Video tutorial: Get information about any place on the map

Geocoding and getting directions on the Chicago Bike Guide app.

This video demonstrates how to use reverse geocoding to get information about a place, one of two major new features in Chicago Bike Guide version 0.8, which was submitted to the iTunes App Store today for review. The video also shows how to get directions to this place. The second major new feature is integrating the locations of Divvy bike sharing stations (more on this in an upcoming post).

Geocoding is the programmatic function of finding the geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude) for a place on the earth. Reverse geocoding is getting the place name for given coordinates. In Chicago Bike Guide v0.8, you can get the address and sometimes place name for any place in the map.

How it works

When you tap and hold, the app sees which coordinates you’re touching and sends this to the OpenStreetMap Nominatim API. The API then searches the enormous (and worldwide) OpenStreetMap database for objects that surround or are near that spot. The address and name, if available, are sent to the app. When the app receives the information, it creates a blue marker and opens a popup filled with the information.

How to use it

When you need information about a place on the map, tap and hold your finger there until a marker appears and a popup opens. If this doesn’t happen, check your data connection.

You can tap, hold, and drag the marker to a new place to get information about that place.

Get directions to the place by tapping the “directions” icon on the far right. An overlay box will appear saying, “Getting route…”. Once the route is found, the overlay box will change its message to show the distance and estimated duration of the route. Tap “start” to be panned to your current location, wait for the overlay box to disappear, or tap outside the box to dismiss it immediately.