App Gallery Update: featuring new cool apps and presenting more categories

Another update of our App Gallery brings some new  examples of impressive CloudMade-powered apps and shows how location continues to enhance user experiences for web and mobile services. The range of applications presented in our app gallery is becoming really wide, and it now includes such categories as Navigation, Travel, Business, Reference, Healthcare and Fitness, Utilities, Entertainment and Productivity. Here you can see some newly added apps that we’ve found especially interesting.

Fahrtenbuch is a must-have app for anyone who needs to track mileage for tax deduction or reimbursement. This app is the #1 choice “driver’s log” in Germany, and it is the first one to have full iCal integration. CloudMade Geocoding and Routing services have been used in it.

5_fahrten

Choosing a restaurant or a bar for the evening? Drinktown will help you to make that choice by telling you about all the food and drink specials near you. The website is updated daily by tens of thousands of members, and it is very easy to use since it allows you to sort data by day of the week, special type or just browse the beautifully styled map to find nearby deals.

drinktown

With the Next Time iPhone app using reminders has become extremely efficient, since it now takes into account your location. You can create a list of locations and set reminders for those. Next Time will run in the background to alert you of your reminders the next time you’re at the location. The app is using CloudMade Geocoding and Map Tiles.

nexttime

TrackMyJourney-Mobile is a multi-function recreational navigation and mapping application for Java/J2ME and BlackBerry phones. It receives its location coordinates by communicating via Bluetooth with a separate GPS receiver, or via the phones internal GPS if supported. The data is then sent to TrackMyJourney website where you can then share your location and recorded tracks with your friends. The app uses CloudMade Geocoding, Map Tiles, Routing, StyleEditor and Web Maps API.

trackmyjourney

French cycling fans might get interested in Geovelo – a cycling route planner that uses OpenStreetMap data and takes into account not only distance, but also safety. Geovelo maps created with CloudMade Style Editor perfectly complement the impressive design of the website.

geovelo1

You can see more location based apps that use CloudMade services in our App Gallery. If you are interested in trying out those free tools and APIs  yourself, sign up to our Developer Zone.  And maybe your outstanding app will be among thoses featured in our App Gallery soon!

November 17th, 2010 - Posted by in featured apps, iPhone, news, style editor

More examples of CloudMade-powered apps, more great ways to use location

Our app gallery is growing fast, and with every new addition it’s clear that combining  CloudMade’s tools and services with great ideas and skills from developers results in some extremely powerful, compelling products. Take a look at some of  the latest updates to our gallery below:

Galileo Offline Maps is a mobile app that can be used on a daily basis or while traveling. This app allows users to import maps from a computer to an iPhone or iPad and then view them in offline mode. Being able to choose from five attractive CloudMade map styles makes the use of the app a real pleasure. CloudMade tools used to create this app include GeocodingRouting and Style Editor.

galileo_ipad

“CloudMade provides plenty of stylish and good-looking map styles which please even the most fastidious users.” – Evgen Bodunov, galileo-app.com

Travelers who own Macs should be really excited about Knapsack 2 app. This new version of Outer Level’s personal travel planner, built with our Geocoding and Web Maps Studio, adds interactive maps with street level detail and world-wide search. Knapsack allows you to lay out your travel plans, destinations, activities, and can be even used as a trip journal.

knapsackMainMapScreen

“Our customers wanted a searchable world map with street level detail and CloudMade was the perfect solution.” – Jon Trainer, Knapsack

iGMap proves that products created with CloudMade tools are not only really cool, but can also meet the most diverse needs. iGMap iPhone app is a virtual GPS designed for use with the desktop flight simulators. It provides a wireless hand-held moving map display to aid navigation, especially useful on VFR flights, while saving valuable screen real-estate on the desktop, and uses iOS devices to display the current position of the aircraft. The app was built with CloudMade’s StyleEditor and Web Maps API.

igmap2

“CloudMade services allow a small company to deliver cutting edge mapping solutions while targeting a niche market – without the prohibitive cost.” – Fermin Fernandez, FSWidgets

