In recent years, location tracking of products/services provided by businesses has become a vital part for businesses as well as customers as it provides them with live updates.

In one of our health and fitness-based apps, we had a requirement of integrating the map with custom style and track location of the user while performing activities such as running or cycling.

In this blog, we will walk you through steps for integrating Google Maps with custom style and tracking the location of the user using react-native.

Contents:

Pre-requisites:

  • Google Map API key for maps (If you don't have one, refer Get Google Map API Key)
  • Basic knowledge of react-native

So let's get started.

Initialize Project:

Let's create our project by running
react-native init integrating_custom_maps.

We will be using the following dependencies to create our app:

Add react-native-maps and link it:

Next, we add react-native-maps package from Airbnb, which has great support from the community and is the most preferred library for the integration of maps in both Android and iOS environments. In our terminal, we run

npm install react-native-maps --save-exact

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Load default map:

Let's first load the default Google map using react-native-maps for iOS and Android.

Enabling Google Maps for iOS using Cocoapods:

  • Run
 cd ios && pod install

to install react-native-maps dependency for iOS.

pod installation
  • Import GoogleMaps header file in AppDelegate.m as follows
#import <GoogleMaps/GoogleMaps.h>
  • Copy the Google API key and paste it in AppDelegate.m file as follows
@implementation AppDelegate
...

- (BOOL)application:(UIApplication *)application didFinishLaunchingWithOptions:(NSDictionary *)launchOptions
{
+  [GMSServices provideAPIKey:@"_YOUR_API_KEY_"];
...

The [GMSServices provideAPIKey] should be the first call of the method didFinishLaunchingWithOptions().

  • Next, we create a component called Map in root/src/components folder and import MapView component from react-native-maps
folder structure
import MapView from "react-native-maps";
  • Render map in Map component with hardcoded values for latitude, longitude, latitudeDelta, and longitudeDelta as follows:
import React from "react";
import { View, Text } from "react-native";
import MapView from "react-native-maps";
export default class Map extends React.Component {
  render() {
    return (
      <View style={{ flex: 1 }}>
        <MapView
          style={{ flex: 1 }}
          initialRegion={{
            latitude: 37.78825,
            longitude: -122.4324,
            latitudeDelta: 0.0922,
            longitudeDelta: 0.0421
          }}></MapView>
      </View>
    );
  }
}

and in App.js add Map component as follows:

import React from "react";
import { View } from "react-native";
import Map from "./src/components/Map";

const App = () => {
  return (
    <View style={{ flex: 1 }}>
      <Map />
    </View>
  );
};

export default App;

On running command react-native run-ios we get the following output:

default Map on iOS simulator

Enabling Google Maps for Android:

For enabling Google Maps on Android we just need few steps as most of the job is done by auto-linking feature.

  • Add googlePlayServicesVersion = "16.0.0" and androidMapsUtilsVersion = "0.5+" in ./android/build.gradle file as follows:
  ...
  buildscript {
      ext {
         ...
         googlePlayServicesVersion = "16.0.0"
         androidMapsUtilsVersion = "0.5+"

      }
    ...
  • Add meta tag with your API key in AndroidManifest.xml as follows:
 <application
      android:name=".MainApplication"
      android:label="@string/app_name"
      android:icon="@mipmap/ic_launcher"
      android:roundIcon="@mipmap/ic_launcher_round"
      android:allowBackup="false"
      android:theme="@style/AppTheme">
      ...
      <meta-data
            android:name="com.google.android.geo.API_KEY"
            android:value="YOUR_API_KEY"/>
    </application>

That's all. Run the project with react-native run-android and we have the map on our screen.

default Map on Android

If you still find yourself stuck somewhere, refer Installation Instructions from react-native-maps official docs.

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Customize Google Maps:

Now that we have loaded the default map, let's customize our maps. Google has it's own Google Maps Platform Styling Wizard which helps us in customization of maps.

  • Go to Google Maps Platform Styling Wizard and click on CREATE A STYLE button
  • Select a theme
  • Click on More Options to add more customizations. Play around with different options and customize according to your needs.
  • After having done with customizations, click on Finish. This generates JSON for our style. Copy this JSON.
  • Create a folder and name it as constants in src.
  • Create a file called mapStyle.json and paste the JSON of style in it.
mapStyle file inside constants folder
  • Import PROVIDER_GOOGLE as a constant from react-native-maps. This is needed for iOS.

    import MapView, { PROVIDER_GOOGLE } from "react-native-maps";
    
  • Import mapStyle as a constant from constants folder.

    import { mapStyle } from "../../constants/mapStyle";
    
  • Now, update the MapView component as follows:

    ...
    <MapView
        provider={PROVIDER_GOOGLE}
        customMapStyle={mapStyle}
        style={{flex: 1}}
        initialRegion={{
             latitude: 37.78825,
             longitude: -122.4324,
             latitudeDelta: 0.0922,
             longitudeDelta: 0.0421
            }}>
    ...
    
