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There are three important things to know about the foundation of map-related applications in the iPad and iPhone arena. Apps rely on three important tools: MapKit, CoreLocation, and the MKAnnotationView class reference. As I have indicated, we are not going to involve ourselves with how these sophisticated tools work so much as to practice the art of deciding when to reach for which tool in your newly expanded toolbox. Among other things, these tools allow us to display maps in our applications, to use annotations, to work with something called Geocoding (which works with longitude and latitude), and to interact with our location (via CoreLocation). When we want to interact effortlessly with Google Maps, we will use the Apple-provided MapKit framework. When we want to get our location or do cool things using GPSsatellite technology (with Google Maps), we will use the CoreLocation framework. Finally, when we want to place pins on a map, create references, draw chevron marks, or insert an image of your dog showing where he is on a map, we will call these annotations and, thus, use MKAnnotationView.
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Preinstalled MapKit Apps
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So that you can take maximum advantage of the new ideas presented in this chapter, and be prepared to stretch and expand into a new level of creativity, we will first go on a little tour of existing apps, preinstalled on the iPad and iPhone. It is important that you become familiar with these so that you can more easily add bells and whistles to your own creations on top of these ready-made map apps, as described at Apple.com.
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CHAPTER 9: MapKit
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The Find Locations app (see Figure 9 1), preinstalled on iPhone 3GS and iPad, finds your location quickly and accurately via GPS, Wi-Fi, and cellular towers. Drop a pin to mark your location or share it with others via email or MMS.
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Figure 9 1. Find Locations a powerful zooming map function on the iPhone/iPad.
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CHAPTER 9: MapKit
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Shown in Figure 9 2, the preinstalled Get Directions app lets you view a list of turn-byturn directions or follow a highlighted map route and track your progress with GPS. You specify whether you d like walking or driving directions, or see what time the next train or bus leaves with public transit directions.
Figure 9 2. Get Directions use this in conjunction with, or in lieu of, the visual map (with highlighted route).
CHAPTER 9: MapKit
See Which Way You re Facing
In the preinstalled See Which Way You re Facing app, shown in Figure 9 3, a built-in digital compass rotates maps so that they always match the direction you re facing. You can also use the compass on its own.
Figure 9 3. See which way you re facing shows your orientation with built-in compass (on Model 3GS).
CHAPTER 9: MapKit
See Traffic
The preinstalled iPhone app See Traffic, illustrated in Figure 9 4, shows you live traffic information, indicating traffic speed along your route in easy-to-read green, red, and yellow highlights.
Figure 9 4. See Traffic one of many possibilities when running Maps on iPhone/iPad.
CHAPTER 9: MapKit
Search for a Location
In the Search For A Location mode, shown in Figure 9 5, you can find locations by address or by keyword. For example, search for coffee to see every cafe near you. When you find what you re looking for, tap the phone number to call (on the iPhone), tap the web address to open the website in Safari, or add it to Contacts for future reference.
Figure 9 5. The Search For A Location mode is a quick and powerful capability that brings specific destination information to your fingertips.
CHAPTER 9: MapKit
Change Your View
The preinstalled Change Your View app, shown in Figure 9 6, lets you switch between map view, satellite view, hybrid view, and street view. You can double-tap or pinch to zoom in and out.
Figure 9 6. The Change Your View mode is a standard feature of Maps on iPhone/iPad.
CHAPTER 9: MapKit
Cool and Popular MapKit Apps to Inspire You
I found that it really helped my students when, after showing them the prebuilt apps, we spent some time to review some super-cool third-party MapKit apps to inspire them and get their brains storming. So, imagine you are sitting with us and taking this brief tour as well. Here are nine MapKit apps that caught my eye, some of which I use regularly. MapMyRide: This is a MapKit app I use all the time. I simply turn it on and start riding around on my bike. It tracks my speed, time, and mileage, as well as the elevation I ride. It then takes into account my age, gender, and body weight, and it tells me how many calories I burned. [On a good day, I can almost burn off two doughnuts!] The point is that this application calculates all these things while I m just riding along huffing and puffing! When I get home, I can see the route on my computer. It does most of its work by using and manipulating preinstalled MapKit apps. QuikMaps: This is a do-it-yourself map app that allows you to doodle on the map. It integrates with a number of places, including your website, Google Earth, or even your GPS. 360 Cities The World In Virtual Reality: This shows 360-degree panoramas of over 50 world cities and 6000 panoramas. It is the perfect technology for real estate agents, tour guides, and adventurers. Cool Maps 7 Wonders of the World: This shows the seven wonders of the ancient world, and the seven wonders of the modern world, including natural wonders, underwater wonders, strange wonders, and local wonders. I am impressed with how slick the programmers have made the touch and feel of the app. Blipstar: This app converts Internet business URL addresses to their corresponding brick and-mortar stores, presented on a cool map. Twitter Spy: This app lets people see where the person who is tweeting them is currently located. Yep wacky and crazy, but true. Geo IP Tool: This app displays the longitude and latitude information of businesses on the Web, and then shows you the best ways to get there. Map Tunneling Tool: This one is just funny and clever. Imagine where you would come out if you began digging a hole straight down from wherever. Is the answer always China Tall Eye: This app shows you where you will go if you walk directly, in a straight line, around the earth, starting at one point and staying on a specific bearing all the way around.
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