[OpenLayers-Dev] OpenLayers for Mobile devices

Bob Basques Bob.Basques at ci.stpaul.mn.us
Mon Dec 20 15:44:00 EST 2010


I just tried the web link in my Nokia N900, and got similar results to
Jimmy.  The panning is working very nicely, but Zooming in(and out??)
was a problem.  The N900 doesn't do multi-touch for example.  

I tried looking at the link first with Firefox (Fennec) on the N900 but
couldn't figure out how to turn off the pointer control.  I next tried
with the Nokia Browser, which does have a tool to turn off the pointer,
and the panning started to work via touch. 

Anyway, just reporting experiences. 


>>> Benoit Quartier <benoit.quartier at camptocamp.com> wrote:


At Camptocamp, we are also working on an adaptation of OpenLayers for
the mobile devices (phone and table, under iOS or Android for the
moment). You can check
http://www.camptocamp.com/fr/blog/2010/12/mobile-web-gis/ for more
information (and a demonstration) about our work in this field.

>From this point, we are discussing internally how we can move on with
this development. If other people are showing an interest, it may be a
good time to start talking together about how we can get an efficient
OpenLayers mobile.

By the way, have you a demo available? Are you specifically targeting
Apple devices?


On Mon, Dec 20, 2010 at 4:29 PM, Duchesne, Jimmy <JDuchesne at korem.com>

Hi to everyone,
(If you think that I should address this email to someone in
particular, or another mailing list, I'd be glad to know)

For over a year now, my team and I have been using OpenLayers
thoroughly. We used it as much for internal projects as we did for our
clients' projects.
Overall, we're pretty much satisfied with what you guys created. It's
an extensive framework that dramatically improves the speed at which we
can develop our applications.

That being said, for some months now, a new need has been brought to us
by both our clients and our users. We need a framework for the different
mobile platforms.

So far, we've seen some patches posted on the OpenLayers' Issue tracker
that added limited support for the new events that come with mobile
devices: touches and gestures.
Those patches were obviously just a start. They did show us that it was
possible to use those new browser events, but as they were, they weren't
much use.

Actually, we could have used them, but when you compared the behaviour
they had with the one mobile device's users are used to, Google Maps App
or http://maps.google.com,
it wasn't going to satisfy our clients.

>From that perspective, our goal was this one: To achieve map behaviour
comparable to what users get with Google Maps App on iPAD, but with
OpenLayers as the base framework,
and Google Maps as the base layer. At some point, the base layer
shouldn't actually matter though.

Considering the lack of time that we had for this development, and the
fact that we could not find any similar existing implementation, we
finally went for some key features:
- Pan the map with one finger.
- Double touching the map zooms around where you touched the map.
- Double tapping the map zooms out one zoom level.
- Pinching the map stretches the map in real time, with a minimal
amount of lag.
- Had to use HTML5/CSS3 there.
- While pinching, you can also pan.
- If you pan or zooms the map, and your fingers leave the screen and
touch it again quickly enough, you continue the current map
- Map panning or stretching, while your fingers touch the screen acts
on all visible layers, whatever their type may be.

It was very important to us that while the fingers move the map or
stretch it, the expected result had to be visible in real-time, like it
does with the Google Maps App on iPAD.

In the end, we actually could achieve all these goals. It means that we
could get map behaviour comparable, or even better, to what one gets on
We couldn't reach all Google Maps App behaviour because of our lack of
time though.

As you may imagine, achieving these features
 in the amount of time that
we had, we actually hacked quite a lot of OpenLayers code. We'll
probably take some time
in the next few weeks to make it more portable so we can use it in all
our mobile device projects, but doing all this hacking made us curious.

What are the current plans for OpenLayers regarding the support for
most mobile devices? In our case, all those tablets coming on looks like
a really promising market.
Do you guys plan on actually putting any effort in supporting mobile
devices? Do you think that the current OpenLayers architecture can
support such changes, or a new dedicated framework should be developed?
When are you planning on using HTML5/CSS3, since it makes the overall
experience more pleasing to the user?

We're really curious to hear about what you guys think about all this.

Dev mailing list
Dev at lists.osgeo.org

Benoît Quartier

Camptocamp SA
PSE-A, Parc Scientifique EPFL
CH-1015 Lausanne

Tel: +41 21 619 10 40
Fax: +41 21 619 10 00

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