Thanks to developers of Map My Tracks, outdoor sports and fitness enthusiasts have their own social network now. With this website they can easily track, review & share outdoor activities with friends & family. Map My Tracks provides a comprehensive range of tools to help better understand how your training session went and keep a central log of all your outdoor activities.

mapmytracks

“The flexibility of CloudMade’s API mean that we can always deliver the maps we want.” – Nick Tatt, Map My Tracks

If you like Map My Tracks and plan to use it, you should really consider complementing it with this OutFront app. Not only will this app allow you to measure speed, pace, calories burned, duration, elevation gain/loss and much more for each activity you do, but it will also give you an an easy way to share information about your outdoor activities live on Map My  Tracks, Facebook or Twitter. CloudMade Map TilesStatic Maps and iPhone SDK were used to create this app.

outfront

“Using CloudMade’s iPhone SDK made it super easy to add maps to our iPhone app. That, and reliability make CloudMade our first choice map provider.” - Nick TattMap My Tracks

Cycling fans will enjoy using Bike Hub, also  called a ‘satnav for cyclists’. It displays clever short-cuts and bicycle-friendly routes on OpenCycleMap, cutting journey times for many users. The feature I really like is ‘bike shop finder – a simple button that can call up UK bike shops within a six mile radius of an iPhone. Map Tiles and iPhone SDK are CloudMade tools used in this app.

BikeHubScreen

Cloudmade API provides the slippy maps within the app and helps to fast-track the development of all the map interactions that users have.”Carlton Reid, BikeHub.co.uk

Want to see more CloudMade-powered apps?  Check out our Application Gallery.

Inspired by these cool examples and feel that you could create something great yourself? Sign up to our developer zone and try out our free tools and services.

November 2nd, 2010 - Posted by in api, featured apps, for developers, iPhone, style editor

iPhone Static Framework

Problem with iPhone code sharing

As we all know Apple has not left developers opportunity to create frameworks for iPhone. However, there are a lot of situations when code has to be shared between different projects or even distributed to others developers.

Alternatives
There are a few approaches for the code sharing or distributing. Firstly, code can be shared/distributed as a source code. Although this approach is quite straightforward and XCode provides a good mechanism for including XCode project to another project, developers have to do some extra steps such as setup dependencies and path for headers. On the one hand it seems quite simple for the experienced developers, on the other it might be a problem for the new developers .

Second approach is to distribute code as a static library. This approach is well known and is used widely in Linux/Unix development thus a lot of developers are familiar with it. However, there are some disadvantages of using it in iPhone development which relate to dynamic nature of Objective-C. The problem is that static libraries are normally used for C/C++ code which has neither properties nor categories and so when, for example, Objective-C category is wrapped in static library a developer has explicitly to set additional linker options:

-ObjC
-all_load

If developer forgets to set the options mentioned above he will get runtime error “unrecognized selector sent to instance”

Static Framework
The most suitable alternative, in my opinion, is a ’static framework’. The idea behind is to force compiler to believe that it uses normal iPhone framework whereas shared libraries are substituted by static libraries. Thus if you have the code you want to share as a static library it is quite easy to transform it into a framework. Afterwords such framework can be added to a project without any extra efforts from the developer’s side.

How to create a Static framework
Since there is no option to build frameworks for iPhone in XCode I recommend using a static framework. To build it into XCode MacOS framework template should be used. Static framework has the same structure as a normal framework. Only a few extra steps have to be done:
link together static library for iPhone Simulator and iPhone Device
add file from the previous step to framework bundle

To make it easy we will write a shell script which does all the work. We will use a lipo utility which is distributed with XCode installation. This utility allows to link a few libraries into one file. Afterwords this file will be copied to the framework bundle and appropriate links will be created.

FRAMEWORK=”${BUILT_PRODUCTS_DIR}/${PRODUCT_NAME}.framework”
lipo \”${BUILD_DIR}/${CONFIGURATION}-iphoneos/libDev.a” “${BUILD_DIR}/${CONFIGURATION}-iphonesimulator/lib Sim.a” -create -output “${FRAMEWORK}/Versions/Current/${PRODUCT_NAME}”cd “${FRAMEWORK}” && ln -sf “Versions/Current/${PRODUCT_NAME}” ./

This script should be added into a project as a build phase script through the project menu. As a result we get a static framework containing code which now can be easily shared.

