GeoFire for Android/Java


MIT License
Feb 18, 2017
See also
Steam Loader
Android Unsplash
Last fm android library


v3.0.0 (Jun 13, 2019)
Jul 13, 2014
Oct 13, 2020 (Retired)
Firebase (firebase)
Niklas Baudy (vanniktech)
Sam Stern (samtstern)
Anton Dauvalter (adauvalter)
Jonny Dimond (jdimond)
Firebase Operations (firebase-ops)
Ossama Alami (oalami)
Jen Tong (mimming)
John O'Reilly (joreilly)
Jose Garcia (jgarcia162)
Michael Lehenbauer (mikelehen)
Andrew Lee (startupandrew)
Jonah Dahlquist (jonahbron)
Choxmi Sathsara (Choxmi)
Abe Haskins (abeisgoat)
Vivek Vinodh (vivekvinodh)
Matthew T (m-tse)
Larry McKenzie (fatherOfLegends)
Jackie D (jackie-d)
Source code


GeoFire for Java — Realtime location queries with Firebase

Note This library is only for server side Java development. If you want to use GeoFire in your Android application, see geofire-android.

GeoFire is an open-source library for Java that allows you to store and query a set of keys based on their geographic location.

At its heart, GeoFire simply stores locations with string keys. Its main benefit however, is the possibility of querying keys within a given geographic area - all in realtime.

GeoFire uses the Firebase Realtime Database database for data storage, allowing query results to be updated in realtime as they change. GeoFire selectively loads only the data near certain locations, keeping your applications light and responsive, even with extremely large datasets.

GeoFire clients are also available for other languages:

Integrating GeoFire with your data

GeoFire is designed as a lightweight add-on to the Firebase Realtime Database. However, to keep things simple, GeoFire stores data in its own format and its own location within your Firebase database. This allows your existing data format and security rules to remain unchanged and for you to add GeoFire as an easy solution for geo queries without modifying your existing data.

Example Usage

Assume you are building an app to rate bars and you store all information for a bar, e.g. name, business hours and price range, at /bars/<bar-id>. Later, you want to add the possibility for users to search for bars in their vicinity. This is where GeoFire comes in. You can store the location for each bar using GeoFire, using the bar IDs as GeoFire keys. GeoFire then allows you to easily query which bar IDs (the keys) are nearby. To display any additional information about the bars, you can load the information for each bar returned by the query at /bars/<bar-id>.

Upgrading GeoFire

Upgrading from GeoFire 1.x to 2.x

GeoFire 2.x is based on the new 3.x release of Firebase.

Upgrading from GeoFire 1.0.x to 1.1.x

With the release of GeoFire for Android/Java 1.1.0, this library now uses the new query functionality found in Firebase 2.0.0. As a result, you will need to upgrade to Firebase 2.x.x and add a new .indexOn rule to your Security and Firebase Rules to get the best performance. You can view the updated rules here and read our docs for more information about indexing your data.

Including GeoFire in your Java project

In order to use GeoFire in your project, you need to add the Firebase Admin SDK. After that you can include GeoFire with one of the choices below.


Add a dependency for GeoFire to your build.gradle file:

dependencies {
    implementation 'com.firebase:geofire-java:3.0.0'


Add a dependency for GeoFire to your pom.xml file:




A GeoFire object is used to read and write geo location data to your Firebase database and to create queries. To create a new GeoFire instance you need to attach it to a Firebase database reference.

DatabaseReference ref = FirebaseDatabase.getInstance().getReference("path/to/geofire");
GeoFire geoFire = new GeoFire(ref);

Note that you can point your reference to anywhere in your Firebase database, but don't forget to setup security rules for GeoFire.

Setting location data

In GeoFire you can set and query locations by string keys. To set a location for a key simply call the setLocation method. The method is passed a key as a string and the location as a GeoLocation object containing the location's latitude and longitude:

geoFire.setLocation("firebase-hq", new GeoLocation(37.7853889, -122.4056973));

To check if a write was successfully saved on the server, you can add a GeoFire.CompletionListener to the setLocation call:

geoFire.setLocation("firebase-hq", new GeoLocation(37.7853889, -122.4056973), new GeoFire.CompletionListener() {
    public void onComplete(String key, FirebaseError error) {
        if (error != null) {
            System.err.println("There was an error saving the location to GeoFire: " + error);
        } else {
            System.out.println("Location saved on server successfully!");

To remove a location and delete it from the database simply pass the location's key to removeLocation:


