How To Get Forward Geocoding in iPhone MapKit

The CoreLocation and MapKit sessions at WWDC yesterday gave an insight to some of the powerful technology that the iPhone OS 3.0 and iPhone 3G S will bring to application developers. The new compass and enhanced accelerometer support that the combination of new hardware and software bring were a big hit with the WWDC crowd. The incomplete feature sets around MapKit were less of a hit.

MapKit seeks to be a very well implemented iPhone mapping library, that lets developers add Google maps to their iPhone applications as well as perform reverse geocoding. Sadly for iPhone developers, the fun stops with reverse geocoding. Forward geocoding (the process of turning an address into a latitude and longitude) is not available in MapKit. The reasons for this lie in complex licensing agreements between Apple, Google and TomTom (who own all of the map data that Google and Apple use). CloudMade will help you avoid the complexity.

iPhone Developers at WWDC were urged to use external geocoding services by the iPhone engineering team. CloudMade’s geocoding service fits the bill perfectly. iPhone developers can integrate CloudMade’s geocoding web-services directly into their MapKit applications, without worrying about breaking and terms of service. The geocoding web service looks like this:

http://geocoding.cloudmade.com/BC9A493B41014CAABB98F0471D759707/
geocoding/find/moscone center west.html

Lets take a closer look at the URL:

http://geocoding.cloudmade.com/ – the base URL

BC9A493B41014CAABB98F0471D759707/ – your API key, available here

geocoding/find – the “find” method, more docs here

moscone center west – the text string to search for

.html choose from HTML or JSON output.

Click here to see the result.

You can find our more about CloudMade’s geocoding services here.

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