Chapter 10. Geolocation and Mapping

The Core Location API is one of the great things about the iOS platforms, but until the arrival of the MapKit Framework in the 3.0 SDK, it was actually quite hard to take that location-aware goodness and display it on a map. The arrival of the MapKit framework has simplified this enormously.

Let’s look at the Core Location framework first and then work through a few example applications using MapKit to get you familiar with how the two frameworks interact.

The Core Location Framework

The Core Location framework is an abstraction layer in front of several different methods to find the user’s location (and, by extrapolation, her speed and course). It can provide the latitude, longitude, and altitude of the device (along with the level of accuracy to which this is known). There are three levels of accuracy:

  • The least accurate level uses the cell network to locate the user (the process is similar to triangulation, but more complex). This can quickly provide a position to around 12 km accuracy, which can be reduced to 1–3 km after some time depending on the tower density at your current location.

  • The next accuracy level is obtained by utilizing a WiFi-based positioning system. This is much more precise, giving a position to approximately 100 m. However, it depends on the user being in range of a known wireless hotspot.

  • The highest level of accuracy is obtained by using GPS hardware, which should provide a position to less than 40 m.


On the iPod touch ...

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