New maps in myTracks for iOS 4

Beginning with myTracks for iOS 4 I switched the map framework and therefore the way maps are visualized in the app. I would like to explain why I changed the map framework and also the In-App-Purchase business model of myTracks. The old map framework of myTracks had a lot of limitations. And therefore I started the search for an alternative 2 years ago. I investigated different frameworks and finally decided to use the framework from Skobbler/Telenav. This framework still uses OpenStreetMap as the data source.

With that framework I was able to provide the following new features:

  • Vector maps that can be used for all zoom levels (no need to download gigabytes of images for one country for example)
  • Rotatable maps
  • Compass
  • Searchable maps (ability to search for addresses and POIs)
  • Offline maps for a complete country
  • Different map styles without the need to download data again
  • Names in different characters such as Japanese characters and latin characters
  • ... and there is more

With the old framework I had my own servers that rendered and delivered the static map. But now myTracks uses the service of Telenav. And I have to pay for it. I have to pay for map sessions even when the user did not pay everything (because myTracks is for free). And I also have to pay for each single download of an offline map. Therefore I also had to change my business model. It was no longer possible to provide a pay-once-use-everthing solution. So I decided to charge for single maps. Map bundles for Europe, the US and other regions will be available soon.

myTracks was available for free in the App Store and it is still. That means you can use myTracks without paying anything. In version 3 there existed the extension package as in-app purchase. Part of the package was the offline maps feature but also other features such as an extended export and profile views. All these other features are now for free. Only offline maps are available as in-app purchases. Users that did buy the extension package before will get one offline map for free.

I know that the old framework was able to support OpenCycleMap which a lot users like. Because of the architecture of the new framework it is no longer possible to support statically rendered maps such as the OpenCycleMap. However, I will investigate whether it is a solution to provide pixel-based maps such as OpenCycleMap in parallel to the new framework in the future.

Dirk Stichling

myTracks is available for iPhone and iPad on the App Store:

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