LINKS

Mac OS Frameworks

lipo man page

Static Framework

May 10th, 2010 - Posted by Nick Black in api, for developers, iPhone

Going for Gold at Mobile World Congress

MPAFinal_logo

We recently found out that we’ve been selected as a finalist for the Mobile Premier Awards, the equivalent of the Oscars for mobile start-ups at the world’s largest mobile conference, Mobile World Congress.

The awards replace the popular Mobile Monday Peer Awards from which companies such as Fring, Plazes and Opera have risen to great heights.

This year’s awards have some heavy hitting sponsors including: BlackBerry, 02 Limtus, RCR Wireless, Mashable and Tech Crunch and if past year’s events are anything to go by, will attract the most influential movers and shakers of the mobile industry.

mPA

It’s by no means a small feat to be selected as a finalist considering the quality of the other 250 start-ups that were initially chosen, including companies such as Layar and Waze.

CloudMade was voted by the Silicon Valley chapter of Mobile Monday as its nomination for the awards. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the chapter for choosing us and plan to follow through on stage with a compelling presentation when we pitch our products and company to leading VC’s, handset makers, operators and press.

We feel that we’ve made it to the finals because of our unique product offerings, including our comprehensive and flexible mapping platform which is the only one available built solely for developers. It empowers mobile and web developers by giving them the freedom to create exactly the type of apps they envisage, and allows handset vendors and operators to take control of their own destiny, by giving them a key control point for their mobile business to make successful business ventures.

Combine this with our innovative mapping tools that allow anyone to easily contribute to OpenStreetMap, and we’re well on the way to the democratization of geo data and expanding access to it.

Good luck to the other start-ups and we look forward to taking to the stage on February 15th in Barcelona. We hope you can join us.

For more information or to register for The Mobile Premier Awards click here

Here’s more about our latest product offerings:

Data Market Place, a market place offering a wide variety of rich, pre-integrated third-party commercial datasets for developers to add to CloudMade maps.

Navi Studio, a suite of tools that make it simple to build fully featured turn-by-turn navigation apps for all major mobile platforms.

iPhone SDK, allows developers to add customized maps, geocoding and routing to iPhone applications with ease.

Mapzen and Mapzen POI Collector, allow anyone to easily contribute to OpenStreetMap and share their experiences via Facebook and Twitter

January 30th, 2010 - Posted by Nick Black in events, for developers, geodata, iPhone, news

November Round Up of CloudMade Powered Apps

Here’s November’s round-up of some of our favourite apps built on CloudMade’s platform:

OffMaps – Offline maps on your iPhone or iPod touch

Screen shot 2009-11-30 at 14.15.24

OffMaps is the smash hit iPhone application that lets you take your maps with you when you’re overseas and roaming. It’s also the perfect companion for iPod Touch users who’ve been buying OffMaps in droves.

OffMaps uses many of CloudMade’s iPhone SDK’s features including geocoding, local search, walking and vehicle directions to create a best selling user experience.

Dopplr – Social iPhone Travel Gudie

dopplr

Dopplr is a must-have service for regular travellers and their free iPhone app is a must have for iPhone owners who travel regularly. Dopplr iPhone makes use of CloudMade’s Style Editor to add beautifully customised maps to the application.

CBS – Do Cameras Make Intersections More Dangerous?

cbs

Its not just iPhone apps that can benefit from CloudMade’s geo platform. Global broadcaster CBS have just started using Web Maps Studio – a suite of tools designed to make it easy for web developers to add customised maps, content and more to websites. The CBS Red Light Cameras site took only hours to put together and demonstrates how easy it is to use Web Maps Studio to create a customized, great looking sites that overlay content on maps.

Oakland Crimespotting – How safe is your neighbourhood?

oakland-crimespotting

Oakland Crimespotting is a fascinating site that lets Oakland residents – or anyone else – view crime statistics for the city. The site uses a custom map style, created using the Style Editor to give visitors a unique experience. The site’s creators, choose to using CloudMade’s Specialist Toolkit – a range of tools and APIs that let advanced geo developers create highly customised map based applications.

