Introducing the MapBox iOS SDK

April 17 2012 by Justin Miller

We’re proud to introduce our MapBox iOS SDK, a powerful open source tool that lets developers on Apple’s iPhone and iPad build custom, high performance maps with tight integration into MapBox Hosting, offline maps capabilities, embedded interactivity, and gorgeous customizability by leveraging our design studio TileMill.

We’re kicking off this beta release with a suite of resources that we hope to enhance going forward.

SDK codebase

Open source on GitHub and based on the popular Route-Me mapping library, our SDK is everything you need to add custom maps to your app. Pan, pinch, and zoom and watch your map instantly snap into place. We will continue to develop enhancements to the codebase and merge in improvements and bug fixes from the open source community. You can follow the issue queue to track our progress and open feature requests of your own.

Custom styled maps

Get direct integration with MapBox Streets, providing worldwide block-level coverage based on high quality open data from OpenStreetMap. MapBox Streets comes in a variety of gorgeous preset color schemes or you can customize the features of your map to fit the look and feel of your app. This is all built right into the control panel of your MapBox.com user account, letting you change the colors of the base map in seconds. It’s a beautiful alternative to Google Maps.

Overview documentation

We’ve created general documentation on the installation of the tools, major parts of the SDK, and the use of the main classes. Read this if you want a solid technical overview. We are also looking into Xcode-native API documentation available in an Atom feed. We really like what projects like BlocksKit have done with this. Follow the enhancement request on this for future updates.

Example iOS app

We’ve built a simple open source app showing use of online, offline, and embedded interactivity map layers in a straightforward iPhone example. We’ll continue to update this app as our API and features evolve.

Mobile apps guide

We have a planning resource for developers thinking about mobile apps - pointers to technology and examples and important considerations for thinking about maps in a mobile context.

Support resources

On our support site, we’ve created a public forum for discussing use of the SDK in your own apps. Like the rest of our support site, we hope to grow the discussion archive here and continually make it more useful to app developers.

Go make an app!

While this is a beta release, we are planning to evolve the SDK rapidly in the coming months. We’re sure that the year of the open map still has a lot of surprises in store and we want to remain on the forefront of the most dynamic mobile platform as they continue. Go give our SDK or example app a spin and see how you easily you can start using custom maps created with open source tools in your own development.