Thursday, September 20, 2012

Maply - First Look

I've been busily working on an a sister toolkit to WhirlyGlobe called Maply.  It's a flat map based on the same technology.

It's working well enough to show.  So with minimal fanfare, here it is.

That video is recorded live off an iPad using AirPlay.  It results in a very clear picture, but it's not doing justice to the interactivity and you can't see where I tap.  Still, it gets the point across.


The video covers the details pretty well, but here's a quick list of features Maply supports.

  • Image tile sets - Maply can page image data from a local repository (e.g. MapBox Tiles) or from a remote one (e.g. OpenStreetMap).
  • Vectors - A developer can overlay their own data set, such as the country one shown above.
  • Markers - Marker images can be overlaid in both screen space and 3D.
  • Labels - Same for label text.
  • Selection - All vectors, markers, and labels are selectable.  Developers can make of that what they will.
  • UIView overlay - Maply can associate a UIView with a geolocation and track it around accordingly.  This is nice for selection boxes or something custom enough to require a UIView.

Technical Details

I imply that Maply is separate toolkit from WhirlyGlobe.  In fact, it's not.  There are a few unique objects for each, but the vast majority of code is shared.  Far more than I was expecting, actually.

It's all checked in to github in the develop branch, so if you're extremely daring... though I wouldn't recommend it.  I'll do a beta release for the Maply Component in the next few weeks.  Wait for that.

Future Stuff

Maply is likely to be the far more popular option so I'll surreptitiously rebrand a lot of the low level Whirly objects as Maply.  WhirlyGlobe will remain, though most of it can now handle both WhirlyGlobe and Maply display systems.

With the early releases of WhirlyGlobe I focused on the toolkit and only later came out with the WhirlyGlobe Component.  This time I'm reversing that.  The focus is on the Maply Component with the low level API being secondary.

What's next is tuning.  The gesture recognizers could use some work, I haven't even hooked up the most interesting feature (It's 3D, you don't need to look straight down), and there are always a thousand little issues that turn up when you use it in a real app.

I'd like a real client project to drive that and "real" means money.  If you have one, let me know.  Maply is ready to to be the custom map engine for your app.

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