Offline maps - general solution about to release

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by mrzzheng, Dec 12, 2009.

  1. mrzzheng macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2009
    #1
    --- Updated on Dec. 25, 2009 ---
    MERRY X-MAS TO ALL! I bring you with a huge update on iPhone Offline Map Kit (iOMK). During the past week I completed the first usable version. It is _PURE_JAVA_, meaning that you can run on every platform, Win32, Linux, OSX, etc. It features:
    * Downloading map tiles from several sources including google maps
    * Converting map tiles to iPhone map DB format (OS 3.x);
    * Joining several DB files into one.
    It is extremely handy to use. When I tested I happened to need to travel to Chicago from UIUC. I made 3 DBs at the beginning, a UIUC map with zoom level 1-17, a Chicago map with zoom level 1-17, and a map of area between the 2 cities along I-57 of zoom level 1-13. Then I joined the 3 maps into one (~350MB), and it worked like a charm on my 3GS! As I have seen this is the best trade-off, since we need detailed maps for cities, but for interstate areas/highways zoom level 13 is more than enough. This tool gives you extreme flexibility of creating maps combined of different shapes of regions and/or different zoom levels. I have several screenshots for you. I will begin alpha and beta test after Jan. 1st, so if you are interested in participating, please follow me at twitter: mrzzheng, shoot me a message to let me know. http://twitter.com/mrzzheng

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    --- Original post ---
    Hi all,

    This is at first an investigation post - I want to see how many would be interested in a general solution for iPhone offline maps, including:
    * Download caches from google map or other sites (live maps, google china map, etc.) on all platforms (Perl script based)
    * Transform downloaded caches to iPhone offline maps on all platforms (Java program)
    * A little iPhone map/POI/directions switching tool, maybe integrated with iFile, supporting up to latest 3.1.2

    The key advantage of this is that it is available on all platforms (Win/Linux/OSX) and supports the latest iPhone OS. Also, it will be free. I have been using these things myself to build my own offline maps, and I want to see the value to release it to public.

    If you are interested then you may want to follow me (mrzzheng) at twitter.
    Thanks.
     
  2. Blinkwing macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2009
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #2
    An offline Google maps cache would be very useful. If it was released, you'd pretty much only be paying for aGPS data instead of aGPS + Google maps data.
     
  3. mrzzheng thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2009
    #3
    As a matter of fact you can completely turn off your data connection since aGPS locating itself does not require a data connection. An added benefit is that Maps.app with offline map data works faster than that downloaded on-the-fly from 3G.

    I will be releasing this tool to
    http://mrzzheng.blogspot.com/

    However since I am doing this in my spare time and want to guarantee its quality, please expect slow progress.
     
  4. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    #4
    I thought it was against google maps terms of use to store the map data for offline use?
     
  5. Blinkwing macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2009
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #5
    I don't recall signing their ToS when going to maps.google.com, so I don't really see an issue there.
     
  6. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    #6
    This is true but you need to use the google APIs to pull that data to make it useful in anything but the environment they provide.

    http://code.google.com/apis/maps/terms.html

    sections 10.3 10.4 and 10.6
     
  7. mrzzheng thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2009
    #7
    trainguy77, this is not true. I looked at the link you posted, but my solution does NOT use Google Map APIs, hence I don't think the ToS applies here.
     
  8. labman macrumors 604

    labman

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2009
    Location:
    Mich near Detroit
    #8
    well I'm say I'm intrested

    anything that makes my iphone experience better! also does this solution work any where including overseas? not that I can afford to go overseas asking for other or if I win the lotto! ;)
     
  9. mrzzheng thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2009
    #9
    Should be. Just follow my twitter so that when it is out you can have a test drive overseas then tell me how it works. :D
     
  10. dazey macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2005
    #10
    This application exists for jailbroken phones (I use it). My understanding (as others) is that google does not approve. None of the official offline maps applications work in this way and some applications (e.g. motiongps) have caching but don't cache with google maps.
    http://code.google.com/p/iphoneofflinemap/
    The tool for creating maps is GMDL (windows application)
     
  11. mrzzheng thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2009
    #11
    I also used these tools before. However, it lacks support of latest firmware (3.1.x) and uses a slow method to copy map caches (think of copying a file of 500M on your iPhone!). Also, GMDL is a win app but I use mac for the most time and it would also be good to be able to produce map data on a Linux server sometimes (you can think of my map download tool as a Java version of GMDL with more controls over map data, such as combining two iPhone map dbs into one). However my solution also requires a jailbroken iPhone.
     
  12. TheSpaz macrumors 604

    TheSpaz

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2005
    #12
    Will this work on 2.2.1? I don't have a data plan but I would still like to be able to use Maps while on the road.
     
  13. mrzzheng thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2009
    #13
    3.x support comes first since 2.x and 3.x have slightly different map db formats. However just check my twitter for any update. The additional support for 2.x db format should be trivial.
     
  14. trainguy77 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    #14
    Then I think that breaches the maps terms of use.

    Please don't get me wrong. I like the idea! However, I want to be sure you don't hit roadblocks when you submit it to apple for approval. Assuming it will be for non-jailbroken phones.

    EDIT: look up oMaps. They have a similar idea, however in the FAQ they state why they don't use google for the maps.

    EDIT2: I missed the part about your app needing to have jailbroken phone. In that case you don't need to worry about apple approving your app.
     
  15. mrzzheng thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2009
    #15
    Interested testers needed

    Hi all,

    I am about to begin alpha (and later beta) tests of this product. I am very excited (partially because of the x-mas holidy :D) to let you know the latest update - it is usable now and works very well, giving my iPhone Maps.app a totally new feeling. For detailed info on the update, please check the original post.

    Thanks & Merry Christmas.
     
  16. mrzzheng thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2009
    #16
    Thanks for your input! Actually I've been more focus on the desktop side application. iOMK is a pure Java desktop application giving you full flexibility of creating various types of iPhone map DB files. It enables you to create extremely customized maps in iPhone's Maps.app format. When I can combine different maps with irregular shapes, various zoom levels together, I don't really need those tools such as "map switching tools" on iPhone.

    Best,

     

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