WhateverMap on Apple Store

WhateverMap Lite v1.0, developed by Jiri Kaminek  has been today accepted for distribution through Apple Store . You can download it here (iTunes and iPhone requiered):


WhateverMap is similar to Google Maps but you can use different branch-specific map sources. Those sources should be more interesting and valuable in non-navigation filed of map using. WhateverMap use Web Map Services (WMS). WMS standard specification was created by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC). WMS may provide any geospatial data. There are many WMS severs and most of them are available for free. You can find servers with ortophoto, cadastral, soil types, migration of white storks, … simply WHATEVER.
You can add any WMS server by typing an URL address or simply use built-in catalog. There are some servers with interesting data as NASA Earth satellite photos, Mars satellite photos and many others. There is a rich list of Czech WMS servers.
You can browse a map using zoom-in, zoom-out or move. For better orientation it is possible to use actual position provided by built-in GPS module. Each WMS should map only limited area so there is a boundary of each map. It is possible to display whole map with boundary too.
It is possible to consume many sources in this application. So there is an easy way to change a source while browsing the map. You can easily compare the same area in different map sources. For example you can find out any building and then you can choose soil type map to determine stability of building’s foundation.
For better control of map there is a movement history. Sometimes GPS get lost a signal and display non-precision region. In this case it is posible to use undo and get more precision area before you get lost a signal. There is another interesting way to use the history. You can move around an area in first map layer and then use the same movements in different layers. For example you can follow a road and then you can use map layer with water or soil pollution to find out effect of road to water or soil quality.

・ZOOM-IN – double tap
・ZOOM-OUT – triple tap
・MOVEMENT – swipe on map

– Consume any WMS server map data (ortofoto, cadastral, mars, … WHATEVER)
– Map browsing (move, zoom)
– Support history in map movements (UNDO, REDO)
– Display your current location
– Display map boundary
– Change background color
– Movement history(UNDO, REDO)
– favourite list of WMS

– searching by location name (city, roads, country, …) – geocoding
– caching
– saving for offline use
– better catalog
– landmarks

first release


Compatible with iPhone and iPod Touch
Requires iPhone OS 2.2.1 or later

What’s new



MicroStation View v8i is free WMS viewer

xwms-setI was evaluating new MicroStation View8i from the WMS perspective- it is much more better than previous version that just stuck while the window was redrawing. View8i is reading WMS request in background, allowing you to do some manipulations with application. Bentley added support for reading WMS servers and switching layers( but it works only with newer XWMS format 1.1.2 that is not recognized by previous XM version).  XM edition could read WMS layers at once, however v8i just uses tiles – this might be based on speed of WMS server more time consuming than obtaining one image at once..[updated: I didn’t realize how bad this might happne to be …v8i with its  tiling on WMS request (from slow servers) is nearly 9 times slower than XM edition that just request whole window at once. See the second picture bellow. That turn your 45 sec in XM edition into 6,5 minutes. Note I didn’t check  any extra settings and I use defaults in both versions]  XWMS is a format that is XML and describes WMS server parameters, but you can’t join various WMS servers into one XWMS.

For Czech WMS servers I have prepared some set of XWMS files for viewing them in freely available MicroStation v8i. But the free version doesn;t allow you to do any modifications – it uses only read-only mode. Thus I have wrapped each XWMS under dgn file and all referenced into top most dgn file called “openMe.dgn” (otevriMe). There you will find among WMS references also free slots (called “myDrawing/dgn” or “MyDrwaing.dxf”/MujVykres.*) for attaching your custom files (understand you need to rename you file and put it into the root folder of the XWMS set. This is displayed in picture.

You can download experimental XWMS pre-set for Czech Republic  here http://www.sumbera.com/blog/XWMS-SET.zip

If you have installed MicroStaiton Bentley V8i then just click on file OtevriMe.dgn.

To display this arrangement V8i took 6m38sec but XM only 45 sec !

