If you’re an iOS developer that uses maps in your app, but you’re unsatisfied with the level of customization that Apple’s MapKit allows, you’ll be excited by the MapBox news today.
The company, which is used by Foursqare and other companies to deliver maps to their users, is launching an iOS SDK that allows for greater flexibility and customized mapping tiles from the TileMill designer.
The SDK has an open-source codebase, and it’s based on the Route-Me mapping library. All of the standard interactions are there, like pinching, zooming and snapping actions. Any improvements to the engine will be added to the project as time goes on.
The SDk provides integration with MapBox Streets, which uses OpenStreetMap data, just like the new iOS app Apple produced for the iPhone and iPad recently. Since the data is just, well, data, the MapBox SDK also comes with a bunch of preset color schemes and you can tweak to your heart’s delight to fit the theme of your app, right down to the base map components. It’s a great deal more flexible than Apple’s option.
An example map below demonstrates how wildly different you can make your apps look from the status quo.
The team has documentation available, as well as a sample open-source app. They’ve also opened up a forum for discussing the use of the SDK. The tools available from MapBox, including TileMill, the built-in customizations and the wide-open SDK look to make it a pretty cool new option for developers with location-centric apps.