November 30th, 2009 - Posted by Nick Black in featured apps, for developers, iPhone

Putting the Developer in Charge

Juha

Earlier on this year a smart VC, who multiple times has competed successfully against Google, told me that Google is generally willing to act as an “irrational economic player”. It’s willing to destroy value just so others can’t get at it, even if it means destroying value for itself.

Google just announced that it will offer navigation. Navigation has so far captured 70%+ of the $2 billion mapping market. The bad news for established navigation players like Tele Atlas and Navteq is that this will erode the value of navigation, just like the value of maps have been eroded. The good news for those players is that Google has now tipped its hand and shown that it’s willing to compete against the very ecosystem that it has been nurturing over the past couple of years.

Google’s strategy is to leverage maps, including navigation, to extend its current search franchise into local search. We’ve believed from day one of CloudMade that contextual search, using location data and some knowledge about the user (for example which app he/she is using) creates much more valuable CPM/CPC/CPAs. If you’re an advertiser or a merchant, you will pay more per impression if you know someone is a mountain biker and is near the bicycle mega store you own.

Google betting on one-size-fits all model
Google is betting on building a horizontal, local search franchise. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but please read on, it gets clearer. Google is building a one-size-fits-all set of services around mapping, and will serve the masses with those. Think about Google Maps, Latitude or Earth. They are horizontal one-size-fits-all web apps with little or no segmentation. Everyone uses the same app.

Meanwhile, in the process of building out end-user applications rather than sticking to being a platform player, Google is causing considerable collateral damage. Its move into the territory normally occupied by mobile operators, OEMs and small, medium and large developers is turning the marketplace against itself. The honeymoon is over and the do-no-evil days have ended. Google has declared any monetizable pocket in tech a target, including the key franchises of Apple, Microsoft, the mobile operators and now also mobile application developers. The problem with Google’s approach is, the value is not in horizontal services, but in leveraging the democratizing effect of the app stores to use the 100,000+ vertical apps as a way to divide the market into tiny segments and let them flourish and gain traction.

iphone

CloudMade believes vertical apps will inherently nano-segment the market
Most of the impressions that will hit consumers, and most searches that are contextually and location oriented, will occur through vertical apps. Take the mountain biker example. Where will I be more likely to respond if I want to a) navigate my mountain bike though a new trail and b) click on that ad from the bicycle mega store? A horizontal Google app, or a well crafted, vertical app written by a focused developer who understands my special interests? We believe the latter. We believe the mountain biking savvy, app developing expert who knows the hidden trails in his/her community will be better at providing relevance to local mountain bikers.

As I speak to mobile operators and handset manufacturers about the CloudMade business, it’s clear that most of the players understand the value of their immense reach, and want to pick long-term partners with whom they can build a franchise in local search, local advertising and local geo services.

It’s clear that Google’s latest move has served as a lighting rod for clarity in the value chain. Over the past days I have spoken to people throughout the ecosystem. So far, the uncertainty about what Google was doing has actually caused a lot of mobile operators, handset manufacturers and app developers to take a wait-and-see attitude. Now, with Google showing their hand, and making it clear that it’s willing to compete directly with substantial parts of the eco system to get at the local search market, we’re seeing that the wait-and-see is over. With Google choosing to go it alone rather than cooperate with the ecosystem, the ground rules have been laid down, and the competitive landscape is clear.

So what are we doing at CloudMade?
We’re building out our traction in the vertical mobile application area, signing developers within key categories that we believe will drive massive volume. This is a real micro-segmented approach, aimed at driving traffic to thousands of narrow verticals. We’re already seeing this scale.

Local, relevant ads: We’re jumping the learning curve on Location Based Advertising and Sponsored POIs. We’ll shortly be offering developers, mobile operators and handset manufacturers a revenue share on Sponsored POIs and ads that they include in their apps. This is big news to developers, who so far have had to depend on the modest revenues from selling apps at $0.99, $1.99 etc.

