Build vs Buy: The Right Approach for Geofencing & Location Infrastructure

Adding the power of location to your app can make all the difference. Whether you’re using location for marketing, to improve operational efficiencies or to supercharge your mobile app’s location-based capabilities, you’ll need to decide whether to build your geofencing infrastructure in-house or purchase an out-of-the box solution such as the PlotProjects plugin.

Read on to find out more about how to choose the right approach for your needs and requirements.

build vs buy geofencing location infrastructure

What are your requirements?

The first step in deciding whether to build or buy location infrastructure is to ask yourself what you are looking to accomplish.

Once you’re clear about exactly what functional requirements you need to have in place, you’ll be one step closer to knowing what system you’ll need to develop or buy. Don’t forget to factor in what you need now as well as what you might need in the future so that your solution can grow with you.

Here are some suggestions about what you might want to get from your geofencing platform.

  • Hyper-relevant location-based notifications when your users are close to your stores
  • Accurate store visit measurement to gain valuable insights
  • Improved efficiency around customer journeys and arrival times 
  • Gathering valuable location data and visitation patterns of multiple Points of Interest
  • Easily linking your app data with location data for marketing, targeting and segmentation.
  • Making use of beacons to engage customers within stores or other micro locations such as underground or on public transport.
  • Sending notifications to customers when they are headed to a competitor’s location
  • A full suite of tools for check-in/check-out, curbside pickup, click and collect, mobile order drive through.
  • Enrich your apps with engaging location-based experiences such as gamification 
  • Use location for event planning, crowd management, fleet tracking, employee monitoring, logistics, customer movement patterns.
  • Automatic segmentation based on your app user’s activities & mode of transportation
  • Better operational efficiency.
  • Engaging, hyper-relevant campaigns that boost conversions

Functionality considerations & challenges

While it seems easy enough to build your own geofencing software, here’s a quick look at all the things you might not be considering. Android and iOS offer location and geofencing capabilities in their operating system, however there are many restrictions and limitations with the service.

In this section we cover the main considerations, challenges and risks involved when building your own geolocation infrastructure. These are the questions to think about.

Accuracy & Reliability

  • How will you make your geofences accurate enough? You’ll want to think about geofence size, shape and scale. With iOS and Android, circular geofences are standard, for anything else you will require more complex programming. 
  • How will you ensure that your geofencing solution isn’t going to drain the phone battery? If you think you’re going to rely on GPS then think again. GPS will drain your battery fast, and your users will uninstall your app and leave bad reviews.
  • What about spamming – how will you avoid this? Can you manage the timing of your messages so that they’re delivered at the correct time? Do you know exactly when your user was at a Point of Interest? You will need a full suite of accuracy and anti-spam tools.
  • It’s vital to find a solution that offers the perfect balance between accuracy, responsiveness and battery drain. 

Data coverage

  • What about when your users don’t have WiFi or cellular signal? How will you make sure they receive notifications at the right time? The default IOS geofencing solution requires network reception.
  • If you try to use the default iOS solution, your users won’t receive a notification for at least 20 seconds after crossing the geofence boundary. Did you know that the average person walks at a rate of 5 feet/second? In 20 seconds, they have walked 100 feet. They’re on the other side of the street at this point. They’re definitely not going to walk all the way back to care about a notification that’s no longer relevant to them.


  • What about scaling? When your business grows you’ll need to monitor more than the default quantity of geofences that iOS (20 geofences) and Android (100 geofences) allow. 
  • You’re either going to have to build a complex geofencing solution from scratch or migrate to a high-performing geofencing plugin. Are you really going to risk starting over that late in the game?

Regulations & maintenance

  • Are you happy to be constantly updating your geofencing solution to make sure it complies with the latest operating system regulations? 
  • Location data collection requirements change with OS releases, this requires regular maintenance and updates.
  • It will also need to comply with the App store and Google Play Store rules.

