Posts Tagged ‘mobile’

Going Native: Using the Google Maps API v3 in Smartphone applications (Killingsworth via Google)

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

[Editor's note: Cut down on development time using the new Google Maps API v3 but creating a single mobile version of your map that can also be wrapped inside a native application for the iPhone or Android.]

Republished from Google Geo Developers Blog.
B

Over the last couple of years, my office has been working on using the Google Maps API to display the Missouri State University campus map. The map is used by campus faculty, staff, students, and visitors and includes buildings, parking and transit system information. Beginning this summer, we started work on incorporating live GPS tracking of our campus buses into the map. Both the idea and GPS application on the buses came from one of our computer science students who wanted more information on the campus transit system.

Using the Google Maps API v3, I was able to create a mobile version of our map for use on smartphones. After showing it to my users, one of the first responses I got was, “Are you going to make this available as an application?”. After spending many hours developing a feature-rich mobile web version, the thought of investing a large amount of time to code the same experience on multiple platforms was overwhelming. Then I began thinking of the maintenance headaches; even simple changes, such as adding a new sets of icons for custom markers, would be time consuming. All of a sudden the idea sounded much less appealing. I’d spent all this time on the mobile web version of my map, why couldn’t I just use that?

All Wrapped Up

So instead of writing the maps application using the SDK of each phone platform, I wrapped my v3 Maps API site into a WebView inside a stub application. Now all the work spent on the web version automatically applies to the “native” application and my users never even know the difference. The Google Maps API team have even provided some great reference articles for Android and iPhone which help get the process started.

Continue reading at Google Geo Developers Blog. . . .

Mapping and GPS on the iPhone

Monday, July 14th, 2008

apple iphone promo

So I bought one of those glossy little toys on Friday and have been geeking out ever since. The default Google Maps application that comes with the phone is pretty good and the GPS “locate me” feature works well for me (fast, accurate with good precision).

But there is no way to see the current location in latitude / longitude format while on the phone!? Not quite an ArcPad. But perhaps forthcoming 3rd party aps will improve the situation.

When I take a picture this information is embedded but when emailing the photo the EXIF tags with the GPS coordinates are stripped out. These tags are visible in Photoshop and other advanced graphic software. Only by synching via iPhoto on the Mac gets the photo of the iPhone with the EXIF intact.

airme


I am enjoying AirMe for taking quick shots and uploading them to Flickr. Strangely enough it uses the GPS to know what country, state, and town to tag the images with (heck, it even puts in the weather conditions as tags) but drops the latitude and longitude. But so does the default Photos ap from Apple when emailing photos so there seems to be a larger problem here. None of the photo aps allow me to locate the photos that I have taken on a map while on the phone.

Photo sites that support GPS coords include (source):

Travel / Sports Sites

where iphone

When it works (their servers are getting overwhelmed), Where provides some great GPS-enabled location based services gathering locations and plotting them onto a Google map centered on your current position. These include a general “Local Search”, Zip car locations, Yelp, Starbucks, and Gas Buddy. My favorite is “HeyWhatsThat” (Peak). It uses SRTM terrain information to build a horizon elevation profile and labels significant mountain peaks that are visible.

There are also several aps that broadcast your current location to the world. These include Whrrl and Loopt. Sci-fi amazing and creepy at the same time.

River Guide for Kayakers reports real time streamflow information throughout the US via the USGS. Good use of regions and states breadcrumbs / categories to hone down the display when not using the GPS or looking wider afield than your current location

Features I’m looking for in future iPhone photo / mapping aps:

  • Live GPS tracking (storing of the route).
  • Location tagging
  • Attach photos to location (location is created on capture of photo)
  • See all photos in an album on the map as icons
  • Click on the photo icon in map view get a big view of the photo
  • Attach a longer text description to each location, not just the name
  • Export and export to GPX format
  • Export and export to KML format

Mapping sites with other nice features:

  • Nokia Sports Tracker – GPS camera phone makes it easy to record a jog and then post it online. Decent map with Start, Stop, critical points (fastest, slowest speeds; lowest, highest elevations), photos. Includes workout profile (speed, altitude) graph. Includes summary with times, duration, distance, speed, pace, altitude, etc.
  • Panoramio – Good use of location breadcrumbs. Several “modes” showing large photo (with title), local area map, regional map. The actual latitude and longitude are displayed. Includes tags, EXIF metadata, and viewing stats.
  • EveryTrail – Does a better job of recording discussion about the entire trip / route / album. Trip map with photos as clickable icons. Large photo view. Includes lat-long display. Easy to “swip” the previous and next photos, or see in a “list” format.
  • MapMyRide – Ability to tag non-photo locations / waypoints on the map. Display of mile / km markers along longer routes / tracks.

Sometimes the best iPhone “aps” are actually just iPhone optimized websites.

Weather Underground is a perfect example. They have Current weather, Radar, Forecast, and Warnings. The screenshot here is large as viewed on my computer web browser instead of the iPhone. The iPhone’s display is twice the resolution of my monitor so halve the size. Tap the buttons on the phone version to auto scroll to that location on the page.

weather underground