Apple has added a much required Maps Search API for developers who use Apple’s maps in their apps in iOS 6.1. The API enables developers to query Apple’s mapping service for point-of-interest (POI) and other location related data, for which they had to rely on third-party services earlier.
Here’s Apple’s description of the API:
The new Search API in Map Kit enables you to provide map-based addresses and points of interest directly within your app. Whether it’s finding the nearest coffee shop or looking up sites for an upcoming trip, users can find helpful business details such as phone numbers or URLs.
Apple notes that the Search API isn’t supported in Japan and Russia.
In earlier versions of iOS that had Google as the native maps provider, developers could use the Google Places API to add search capabilities to their apps, but its terms required the API to be used only in conjunction with Google’s mapping tiles. So when iOS 6 was introduced, developers couldn’t use the Places API along with the iOS MapKit framework since the mapping tiles were delivered by Apple.
Now that search is built right into the iOS MapKit framework, developers wouldn’t be forced to rely on third-party services, unless of course they find that the results are unsatisfactory, in which case they’ll again have to query Foursquare or OpenStreetMaps for POI data. Developers also have the option of using Google’s iOS SDK and abandon the native MapKit framework entirely. By doing this, they can again use Google’s Places API which has a lot more worldwide POI data than Apple.
Via: The Next Web