
Waze drivers can avoid road closures
  • Therefore, with Waze, drivers can avoid road closures, traffic jams, car accidents, police traps, and other unpleasant events that might occur on the road.
app users also receive information about potential traffic jams

[Image source: Gigaom]

  • With multiple social networking integrations, Waze users can find their Facebook or Instagram friends and give them a lift.
Waze users can find their Facebook or Instagram friends and give them a lift
  • With Waze, users can share their experiences by writing reviews and rating local businesses such as car-washing services, gas stations, and coffee houses.

Consider Creating a Location-aware Project?


Waze Special Features

To find out how to make an app like Waze, you need to discover its unique features.  Let’s see Waze’ other obvious advantages:

Carpool service

At the beginning of 2016 Waze expanded its ride-sharing ambitions with a carpool service called Waze Rider. The service learns the most frequent routes of drivers and matches them up to people looking for a car going in the same direction.

Thus, drivers don’t get paid as is common in Uber or Lyft, but get a small fee to cover gas expenses.

drivers don't get paid as is common in Uber or Lyft, but get a small fee to cover gas expenses

[Image source: Cnet]

Planned Drive

Another brilliant idea is the Planned Drive feature. It recommends the best time to start a trip once you have entered the desirable time and date. All Planned Drives can be added to calendars, sent to emails, and shared on Facebook if needed.

This feature can be implemented with machine learning technology.

Waze Transport SDK

Creating your SDK is not the main feature when you decide to develop a navigation app like Waze. But apparently, guys have enough ambitions and resources to expand their sphere of influence. Half a dozen companies are already included in this software to provide routing and guidance in their services. Among them are Lyft, JustPark Parking, Cabify, 99Taxis, and Cornershop.


Google Calendar synchronization

Waze users can synchronize the app with Google Calendar for more convenient trips. When Waze receives access to the calendar, it creates a list with upcoming appointments with their locations. In this way, Waze navigates travelers to their previously entered locations.

Spotify integration

Waze has integrated Spotify playlists so drivers can listen to their favorite music while driving. So, if you download both apps to your device, you receive access to Waze navigation within Spotify and vice versa, namely, access to your Spotify playlists inside Waze.

Waze has integrated Spotify playlists so drivers can listen to their favorite music while driving

[Image source: Slashgear]

We used Spotify API for our recent project SpotNews, an advanced streaming platform, to enable users to leverage music streaming within the application. SpotNews is a new kind of media medium that is capable of mass personalization of preferred media consumption. Read the full case study on the link.


Waze decreases the number of cars on the roads with Carpool and helps drivers to plan their journey. Moreover, the app users can synchronize their account with Google Calendar and Spotify.  

Now, let us move further and find out about the Waze business model.

How Does Waze Make Money

If you want to build a navigation app for Android, you are probably thinking about monetization.

But how can you monetize your navigation app?

As an initial source of income, you can adopt the Waze advertising model.

Let us explain.


Local businesses can benefit greatly by advertising in navigation apps since it allows to target nearby customers, therefore, all applications like Waze can make money on location-based advertisements, including:

Branded Pins. Branded pins appear on the Waze map like a store sign when the user is driving nearby. In this way, local companies raise brand awareness and attract on-route customers to the store.

Zero-Speed Takeovers. These digital billboards appear on the device screen when the driver comes to a complete stop for at least 3 seconds, like at a traffic stoplight.

Promoted Search ads. Waze displays promoted search ads when drivers use the in-app search for shopping malls, restaurants, movie theatres, etc.


How to create an app like Waze

To create an app like Waze, development team members conduct the following steps:

  • Research. We start every project with research to maximize the success of the project by identifying its weaknesses and potential risks. Our team creates a checklist to ensure the quality of each phase of planning, developing, testing, and deployment of the application.
  • Documentation. Next, we create product documentation that will explain product functionality, and unify project-related information. The documentation sets gaps between the vision of engineers and stakeholders, so the final solution meets the stakeholders’ expectations.
  • Development. Then we launch the app development phase. For correct and successful app implementation, we communicate with clients about our progress. We test the main app features, such as user location, routing abilities, map search, and so on.
  • Deployment. We upload the ready-made app to other working environment or app marketplaces, so your users can download it.
  • Support. Android and iOS regularly release new updates that might have an impact on your app performance. For that, we provide clients with technical support and further app maintenance.

