Thursday, April 11, 2013

Smartphone Mobile App Mapping APIs

Professor Hanan Samet, from University of Maryland, will speak on "Duking it out at the Smartphone Mobile App Mapping API Corral: Apple, Google, and the Competition",  at the Australian National University in Canberra, 17 April 2013.
The recent introduction of the Apple iPhone 5 and the accompanying iOS6 software environment which, among other changes, replaced the use of the Google Maps API in iOS5 by Apple's own Maps API, has led to significant changes in the user experience with apps that make use of maps and has resulted in closer scrutiny of mapping applications on mobile devices. Many of these changes in the user experience deal with the quality of the data that is being produced and presented to the user, and has led to a wide ranging discussion of data quality and the seeming lack of quality assurance policies and protocols by Apple. These are widely documented in web postings. However, equally important are significant changes in the manner in which the data is presented to the user, but, surprisingly, not much attention has been paid to this aspect of the user experience which is somewhat analogous to the concept of the ``last mile'' when discussing the bandwidth of communications networks and its associated costs. The changes in the presentation and in the amount of data that are presented to the user on the Apple mapping platform, with an emphasis on mobile devices with a small form factor such as smartphones, are tabulated and compared along with other mapping platforms such as the iOS apps of ESRI, MapQuest, and OpenSeaMap (using the open source map data of OpenStreetMap), as well as Bing Maps and Nokia Maps for which no iOS app exists and thus the corresponding mobile web versions are used. Both the pre-iOS6 and post-iOS6 versions of the Google Maps API are included. * Best Paper Award, 1st ACM SIGSPATIAL International Workshop on Mobile Geographic Information Systems (MobiGIS 2012), Redondo Beach, CA, November 2012 ** Joint work with Brendan C. Fruin and Sarana Nutanong

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