  • Run the project.

iOS customised map in simulator

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Add Geolocation service:

Before tracking the user location, let's add a Marker which will help us know where we are on this planet.

To know our location, we add react-native-geolocation-service package by running

  npm install react-native-geolocation-service
  • After installing, for iOS run
cd ios && pod install

Autolinking will take care of installing dependencies in Android.

  • For Android: Allow the app to access location by modifying AndroidManifest.xml as follows:

    ...
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION"/>
    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION" />
    <application
        android:name=".MainApplication"
        android:label="@string/app_name"
        android:icon="@mipmap/ic_launcher"
        android:roundIcon="@mipmap/ic_launcher_round"
        android:allowBackup="false"
        android:theme="@style/AppTheme">
      ...
    

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Get current location:

Let's get our current position on the map. For this,

  • Import Geolocation service in Map component.

    import Geolocation from "react-native-geolocation-service";
    
  • Add state variables for latitude, longitude and position coordinates array in Map component.

    constructor(props) {
       super(props);
        this.state = {
           latitude: 0,
           longitude: 0,
           coordinates: [],
        };
      }
    
  • In componentDidMount(), listen to getCurrentPosition() event as follows and set state variables.

    Geolocation.getCurrentPosition(
      position => {
        this.setState({
          latitude: position.coords.latitude,
          longitude: position.coords.longitude,
          coordinates: this.state.coordinates.concat({
            latitude: position.coords.latitude,
            longitude: position.coords.longitude
          })
        });
      },
      error => {
        Alert.alert(error.message.toString());
      },
      {
        showLocationDialog: true,
        enableHighAccuracy: true,
        timeout: 20000,
        maximumAge: 0
      }
    );
    

getCurrentPosition() takes success callback, error callback and options as parameters. You can refer to official docs and configure accordingly.

  • Import Marker as a constant from react-native-maps

    import MapView, { PROVIDER_GOOGLE, Marker } from "react-native-maps";
    
  • Change initialRegion prop of MapView to region and add a marker for your location with coordinates prop set to current position's latitude and longitude.

    ...
    <MapView
        provider={PROVIDER_GOOGLE}
        customMapStyle={mapStyle}
        style={{flex: 1}}
        region={{
          latitude: this.state.latitude,
          longitude: this.state.longitude,
          latitudeDelta: 0.0922,
          longitudeDelta: 0.0421,
        }}>
        <Marker
            coordinate={{
              latitude: this.state.latitude,
              longitude: this.state.longitude,
            }}>
        </Marker>
    </MapView>
          ...
    
    
  • Finally, we can find ourselves on the map.
Marker for our current location

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Track location change:

To track the change of location on the map, we have to listen to the watchPosition event.

  • Add a handler for the watchPosition event and update the coordinates array as follows

    Geolocation.watchPosition(
      position => {
        this.setState({
          latitude: position.coords.latitude,
          longitude: position.coords.longitude,
          coordinates: this.state.coordinates.concat({
            latitude: position.coords.latitude,
            longitude: position.coords.longitude
          })
        });
      },
      error => {
        console.log(error);
      },
      {
        showLocationDialog: true,
        enableHighAccuracy: true,
        timeout: 20000,
        maximumAge: 0,
        distanceFilter: 0
      }
    );
    
  • Next, we import Polyline as constant from react-native-maps in Map component

    import MapView, {
      Polyline,
      PROVIDER_GOOGLE,
      Marker
    } from "react-native-maps";
    

and add it as follows

...
<MapView>
    ...
    <Polyline
      coordinates={this.state.coordinates}
      strokeColor="#bf8221"
      strokeColors={[ '#bf8221', '#ffe066', '#ffe066', '#ffe066', '#ffe066', ]}
      strokeWidth={3}
    />
</MapView>
...

This will help us locate our changed position on the map and also give us a feel of our location being tracked. Now, whenever our GPS senses change in location, the handler of the watchPosition event will be called which will give us current coordinates. These current coordinates will be concatenated to coordinates array of the state which is provided as coordinates props to Polyline. This will create a tracker on the map for our location.

location being tracked

You can clone this Github repo and experiment with the same.

If you face any issue, drop a comment πŸ“in the comments section below πŸ‘‡ mentioning the issue and error-details if any.

We would ❀️ to hear from you. Thank you.

References