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Ovi – Opportunities for developers

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Note.pngNote: Ovi Maps API has been superceded by the Nokia Maps API The Nokia Maps API v2 is the successor of the Ovi Maps API. The latest version of the APIs can be found here.

Article Metadata
Created: rebloor (16 Jul 2009)
Last edited: hamishwillee (24 Apr 2013)
Featured Article
14 Feb

"The phone knows where you are. It might know where you're going or what you're going to do.” — Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo Nokia CEO speaking at the D: All Things Digital conference 2009, hosted by The Wall Street Journal.

In essence, Nokia plans to integrate location-based services and social applications more fully into its phones, but how will this benefit you as a developer?


Context will drive the web

To date web services have been pull in nature, a user has provided the context by requesting information based on their needs. These information needs are governed by factors such as the user’s location, the time, planned activities, and personal relationships.

Today, a user having breakfast at home on a work day may pull information on the local weather to check they have the right attire. Then they may plan a route to an early morning out of office meeting and check on traffic conditions to ensure they leave on time.

Mobile devices have become the repository for their user’s life: contacts, diaries, and photographic records among others. In addition, the integration of GPS gives mobile devices the ability to know its user’s location. This information makes it possible to radically alter the way users interact with the web and the information it can supply.

Tomorrow the user will wake up to find their phone has already checked the weather and recommended the type of clothes that will suit the day. It has read the user’s calendar, found the out of office meeting, and planned a route, which is ready to be used when the user leaves home. In addition, the day’s traffic conditions have been assessed and an alarm set to tell the user when they need to leave (with a message to remind them to take a raincoat).

The context provided by information stored on a mobile device can be used to increase the relevance of web information, filter out irrelevant content, and deliver the right information for the user’s needs.

This context awareness can also extend beyond the individual. Mobile devices can provide context to groups of people, whether they be work colleagues or friends. By adding location awareness, people can be brought together or communicate in new and innovative ways.

What is the technology to drive this new context?

Nokia is developing many technologies to enable context awareness. The first practical step has been the merging of Nokia Maps and Maps on Ovi into Ovi Maps. Ovi Maps enables the seamless sharing of location information between mobile devices and the web, giving users the ability to build personal collections of content.

Ovi Maps Bridging web and mobile.png

Ovi Maps for developers

Ovi Maps is not an end-solution in its own right, although it contains many features that address specific user needs by leveraging Nokia mapping and positioning technology combined with Navteq map data. Rather, Ovi Maps should be thought of as a starting point for developers to innovate and create rich extended location based services that span the web and mobile worlds.

To achieve this Ovi Maps delivers two implementations: the Ovi Maps Player for the web and Ovi Maps for mobile devices. For more information, see the Ovi Maps for mobile web page and the Ovi Maps Player web page.

Developing for Ovi Maps Player

JavaScript APIs enable the Ovi Maps Player to be embedded on any website. The APIs provide for the creation of dynamic, fully interactive applications, with features such as custom content and animations, meaning web pages can go far beyond simply presenting a static map.

The Ovi Maps Player API enables you to:

  • Embed the Ovi Maps Player into a website.
  • Add customised content to a map, such as polylines and icons.
  • Choose the initial view and map settings, such as a specific location, night or day mode, viewing angle, and 2D or 3D presentation, among others.
  • Interact with Ovi Maps Player to create dynamic effects with zooming, panning, tilting, rotation, and fly through.
  • Perform geo-coding and reverse geo-coding.

Future features will include the ability to share content between the web and mobile devices.

Developing Ovi Maps Applications

The JavaScript APIs enable you to control the Ovi Maps Player not only in web pages, but also in Ovi Maps on mobile devices. For mobile devices, you will create Ovi Maps Applications as web widgets or maplets, using a JavaScript API combined with HTML and CSS. This will enable Ovi Maps Applications to offer mash-ups that combine information from the web with the rich features of Ovi Maps for mobile. Because these APIs are delivered using JavaScript, Ovi Maps Applications will be easy to develop and can be brought to market quickly. When it comes to going to market, Ovi Maps Applications will be distributed through the Ovi Store, providing you with access to millions of Nokia device owners who are already familiar with downloading and purchasing applications for their devices.

See what can be achieved

The following examples, from the Where 2.0 Conference 2009, demonstrate what can be achieved with Ovi Maps:

Want to get started?

The tools and information needed for developing Ovi Maps Applications are currently available to developers as part of a beta program, sign up to the beta program here »

More information

The first port of call for more information on Ovi for developers is You can also exchange information about Ovi development with other developers on the Ovi for Developers discussion board.

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