Tag Archives: Blackberry

CityGrid Local, Mobile, Social Stack: Verizon LocationKit API

I’m spending more time building, what I’ve dubbed the CityGrid Local, Mobile, Social Stack, a list of APIs, platforms and tools that you can use in your local-mobile applications. Today I’m diving into Verizon’s LocationKit API which provides a unified library across platforms and devices that can be used to request location information.

Despite what you may think, the Verizon LocationKit API is not specific to Verizon devices, and supports a wide variety of Android, iOS, Blackberry and Brew MP devices. The LocationKit API supports two types of location requests:

  • Single Request – Usually requested to get local search information or to place the device on a map
  • Tracking Request – Used to show the position of the device on the map in real time or to navigate to a destination

LocationKit supports three different methods to obtain location information:

  • Standalone GPS (SGPS) uses the GPS chipset in devices that can obtain GPS information without network assistance
  • Cell ID uses the location of the cell the device is currently talking to provide a quick approximate location that can be used to obtain local information
  • Wi Fi ID uses the visible Wi-Fi networks that the device can see to obtain an approximate location that can be much more accurate than the Cell ID location

To obtain location information your application can request a single fix where the applications specifies how much time it is willing to give the hardware for obtaining the best possible location, or a multiple fix where your application requests a stream of fixes. When the desired request is submitted and a listener / callback is used to pass the information back to your host application.

The Verizon Mapkit API is a perfect addition to the CityGrid Local, Mobile, Social Stack. Location is essential in all local, mobile, social applications and the Verizon LocationKit is a robust, easy to use library you can use in your native app development, and in conjunction with the Verizon Mapkit API you can provide real-time location and rich mapping to your mobile application users.

CityGrid Local, Mobile, Social Stack: Verizon Mapkit API

I’m spending more time building, what I’ve dubbed the CityGrid Local, Mobile, Social Stack, a list of APIs, platforms and tools that you can use in your local-mobile applications.  With the latest move by Foursquare to join the OpenStreetMaps movement, I’m focused on finding the best mapping tools for the CityGrid Local, Mobile, Social Stack.

First on my list of alternative mapping solutions is Verizon Mapkit API, which provides location-based services that include maps, search, traffic and static directions.  The Verizon Mapkit API is centered on a map object that provides a tile-based solution supporting multiple layers such road map/satellite/hybrid, traffic, and routes–with built-in controls for standard map operations such as panning and zooming using the host device’s native gestures.

The MapKit also provides a full set of search APIs delivering geocoding, geolocation and access to local content:

  • Address Search (Geocoding)
  • Reverse Geocoding
  • Local Search
  • Fuel Price Search
  • Movie Theaters
  • Movie Show-Times
  • Events
  • Event Venues
  • Traffic Incidents
  • Static Directions

The Verizon Mapkit API does not have a web API currently, but does support native application development on Android, iOS, Blackberry and Brew MP platforms. At first glance you may think the mapping solution is just for Verizon devices, but it can be used across multiple platforms.

The Verizon Mapkit API is a perfect addition to the CityGrid Local, Mobile, Social Stack. They offer a robust mapping platform that native mobile apps can take advantage of. The Mapkit API is part of the Verizon NavBuilder Inside LBS SDK, which comes with other APIs and tools I will be adding to the CityGrid Local, Mobile, Social Stack in future blog posts.

Build Mobile Apps with HTML and Deploy to iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry

I had the pleasure to hearing PhoneGap talk at the Facebook Mobile Hack in New York City and Boston last week.  Both of the events started with workshops from Facebook team members around core concepts, and advanced topics of the Facebook platform.  After the Facebook team presented, they invited up a representative from the open-source mobile platform PhoneGap.

PhoneGap allows developers to build HTML5 mobile applications using an open-source framework, and deploy as mobile web app, as well as iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry platforms.  PhoneGap provides the best of both worlds while building using web-standards, and also opening up access to many native mobile APIs.

Some of the best things PhoneGap can provide to developers are:

  • Take advantage of HTML5 and CSS3
  • Use JavaScript to write your code
  • Access Native Features
  • Deploy your app to Multiple Platforms
  • Take advantage of PhoneGap Build
  • Add PhoneGap Plugins to your project
  • Use Tools from the community
  • Get help from the growing Community

PhoneGap is the best attempt out there I’ve seen that alleviates the problems developers face when building  applications for multiple device–iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile, using different frameworks and languages. PhoneGap is using standards-based web technologies, to bridge web applications and mobile devices, eliminating the gaps between the big platform players.

You may notice that Adobe acquired the company, Nitobi, that produced PhoneGap, but Adobe states its commited to keeping PhoneGap open and driven by the community, which includes contributors like IBM, RIM and Microsoft.  To do this PhoneGap was contributed to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) under the name Apache Callback in October 2011. It is currently under incubation until it can become a full Apache project, allowing it to remain free and open source under the Apache License, Version 2.0.

I’ve heard about PhoneGap for some time now, but haven’t had enough time to dive in.  I will be adding it to the list of tools I showcase and dive deeper into here at CityGrid.  I hope to leverage the PhoneGap platform and build code samples and prototypes that developers scan use to be build local mobile applications using CityGrid Places, Reviews, Offers and Mobile Advertising APIs.