iPhone and Android: How One Mashup Does Both With Google Maps API V3

Given the increasing popularity of mobile devices such as the iPhone and Android devices (both of which include full browsers), it should come as no surprise that developers have begun to leverage the various APIs out there to provide mobile mashups that can be implemented without targeting a specific Platform or SDK.

Mobile Map Mashup

The Google Geo Developers Blog has a recent post that highlights how Missouri State University is using the Google Maps API V3 to provide a platform-independent mobile map mashup. According to Chad Killingsworth, Assistant Director of Web & New Media at the university, one of the goals of this mashup is to enable the university to roll out updates to the mashup without having to update multiple SDKs, especially for small changes:

So instead of writing the maps application using the SDK of each phone platform, I wrapped my v3 Maps API site into a WebView inside a stub application. Now all the work spent on the web version automatically applies to the "native" application and my users never even know the difference.

Many developers that work with the Google Maps API are aware of the V3 API, the next generation of the popular mapping API that is currently under development (it's still considered a part of Google Labs). V3 has several improvements and optimizations, including faster loading and mobile-specific features. To assist developers working with V3 on mobile devices, Google has released some documentation for how to use V3 for mapping apps targeted for mobile devices.

It's certainly valuable to see examples such as the Missouri State University mobile map mashup, which illustrates how organizations and developers can utilize mobile-optimized APIs such as V3 to give access to apps across a broad set of mobile devices. And it seems that this trend will likely gain momentum, as can be seen by the emergence of cross-platform tools such as PhoneGap and Appcelerator, which allow for web-based apps to be compiled in mobile device SDKs, thereby allowing developers to "write once, run everywhere." There's even a new book dedicated solely to the subject of building mobile apps with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

If you're looking for inspiration for your next mobile mashup be sure to check out our ever-growing API directory and list of mashups.

Be sure to read the next Mapping article: MapQuest API: Location Plotting, Centering & Automatic Zooming using PHP and jQuery