Analytics & reporting 

  • How are you going to analyze the effectiveness of your campaigns? You’ll need to build a whole reporting system too.
  • Do you want to add value to people’s lives by sending notifications that are actually relevant to them? You’re going to need real-world insights about where your users are going, how long they’re staying in those locations and which notifications they actually click on.
  • Also, how are you going to deal with sending notifications when the app is closed or in the background?


  • Don’t forget, you’ll need easy and flexible integrations across your entire digital infrastructure including with any partner platform. Without this you can’t connect user visit history and real-time place-based triggers to your marketing channels – ads, emails and push.

Privacy & security

  • Will your software comply with all privacy and data protection regulations by default? It will need to support ongoing regulations for CCPA, GDPR and OS privacy updates. 
  • Can you enable full privacy on-device? Can you control what data leaves and stays on device, with full control over where it’s sent?
  • You might also need guidance about best practices for location permission prompts, such as how to stay transparent, explain added value to the user and the best times to show prompts.


  • Building your own location infrastructure is expensive. There are big upfront and ongoing costs to consider. Building the infrastructure is a full time job for a few people and can take up to 6 months. Plus there are initial data licensing costs which can cost thousands. 
  • You’ll also need to consider ongoing maintenance costs, regular monthly infrastructure costs and ongoing data licensing costs. Again these can add up to thousands.
  • What about the losses? Building your location infrastructure in-house leads to a longer time to market. Plus you’re losing out on other projects you could be building.

PlotProjects advantages

Although these might seem like big challenges to be facing on your own, PlotProjects can help you solve all of these problems and more. Our industry-leading solution offers way more features and tools than many of our competitors. In fact, many customers choose us as the best alternative to Radar io and others. 

PlotProjects location-based notifications

Here’s a look at the many advantages of choosing PlotProjects.

Quick implementation

Save time and development costs. Our SDK, APIs and dashboard can be implemented quickly and easily with seamless integrations and all the tools you need to build accurate and efficient location functionalities into your apps.


Build unlimited and scalable geofences of any shape and size including polygons. Our solution supports all mobile systems and allows for the creation of an unlimited amount of geofences around the world. 

Real-time geo-push

With one single SDK, you can support any notification and location trigger in real-time, even without internet connection and optimized for working in the background.


Detect micro locations such as inside stores or even underground. Measure footfall, improve proximity experiences and add new location-based functionalities such as Check-in Check-out.

Minimal maintenance

Decrease your costs by using our full-featured geofencing platform. We keep our systems constantly tested and updated to meet all of the latest industry requirements and regulations, plus we are constantly refining our offering with new and improved features and functionalities.

Privacy and security

Fully GDPR and CCPA compliant, our solution comes complete with an array of advanced privacy and security features.

Future proof

Our solution can grow with your business. We work with clients to build custom features throughout the life of their project. Plus you can build your own add-ons on top of our plugin and extend its functionality.

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Other top features and tools

  • High accuracy, low battery use, no battery-draining GPS
  • Works when your users don’t have WiFi or cellular data
  • Easy geofence management
  • Enhanced support for beacons 
  • Robust analytics and location data / foot traffic, dwell time, visit history, heat maps
  • Real-world insights to help you send hyper-relevant notifications
  • Send notifications when the app is closed or running in the background.
  • Home, Work & Place Detection / Check-in/Check-out / Activity Monitor / Stop Start Detection
  • Automatic Segmentation based on user’s mode of transport
  • Anti-spam tools
  • Dedicated support and expert advice at every step of the way.
  • Cost effective prices with no hidden costs of extras. Start with a free trial

PlotProjects ticks all the boxes

Building vs buying location infrastructure

If you’re thinking about building your own geofencing and location infrastructure in-house, it’s vital that you fully consider the many challenges, costs and resources involved. It’s also important to think about what the end result will be in terms of quality, flexibility and growth.

In order to provide the best value to your app, your solution must be expertly built and managed by in-house development teams, requiring big overheads and expensive hardware to run smoothly and efficiently.

Instead, why not consider working with a full-featured platform like PlotProjects? Our industry-leading, cost-effective solution allows you to power you app with location capabilities quickly and easily. Get started today and start wowing your users with amazing location-based notifications and experiences.

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