Open source, offline, custom mapping on the iPad

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Excerpt

The MapBox team has been creating offline and mobile map browsing experiences that make it possible for users to better take advantage of geo-visualizations when working in the field. This presentation will focus specifically on the development of the MapBox iPad application, looking at the use cases that drove its development and the open source software stack that made it possible.

Description

The MapBox team has been hard at work creating offline and mobile map browsing experiences that make it possible for users to better take advantage of geo-visualizations when working in the field. This presentation will focus specifically on the development of the MapBox iPad application, looking both at the use cases that drove its development and the open source software stack that made it possible to create.

The MapBox iPad application is a new, free app that brings custom, interactive, offline-capable maps and geo-visualizations to the iPad. Users can overlay and explore data from a number of sources – including custom tilesets, OpenStreetMap, KML, and GeoRSS. Point clustering, map view saving and loading, easy sharing of map snapshots, and collaboration with other apps on the system are also important features of this app.

In order to make this all possible, the MapBox team made use of open source map rendering libraries and also created some new code of our own. Simple KML is an open source, iOS-native Objective-C KML parsing library based on the also-open source TouchXML. In addition we created the open SQLite-based MBTiles offline tile exchange format to cleanly bundle full tilesets and open source code to support it for map rendering. Along the way, we learned what it takes to work without Apple’s closed mapping libraries on the iPad and iPhone and in a more open environment.

Session attendees will learn about the decision making process that went into choosing high value features for offline and mobile map browsing that could be leveraged in their own mobile GIS app development, and they will also learn about some of the open source tools they could use in their own mobile app development work.

Speaking experience

Speaker

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    Justin Miller

    Mapbox

    Biography

    Justin began the mobile efforts at Mapbox in 2010 and today helps lead development of the iOS and Android SDKs, works on experimental prototyping, and assists with teambuilding efforts. He’s been working in Apple’s programming environments for fifteen years, programming professionally for twenty, and has a background in systems administration, web development, and building startups. He ran a solo consultancy for five years during the early days of the app stores, creating apps for clients and for himself. In his free time, Justin enjoys world travel, photography, hiking, and baking pies.