But that is not all.

Now, let us find out how much an app like Waze costs. 


How much does the Waze app cost?

So, you decided to work on a Waze clone app.

What’s next?

We recommend building the MVP or Minimum Viable Product, which includes the basic app features.


Because the most important thing right now is to deliver the product before competitors, test your idea and start to impress the audience.

The table below includes an overview of all the main features, required integrations, and calculated time for the app MVP development. 

The navigation app MVP core features





User profile and Authorization

Socialized applications like Waze should provide the user registration feature via social networks and email.



  • Facebook SDK
  • Twitter Kit

From 36+ hours:

  • 12 + hours for User Profile
  • 24+ hours for registration via email or social network

Geolocation and navigation

Geolocation and navigation are key features for such apps.

Geolocation detects the user’s location. And navigation helps the user to define the road to the point of destination.

  • Google Maps
  • Here Maps
  • Skobbler SDKs
  • Mapbox SDK
  • MapFit

From 60+ hours

Voice directions

This feature empowers the app with real-life human voice detailing turn-by-turn instructions so users can concentrate on driving without looking at the map.


  • Google Maps Directions API
  • Google Cloud API 
  • API.AI 


From 60+ hours

Social networks integration

Users can leave reviews about  rides, track their previous rides, save  trip information,

chat with other users, and much more.

For this, we recommend integrating the app with social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. 


  • Facebook API 
  • Sendbird Chat SDK  
  • Layer SDK 

From 50+ hours




From 205+ hours

When you know the estimated time to develop the MVP of a navigation app, consider that the hourly rate may vary from the developer’s location and experience. Here are some average hourly rates for middle-level developers:

  • USA and Australia: $130-240
  • Eastern Europe: $50–80
  • Asia: $30-60

To receive a more precise cost estimation, use our Project Cost Calculator.

How much will your project cost?

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Now, let’s imagine that you have a readymade navigation app, but you need to make users connect with it.

How can you achieve this?

Simply, by using several gamification tricks as described below. 


Gamification to increase user engagement

The main reason why applications integrate gamification is that such features attract drivers and motivate them to use your app longer and more often. Let us see what types of gamification Waze offers to its users.

Points system. Users receive different amounts of points for different actions. App users can compare their number of points with the points totals of other drivers in Waze rank. The app gives users points for contributing road information and drive time, rising the user ranking in the Waze community.

Users receive different amounts of points for different actions

Mood. When users receive enough points for reporting incidents and drive time, they can set a mood (emoji) for other drivers, registered in the app. A mood option is quite entertaining, especially when drivers are sitting in traffic.  

When users receive enough points for reporting incidents and drive time, they can set a mood

Candy. Waze users can collect candies that contain points. To add points to their user total, they need to drive to where the candy is located. To increase user engagement on holidays, Waze changes candy for something more season-specific, like eggs on Easter. 

Waze users can collect candies that contain points

Image source: Woxapp

“Beep Beep”. To let drivers connect with other users, Waze includes one more chatty feature, the “Beep Beep”. This feature is a car horn that drivers hear through the app when other app users have reached out to greet them.

The APP Solution experience

Recently, a client hired us to develop Heavy Haul Route, a GPS route navigation and planning app. The app is aimed at long-haul truck drivers to elaborate routes with multiple checkpoints.

For this project, we:

  • integrated a map service
  • added advanced data privacy
  • developed the design from scratch.

As a result, our client received a fully-functional app for transportation and logistics companies.



With navigation apps, drivers can find an easier way to their destination, check the situation on the road, and report accidents. Besides, there are a lot of local-based companies seeking the opportunity to engage with navigation app users via ads.

Still, the process of app navigation app development is not an easy one. With our recommendations described in this article, you can build a navigation app and make it popular among users.

If you have a project in mind, do not hesitate to contact us.

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