In website development today, the typical go to for adding maps to websites is Google Maps. That should come as no surprise. When Apple Maps was originally announced, it was a crash and burn. However, Apple has definitely rebounded nicely over the years and Apple Maps has become my primary go-to for directions. Plus, it is just easier when I can say, “hey Siri, give me directions to…”. So the questions remain, what will the ease of use of website integration with Apple Maps be, and how long until it gets a wider adoption? Time will tell.
Apple has released a long-anticipated web framework allowing web developers to embed Apple Maps into their web sites, 9to5Mac reports, similar to what has long been possible with Google Maps. The new Apple MapKit JS library is launching in beta form this week, and is essentially a web-based version of the MapKit API that’s available to native IOS apps. The MapKit JS API was first discovered on Apple’s WWDC website back in 2016, leading to speculation back then that Apple would open up the web framework to wider availability, and while it has taken a couple of years, it would appear that it’s finally here.
As the report from 9to5Mac notes, MapKit JS is designed to provide the same experience on mobile and desktop platforms that native iOS maps users would be familiar with, such as pinch-to-zoom gestures, and map cartography is rendered as WebGL vectors wherever possible, although it will apparently gracefully shift down to rasterized image tiles if necessary. A simple map can be embedded into a web page with just a few lines of code, and advanced features like annotations and overlays are also possible, as are Apple Maps directions and routing features. During the beta period, Apple is limiting MapKit JS to 250,000 instantiations and 25,000 service calls per API key per day — considerably higher than what Google offers at the free level for its Maps API.