Retrieving a location

Retrieving a location for a single key in GeoFire happens with callbacks:

geoFire.getLocation("firebase-hq", new LocationCallback() {
    public void onLocationResult(String key, GeoLocation location) {
        if (location != null) {
            System.out.println(String.format("The location for key %s is [%f,%f]", key, location.latitude, location.longitude));
        } else {
            System.out.println(String.format("There is no location for key %s in GeoFire", key));

    public void onCancelled(DatabaseError databaseError) {
        System.err.println("There was an error getting the GeoFire location: " + databaseError);

Geo Queries

GeoFire allows you to query all keys within a geographic area using GeoQuery objects. As the locations for keys change, the query is updated in realtime and fires events letting you know if any relevant keys have moved. GeoQuery parameters can be updated later to change the size and center of the queried area.

// creates a new query around [37.7832, -122.4056] with a radius of 0.6 kilometers
GeoQuery geoQuery = geoFire.queryAtLocation(new GeoLocation(37.7832, -122.4056), 0.6);

Receiving events for geo queries

Key Events

There are five kinds of "key" events that can occur with a geo query:

  1. Key Entered: The location of a key now matches the query criteria.
  2. Key Exited: The location of a key no longer matches the query criteria.
  3. Key Moved: The location of a key changed but the location still matches the query criteria.
  4. Query Ready: All current data has been loaded from the server and all initial events have been fired.
  5. Query Error: There was an error while performing this query, e.g. a violation of security rules.

Key entered events will be fired for all keys initially matching the query as well as any time afterwards that a key enters the query. Key moved and key exited events are guaranteed to be preceded by a key entered event.

Sometimes you want to know when the data for all the initial keys has been loaded from the server and the corresponding events for those keys have been fired. For example, you may want to hide a loading animation after your data has fully loaded. This is what the "ready" event is used for.

Note that locations might change while initially loading the data and key moved and key exited events might therefore still occur before the ready event is fired.

When the query criteria is updated, the existing locations are re-queried and the ready event is fired again once all events for the updated query have been fired. This includes key exited events for keys that no longer match the query.

To listen for events you must add a GeoQueryEventListener to the GeoQuery:

geoQuery.addGeoQueryEventListener(new GeoQueryEventListener() {
    public void onKeyEntered(String key, GeoLocation location) {
        System.out.println(String.format("Key %s entered the search area at [%f,%f]", key, location.latitude, location.longitude));

    public void onKeyExited(String key) {
        System.out.println(String.format("Key %s is no longer in the search area", key));

    public void onKeyMoved(String key, GeoLocation location) {
        System.out.println(String.format("Key %s moved within the search area to [%f,%f]", key, location.latitude, location.longitude));

    public void onGeoQueryReady() {
        System.out.println("All initial data has been loaded and events have been fired!");

    public void onGeoQueryError(DatabaseError error) {
        System.err.println("There was an error with this query: " + error);

You can call either removeGeoQueryEventListener to remove a single event listener or removeAllListeners to remove all event listeners for a GeoQuery.

Data Events

If you are storing model data and geo data in the same database location, you may want access to the DataSnapshot as part of geo events. In this case, use a GeoQueryDataEventListener rather than a key listener.

These "data event" listeners have all of the same events as the key listeners with one additional event type:

  1. Data Changed: the underlying DataSnapshot has changed. Every "data moved" event is followed by a data changed event but you can also get change events without a move if the data changed does not affect the location.

Adding a data event listener is similar to adding a key event listener:

geoQuery.addGeoQueryDataEventListener(new GeoQueryDataEventListener() {

  public void onDataEntered(DataSnapshot dataSnapshot, GeoLocation location) {
    // ...

  public void onDataExited(DataSnapshot dataSnapshot) {
    // ...

  public void onDataMoved(DataSnapshot dataSnapshot, GeoLocation location) {
    // ...

  public void onDataChanged(DataSnapshot dataSnapshot, GeoLocation location) {
    // ...

  public void onGeoQueryReady() {
    // ...

  public void onGeoQueryError(DatabaseError error) {
    // ...


Updating the query criteria

The GeoQuery search area can be changed with setCenter and setRadius. Key exited and key entered events will be fired for keys moving in and out of the old and new search area, respectively. No key moved events will be fired; however, key moved events might occur independently.

Updating the search area can be helpful in cases such as when you need to update the query to the new visible map area after a user scrolls.


  • In your local environment set $BINTRAY_USER and $BINTRAY_KEY to your username and API key.
  • Checkout and update the master branch.
  • Run ./ to build and deploy.
  • On, publish the draft artifacts.