XWMS example (for Czech Cadastral Map) in JTSK projection  (katastr.xwms):

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" standalone="yes"?>
        <MAXBITMAPSIZE width="1024" height="1024" />

iPhoneLayers – IPhone application for displaying WMS layers

orfotofokatastrMy student Jiri Kaminek, who is in first year of postgraduate study at department of Applied Geoinformatics at Mendel University has created in very short time an impressive  prototype for accessing WMS layers within iPhone using native iPhone SDK. It looks very promissing, with natural iPhone gestures, ability to access iPhone resources (tile cache, GPS position, history, etc..) . You can see his presentation on http://mapserver.mendelu.cz/iphonelayers together with sample screencasts. Codename of the project is iPhoneLayers. The big picture is that MapShake will store all map compositions and you will have various frontedns how to consume or shake your maps, iPhone will be one possible outlet where based on your current GPS position you will get your pre-shaked maps from MapShake store.

Update November 2009: Application is called Whatevermap and can be downloaded from AppStore. please check following category on this blog:


MapBinder – shake your maps

mapbinderI have put together preview for visually shaking maps where you don’t get just map layer names, but also preview of layers ! Somehow I couldn’t find any page on internet that would allow you to display layers from GetCapabilities WMS as image thumbnails. I’ve kept this idea for a long time and actually it started with yahoo pipes year ago – why not to visually display GetCapabilities as RSS feed with image thumbnails referenced as media type in the feed ? after little experimenting I realized that the value is in combination of position and WMS information, so the use case is “I am here on this place and hey WMS servers, give me all you know about this place…”

That lead me to the prototype of the site codenamed ‘MapBinder’ that allows you to visually combine WMS layers. Before you jump there, let me put here some credits to projects and people who enabled that – first it isOpenLayers 2.7 plus some sandboxed content that implemented GetCapabilities..I don’t remember exact location, then it is blog on tydlevidle.cz that implemented extension to read mapy.cz (mapy.cz is proprietary web based geoengine for maps like google but is using different projection). The last piece I found on some reference on geocaching.cz where someone pointed on conversion.js JavaScript by Tomas Ebenlendr. I forgot to mention that MapBinder is now synced with mapy.cz since it would be hard to overlay mapy.cz with JTSK-based projection, I have decided that reprojection will be done by user’s brain – having side by side maps – everyone can benefit from the content even they do not overlay.

Map Binder can be found on page http://www.sumbera.com/lab/wmsbinder/getcap.htm . Feel free to save it and examine it. I believe that from this point desktop and web readers of WMS layers will display thumbnails for better user experience :).

Caching WMS requests

Recently I was interested in caching WMS requests on MapSnack, that would allow off-line usage of WMS sources. Unfortunately there is no functional WMS discovery or search engine. Google is very weak in this area and even inurl: doesn’t bring too many results. There is one paper I found on this topics called “OpenGIS WMS-based prototype system of Spatial Information Search Engine” but to access this paper you nee to login to IEEE. pages. So how to help google to index WMS layers and pictures it produce ? one of the thoughts I have is to create simple set of pages on which each request for certain layer for certain zoom level and in particular tile would be referenced. Tiling is important as “sampling frequency” for the WMS cache. Actually last year I was working on prototype which enabled me to save for offline use WMS tiled layers (refer to http://www.sumbera.com/news/mapajax/mapajax.htm) what was missing was an automatic crawler on the area and layers – the saving was done only by manual navigation in the area. Last note : I expect the shift of the google search engine towards this freely available geospatail content (…. just right after I will start to generate my index pages ;)

MapSnack – your fast map viewer

I’ve tested AJAX based approach for displaying maps on web page. I took sample area north to Brno  20x 20 km covered by various geodata including VHR IR images. I had to intercept HTML requests to  map server to see what it takes to generate map of particular range and layer. (I had no access to map server, nor I took care what mapping engine serves maps, but it was not in format of WMS). I found quite simple prototype of AJAX display on mike page and I bend it little bit to work with geographicaly referenced maps (actually I needed JTSK system used here in Czech Republic). Conclusion is that AJAX approach for map display has lot of potential since is is elegant, extensible and transparent for end user (just save your page and you may run locally your client or include your client on your own page. Also more about AJAX vs. Flas approach for map displaying see David Blasby’s blog On my sample you may zoom in/out and pan. In zoom level 4 you will get IR aerial images. tested on IE6 and NN6.
enjoy it…