Under The Bridge Under The Bridge

Tag: mapping
DIY Coronavirus Tracking

Everybody enjoying their shelter in place, we trust? Yes, it’s interesting times indeed, especially here at Trollwerks Manor in downtown Bangkok where we’ve been working the last while for a big OTA — a particularly challenged industry, that is! And of course we’d like to do something mashing up travel and coronavirus stats … but, as you’ve no doubt heard, Apple isn’t letting any indie apps tracking coronavirus be published.

However, if you’d like to roll your own, several people have stepped up and published their efforts on Github:

Covidcheck:

Covidcheck is an app that allows people to track COVID-19 cases in an easy-to-use interface to increase awareness and preparation. Unfortunately, Apple has rejected Covidcheck as the App Store Review Guidelines require that medical apps are published by medical institutions, so I’ve open sourced Covidcheck under a very free license with the intent that people can use it for any purpose…

CoronaVirusTrackerSwiftUI:

  • Current statistics of global total confirmed, deaths, recovered cases.
  • Statistics of countries and regions total cases count
  • World map with annotation pin and description of affected regions
  • Datasets is provided by ArcGIS Esri Corona Virus dataset.
  • Basic advice to prevent and handle virus, myth busters Q&A from WHO.

CoronaTracker:

  • Live data: Shows the most recent data, and updates automatically.
  • Distribution map with two levels of details:
  • Countries: When the user zooms out. Fewer details and reduced clutter.
  • Cities: When the user zooms in. More details.
  • Charts:Current state chart for all countries (and cities).
  • Timeline chart for all countries (and cities).
  • Top affected countries chart with info about every country.
  • Option for using a logarithmic scale.
  • Search for countries & cities.
  • Share stats & charts as images.
  • Today widget for worldwide stats (Contributed by Piotr Ożóg).
  • Red color scale: Reflects the number of confirmed cases. In addition to increasing circle size.
  • Statistics: Including the number of confirmed, recovered, and deaths, in addition to percents.
  • iPad & macOS support.

Even if you’re not looking for a Corona-chan live feed of your own, check these out for some nice design ideas for presenting geographical information!

And if you do have the skills and time to actually do something useful, check out this list of 

awesome-coronavirus

Open source projects, datasets, apps, hackathons, and even hardware — contribute if you can, pass along if you can’t, and above all, stay safe, Dear Readers!

Libraries: Mapping

So today, let’s pull together a roundup of all the mapping options for your iPhone development, shall we?

1) First off, you’re no doubt aware much of the Maps.app functionality is exposed to any developer through MapKit.framework in OS 3.0 — and for earlier versions you can do more or less the same working with iphone-google-maps-component as we mentioned ages ago. However, if you’re actually planning on making any money off it, the terms of service may very well be an issue. We’ll have to see how that works out.

2) As an alternative to Google, there’s VirtualEarthKit for Microsoft Virtual Earth [now Bing Maps], also discussed previously here. Unless there’s some specific reason to prefer this, it would seem the path of least resistance has definitely tilted toward 1) with the imminent MapKit.framework now, though.

3) There’s the commercial/free ad-supported option of mapNinja which we mentioned when released a couple months ago, which looks interesting but again probably superseded by official SDK developments.

4) The apparently most popular current option is the BSD-licensed route-me library which, yet again, we mentioned earlier, and can use a variety of sources.

5) And finally, one we actually have not posted about before! Yes, you were starting to wonder why a post with nothing but rehashes, weren’t you? Well, this one looks particularly interesting; the great folks at CloudMade, who wrap assorted useful functionality around OpenStreetMap, now have an iPhone Maps Library! [EDIT: Discontinued.]

The iPhone Maps Library lets you build interactive mapping applications for the iPhone. With this API you can

  • Build applications that give users a rich mapping experience on the iPhone
  • Benefit from our tile servers which deliver mobile optimized maps to your users
  • Easily integrate with the iPhone’s location API to show your user’s position in real time

Just like our other APIs, we don’t want to restrict the uses of this API – you are free to create applications that use our maps in any way you like, as long as they comply with the terms of the iPhone SDK agreement. What’s more, this library is open source – so you are free to extend and re-use it as you want.

Well, that’s excellent, isn’t it? The reasonably friendly LGPL for the source license, can’t beat the CC-by-SA data license anywhere, and their API appears to have good documentation, examples, and most important of all, other people have already selected it to do cool stuff with; the apparently well-regarded Trails and OffMaps are reportedly both using the CloudMade library.

So there you go; as long as you’re targeting 2.x users, we’d say that CloudMade deserves to be at the top of your short list for implementation options, and depending on licensing terms, probably even if 3.0 dependence is OK.

‘Course, what we really want to do is get our own topo maps onto the device — come now, if you’re on a ROAD, how much do you really need a map for, after all? — so whenever we get around to seriously comparing libraries, pretty much our only criterion is “so how do we swap our own local tile provider in here then?” which the existence of OffMaps seems to indicate makes the CloudMade stuff the leading candidate for that too!