Data Marketplace: We’re building a massive marketplace for geo data. In fact, in a few weeks we have our “opening day” at the CloudMade Data Marketplace, the Turkish Bazar from which developers can choose a variety of content that they can mash into their maps. This will result in more app diversity, deeper functionality and even completely new types of vertical apps.

Offering for operators and handset manufacturers: CloudMade has created a super interesting set of propositions for mobile operators and handset manufacturers. We’re doing rev share deals with them where we work side-by-side to build franchises in the local geo spatial arena. We offer them onboard maps (built into their devices) and offboard maps (loaded from our servers), we offer them navigation jointly with our navigation partners and we offer up relationships with our many vertical app developers. For Tier 1, 2 and 3 operators and handset manufacturers this is turning out to be very compelling. The big differentiator is that the operators get to decide what the services look like, they get to brand them and they get to make money from them. That is as opposed to the alternative, which is to take someone else’s services, accept that they are all branded by someone else, who also pockets the ad revenues from them.

cloudmadestyle editor

We’re focusing on making maps look the way the merchants and developers want them to look. Through CloudMade’s Style Editor anyone, even non-technical people, can produce advanced, custom maps that reflect the brand and identity of their company or their customers company. We’ve found that many, especially those with no yellow in their corporate identity, prefer this to a one-size-fits-all yellow map.

Navigation: We’re continuing to ramp up our work with key players in the turn-by-turn navigation field to increase the scope for navigation solutions. We are building assets to help drive the verticalization of the field, so we see custom navigation for different verticals. Again, CloudMade doesn’t believe in one-size-fits-all. We think different types of navigation will require different types of apps. For example, if I’m hiking in the mountains I don’t care about roads. I want to navigate hiking trails, be directed to places where I can fill my water bottle, and I want to know where the vista points are.

Last, but not least, the most important component of CloudMade’ approach.

libs

Tools, tools, tools: CloudMade is focusing a lot of effort on the tools side. We believe that the best way we can serve the community of mappers and developers is to put all the control in their hands. We’ve demonstrated this through our efforts already, for example with our iPhone libraries. We’re similarly putting the control of Location Based Ads and Sponsored POIs into the hands of developers. Put yourself in the shoes of the vertical app developer. You know better than anyone else how your constituents want to be advertised to, what ads they want (and don’t want) to see and how to place those apps in your app.

Similarly, we’re readying a suite of tools that makes mapping easier, faster and more powerful.

mapzen

CloudMade’s web based Mapzen tool, and Mapzen POI Collector for iPhone will be available shortly. This suite of tools enables us to further serve the 180,000 person large OpenStreetMap community that is building the most detailed, finely textured and accurate map of the world. The community was founded by the founders of CloudMade, and most members of the CloudMade team are active members of the OpenStreetMap community. The map we’re building in the community is stunning in it’s detail. It’s essentially the Wikipedia of maps. After all, who knows better how to map a community than people who live in the community.

The Mapzen suite enables us to bridge the needs of app developers, who serve as a proxy for consumers in a given vertical segment, and the mappers, who are members of local communities or specialists in a certain type of mapping (e.g. mountain biking trails). Bridging the consumers needs for maps and the mappers’ desire to create maps that truly reflect their local community will result in mobile and web applications that both feature better maps and be more attractive to users.

So what’s the bottom line?
Over the next twelve months, we will see hundreds of thousands of vertical apps use maps and location services to better serve consumers with data about where they are, where they are going, how they get there and what is surrounding them at their location. We will see mappers collect map data that is highly relevant to local, narrow communities. We will see owners of diverse datasets make their data available though the Data Marketplace. In turn, we will see app developers jump on the opportunity and leverage the map data and Data Marketplace datasets into highly targeted, compelling and enchanting apps. Many will choose to monetize the apps through a combination of app store revenues as well as carefully selected Location Based Advertising and Sponsored POIs.

If you are with a larger company with a need for a mapping provider that does not compete with you email me at juha@cloudmade.com.

