Lilypad —
location-based chatting app
Custom product development
Geocaching provides a popular outdoor activity app to over three million users. To build a new chat app for geocachers, the Geocaching founders needed deep geolocation product development expertise and chose Clockwise Software as a dependable technical partner.
Outdoor Recreation
Company size

What our client says

Jeremy Irish
Co-Founder, Geocaching
Washington, USA
Clockwise Software has exceeded our expectations regarding the quality of their work.

They deliver on time and within budget. They’re very responsive to issues. The team comes up with solutions and has excellent ideas to improve the project. Overall, their communication is great, and it’s an excellent partnership.

Project background

Geocaching is a US-based digital company that develops the legendary GPS-based Geocaching app for hiding and seeking items called geocaches. For over 20 years, the company has been facilitating outdoor adventure for more than three million users across 190+ countries.

The founders of Geocaching reached out to Clockwise Software with an exciting inquiry. Their goal was to bring a new kind of experience to geocachers and attract more potential users with a new location-based chat product — the Lilypad app.

Lilypad was designed to help Geocaching users communicate, organize offline events, and form interest-based groups. We also focused on seamless integration of Lilypad with the existing Geocaching app to ensure an unbeatable user experience for loyal geocachers.

The app’s founders had a ready-made design and an abundance of ideas about the new app’s functionality, so we embarked on a mission to turn this design and the founders’ vision into working custom software.

Bringing our tech expertise to an established company

Our client’s core product — the Geocaching app — was built by an internal team of software development professionals. The Geocaching team was already at capacity, being fully devoted to improving, updating, and maintaining the company’s existing app.
Thus, they decided to start working with a technical partner to develop their new location-based Lilypad app from scratch using the latest development tools and best practices.
Clockwise Software was recommended to the Geocaching founders as a reliable custom software development service provider.


They decided to start working with us because our team met two critical requirements:
  • Deep background in location-based product development and a comprehensive portfolio of geolocation apps
  • Ability to provide full-scale product development services, from a kick-start meeting to product launch and beyond

Custom product development:

engineering challenges
Over the course of project development, the customers’ priorities changed, so our development team altered the functional requirements to fully meet all expectations. Here are some of the technical challenges we encountered related to key features that formed the product:
Challenge #1
Ensuring continuous access to the user’s location

Our client’s key request was to enable users to always access data about other users’ locations in real time. While there’s nothing special about accessing location data when an app is in the foreground, we needed to build an approach for accessing that data in the background while complying with Google Play, App Store, and client privacy rules.


We used WebSockets to implement location tracking features in the background and carefully studied Google Play and App Store rules to make sure the functionality we developed didn’t violate them. Access to user location data in the foreground and in the background is only possible with the user’s permission.

Challenge #2
Overcoming Mapbox API data
visualization limitations
Showing users on a map in real time was another significant request. The Mapbox API (a third-party tool we used to build mapping functionality) allows for rendering only up to 100 location markers in real time. Our next challenge was how to put more users on the map.

After studying development best practices from our previous projects, we decided to create an algorithm to build clusters of users.
On the map, a user can see clusters of users in different areas and get information about the exact location of individual users by zooming in or out.
Challenge #3
Overcoming limitations of available chat APIs

Seamless communication among users was not only one of the founders’ goals but also a way to engage more users. As chat functionality was the core feature of this app, we had to provide an impeccable communication experience.


Our team implemented integration with CometChat and enhanced it with custom code to bring a spotless chatting experience to users. The app supports four types of chats: P2P chats, group chats, regional chats, and hashtag chats.

Challenge #4
Securing sensitive location data
Data privacy is one of the key priorities for apps that collect and share users’ locations in real time. How could we protect information about a user’s real-time location if the app can always access it?
With privacy features, we ensured that users can show their real-time location data to only their favorite friends, all friends, or all app users. Also, users may share their location with members of selected groups or hide it from everyone. We also added private places functionality so that users can hide their presence in particular locations.

Features we implemented

To fully meet the product team’s requirements, we developed a custom mobile chat app for user communication and a web admin platform for moderating chats and users. Here’s a list of key features we have implemented in the mobile app so far:
User location tracking
Integration with users’ contact lists
User profiles
Online chats
Privacy settings
Friends list
Places and events
Favorite friends
Integration with the Geocaching app

Technologies we used

React Native
Material UI
Material UI
Mapbox GL API

Project outcome and future plans

The app has just completed the final stages of beta testing and is now ready for production and active use.

We’re now integrating the Lilypad app with the Geocaching API to improve the in-app experience for existing Geocaching users. This integration will help our client bring Geocaching users to Lilypad, allowing them to access Lilypad using their existing Geocaching account credentials and engaging them with convenient chat functionality, groups, and location-based events. Geocaching also anticipates that Lilypad users may become interested in geocaching and join the established Geocaching community.

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