Esri is set to open up its ArcGIS Geotrigger service to developers on November 19.
The geoplanning firm will make SDKs and APIs available on its dedicated website for developers from that date.
It means developers in companies using ArcGIS can begin utilising the service as well as independent developers hoping to make apps for the community at large.
Geotrigger began life under Geoloqi, co-founded by Amber Case, before Esri acquired the startup last year.
The cloud-based service can be used to send and receive location data in real time, and the app using the technology then knows where it is in relation to nearby points of interest - or geofences - specified by the developer using an API.
Former Geoloqi CEO Case, now director of Esri's R&D centre in Portland, Oregon, told CBR the new release was a much-needed update to the software, while also improving battery life - something that suffers at the hands of location-based apps.
Case said: "We made a series of algorithms and nodes that reduce battery drain so that's what we're bringing to the table.
"When we first started building the system, GPS was just very bad and now GPS is very good so we have taken the native services on both iPhone and Android and built on top of them a bit better.
"It will be a lot easier to use, a lot more powerful and faster, more accurate with better battery life and it will scale a lot more easily.
"We have two million devices on our system right now and it's a system we built three years ago so it's overdue, we're just upgrading everything."
She gave examples of how app developers could use the technology to push notifications to a user if they came near pre-defined geofenced areas.
"If I wanted to I could geofence all the Starbucks coffees and send the person a location-based alert when they get there," she explained.
"If you have a dangerous zone or some sort of hazard this technology could give utility workers getting to that area the context of that spot."
Case said the acquisition of her company means she and her team in Oregon have the resources to do much more than they could before - the team has grown from seven to 20 in the past year and she called the nature of collaboration between Esri and the Oregon staff a "symbiotic relationship".
"It's really a kind of a dream thing where all the stuff we wanted to do as a startup but had limited resources and limited time, now we have the resources and time to really push the vision that we originally had," she added.
Esri will soon be showcasing its geofencing capabilities with an app game called MapAttack.
Players divide into teams and choose the map themselves - it could be their local neighbourhood - collecting virtual coins by running over their 'location' in the real world, as defined by geofencing, while the app allows the players to see each other's position on the map as well.
"You actually go to Big Ben to get the coin and you compete with each other in real time," Case said."It's really the first kind of game like that, where all the devices and the game are subscribed to each other, they're pushing content to each other."
Picture credit Amber Case
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