Azure Maps Gets New SDKs, Services and Expanded Features for Mobility

The latest Azure Maps service upgrades aim to help users better solve their mobility challenges with deeper analytics and more.

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft's Azure maps services have added two new SDKs and a range of additional features to help enterprise customers bolster their mapping services for mobile users using Azure and its cloud-based services.

The latest capabilities were unveiled by Chris Pendleton, principal program manager for Azure Maps, in a Feb. 11 post on the Azure Blog. The new capabilities include real-time analytics, cross-screen experiences between devices and robust security services, he wrote.

The first new SDK is an Android SDK built to support customers who rely on applications running on Android, wrote Pendleton. The SDK includes rendering maps and traffic capabilities, drawing and event handling, and uses a variety of Azure Maps map canvases. Users can also connect to other Azure Maps services such as Search and Routing through the Azure Maps services APIs.

The Android SDK is now being offered alongside the existing Azure Maps Web SDK, which can work within a web control on mobile platforms, wrote Pendleton. The addition was made because many developers prefer native support to interoperate with other native components, he explained.

The other new SDK is the Azure Maps Web SDK 2.0, which is a new module for accessing Azure Maps services to use in conjunction with the Azure Map Control. "The new Service Module allows you to natively work directly with the Azure Maps services," wrote Pendleton.

In addition to the new SDKs, Azure Maps now natively supports Azure Active Directory (AAD), which will help users keep their access to Azure Maps secure, he wrote.

"This new module, plus the aforementioned adoption of Azure Active Directory, warranted the need for creating a new version and encapsulating them into a single Web SDK," wrote Pendleton. "Henceforth, we'll containerize our services for web developers into the Azure Maps Web SDK 2.0. "

The new Services Module adds support for AAD and uses a much cleaner API interface for accessing Azure Maps services, according to the post. It works with both the Web SDK and also in NodeJS. The Azure Maps Services Module was designed to align with an initiative to unify Azure SDKs and was required in order to add support for AAD.

The existing Azure Map Control 1.x will continue to be operational for users who want to continue with it, but Azure Maps will be moving forward with continuing improvements using the new Azure Maps Web SDK 2.0, he wrote.

By tying together Azure Maps and AAD as a core new capability of Azure Maps, users will be able to better protect their customers' information and implement secure access by providing role-based access control, wrote Pendleton. "Whether you have public applications or applications requiring a login, AAD and Azure Maps will support your security needs by authenticating your applications and AAD users."

In addition, the new AAD implementation supports managed identities for Azure resources that provide Azure services such as Azure App service, Azure Functions and Virtual Machines, with an automatically managed identity that can be authorized for access to Azure Maps services, he wrote.

Other new Azure Maps capabilities include a preview of Azure Maps Spatial Operations, which will take location information and analyze it on the fly to help inform customers of ongoing events happening in time and space, wrote Pendleton. The expanded capabilities are central to data analysis for use with the internet of things, enabling near real-time analysis and predictive modeling of events.

Also new is a Data Service preview, which will now give users the ability to upload and store up to 50MB of geospatial data for use with other Azure Maps services, such as geofencing or image composition. "Data is an imperative for maps and bringing customer data closer to the Azure Maps service will reduce latency, increase productivity, and create powerful, new scenarios to light up in your applications," wrote Pendleton.