Updated Google Maps SDK for iOS Delivers New Mapping Features

Google Maps developers for iOS will now have more tricks that they can use in when they want to build maps into their online applications.

Google has unveiled an updated version of its Google Maps Software Developers Kit (SDK) for iOS, which will give iOS map developers additional features they can build into their maps applications for iPhone and iPad users.

"This version of the SDK includes support for ground overlays, gesture control and geodesic polylines," wrote Andrew Foster, a senior product manager for Google Maps, in a Feb. 21 post on the Google Geo Developers Blog. "To get started, enable the Google Maps SDK for iOS service in the Google APIs Console alongside other Google APIs."

Also included in the SDK is a new sample app to help developers learn how to use Google maps when they create new apps, wrote Foster. There is even a YouTube video that demonstrates the capabilities of the Google Maps SDK for iOS 1.1 release.

"We hope these updates will enable you to enhance your app with Google maps (or create some new ones!)," wrote Foster. "As always, keep sending us your feedback and ideas, as we continue to make improvements to the SDK based on ideas that you’ve suggested and starred. For additional support, head over to Stack Overflow with your technical questions or watch our Google Maps Developers Live shows for tips, tricks and news about using the Google Maps APIs."

Some of the new capabilities in the updated SDK including the ability to allow users to view and interact with a Google map in an iOS app, according to Google. "With rotation, tilt, 3D buildings and many other features, you can create highly interactive apps for your users. Also, your app can launch the Google Maps for iPhone app using a URL scheme, enabling users to search, get directions and view Street View imagery."

The Google Maps SDK for iOS lets developers add maps based on Google maps data to their applications, according to Google. "The SDK automatically handles access to the Google Maps servers, map display, and response to user gestures such as clicks and drags. You can also add markers, polylines, ground overlays and info windows to your map. These objects provide additional information for map locations and allow user interaction with the map."

It was an interesting road for Google to bring the latest Google Maps app back to iOS in December 2012.

Apple announced in May 2012 that it would drop the native Google Maps app that had been part of iOS since the arrival of the first iPhones so that the company could introduce its own maps app.

The arrival of the Apple Maps app in iOS6, however, was a disaster for the company last September when it was met with many complaints and criticisms from users who bashed its lack of accuracy and geographic details. The PR problem was so bad at the time that Apple's CEO Tim Cook even offered a public apology for the problems, vowing that they would eventually be resolved.

Google, of course, didn't sit on the sidelines. It rushed its own stand-alone Google Maps app for iOS into production, releasing it through the Apple Store last December. The Google Maps app for iOS proved to be very popular, hitting the 10 million download mark in the first 48 hours that it became available.

Some iOS 5 users never even upgraded to iOS 6 when it was released because they knew that they'd lose access to the native built-in Google Maps app that was missing until the release of the latest Google maps app.

Available through Apple's App Store portal online, Google Maps offers local search, voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation, public transit information, Street View and live traffic information. The application also features a sign-in option that allows users to call up previous searches and directions made from the user's computer.