October 30th, 2009 - Posted by Emma Williamson in for developers, iPhone, news, products, style editor

Tesco’s troubles and reverse geocoding

Talk about coincidence. Just as I was about to share a couple of numbers from our geocoding traffic report, someone sent me a link to an interesting read by Nick Lansley of Tesco. In a nutshell, he, as well as dozens (hundreds?) of other iPhone developers have suddenly found themselves cut off from Google geocoding.

Back to our latest traffic report. I thought it was interesting enough to share some of it with everyone. While it is expected that all of our products show usage growth over time, the usage of geocoding has simply skyrocketed lately. According to our traffic report, the number of geocoding requests has increased more than ten-fold over the last four weeks, without any sign that the trend is changing. I am also quite impressed by adoption of version 2 of our geocoding API. Given that most requests come from mobile applications that have necessarily longer update cycles, the new API’s 30% share of traffic in only three weeks is really a large number. The most popular request type?

In the meantime, we’ve been working on better support for EU-style addressing, which will be available real soon. Also in the works, fast and accurate US addressing which will be brought online by the end of next month. More to come…

October 30th, 2009 - Posted by in api, iPhone, products

New geocoding engine delivers results up to 24 times faster

While no one was watching, we deployed the latest version of our geocoding engine. The key objective for this release has been performance and stability, and I am sure it is immediately noticeable. Benchmarking based on actual user queries have shown that it is up to 24 times faster than the previous implementation for certain classes of requests. Even for simple, one-word queries, it is up to three times faster.

Along with the new engine, we are introducing new Geocoding API V2. In an effort to simplify usage, we have reduced the number of methods from eleven to only one, without sacrificing a single bit of its flexibility. The old API? It, too, uses the new engine to deliver faster results, but we do encourage everyone to switch to the new API as soon as you have a chance to.

In the meantime, we are already working on the next release. The main focus will be relevancy and better parsing of freeform queries. Stay tuned!

October 8th, 2009 - Posted by in api, iPhone, products

Upcoming London Events: MiniBar June, GeoMob, London iPhone Developers Group

There are a load of great events happening over the next few weeks. Here are some highlights:

MiniBar June – Friday 26th June 2009

London’s favorite Friday tech meetup, MiniBar, returns to the Truman Brewery this Friday. A great way to unwind after a long, hot week.

GeoMob – 30th June 2009

GeoMob is a relatively new event that has picked up an impressive follow amongst London geo and mobile developers. This month’s event is being hosted by the British Computer Society and features talks on mobile advertising from AdFonic and local search from Spoonfed. Needless to say, the CloudMade team will be there en-masse

iPhone Developers’ Group – London and South-East

If you missed WWDC and want to find out what all the fuss is about, the July 8th meeting of the London and South East iPhone Developers’ Group is not to be missed. CloudMade will be talking about the abilities and limitations of MapKit, CoreLocation and our own iPhone Maps Library.

To hear more about upcoming CloudMade events, follow CloudMade and Nick on twitter.

June 24th, 2009 - Posted by Nick Black in events, for developers, iPhone, products, talks

How To Get Forward Geocoding in iPhone MapKit

The CoreLocation and MapKit sessions at WWDC yesterday gave an insight to some of the powerful technology that the iPhone OS 3.0 and iPhone 3G S will bring to application developers. The new compass and enhanced accelerometer support that the combination of new hardware and software bring were a big hit with the WWDC crowd. The incomplete feature sets around MapKit were less of a hit.

MapKit seeks to be a very well implemented iPhone mapping library, that lets developers add Google maps to their iPhone applications as well as perform reverse geocoding. Sadly for iPhone developers, the fun stops with reverse geocoding. Forward geocoding (the process of turning an address into a latitude and longitude) is not available in MapKit. The reasons for this lie in complex licensing agreements between Apple, Google and TomTom (who own all of the map data that Google and Apple use). CloudMade will help you avoid the complexity.

iPhone Developers at WWDC were urged to use external geocoding services by the iPhone engineering team. CloudMade’s geocoding service fits the bill perfectly. iPhone developers can integrate CloudMade’s geocoding web-services directly into their MapKit applications, without worrying about breaking and terms of service.

June 12th, 2009 - Posted by Nick Black in api, for developers, iPhone, products

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