Posted by: jenniefletcher | March 3, 2011

OpenLayers Mobile Code Sprint

Last week EDINA had the opportunity to take part in the OpenLayers Mobile code sprint in Lausanne. A group of developers from across the world gathered to add mobile support to the popular Javascript framework.

After a week of intensive development we have been able to add a number of new features allowing OpenLayers to function on a wide range of devices, not only taking advantage of the touch events available on iPhone and some Android mobiles to allow touch navigation, but also enabling the OpenLayers map to be responsive and useful on other platforms, or even unexpected devices!

Jorge Gustavo Rocha and myself worked on adding support for HTML offline storage. Covering storing maps and feature data on the users local browser using the Web Storage and Web SQL standards. Here is the example sandbox which allows the user to store map tiles for the area they are viewing, which are automatically used instead of downloading the online image when possible.  More details on this and other features added can be found on the OpenLayers blog.

I have to say I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I have certainly found it rewarding contributing to OpenLayers and working with such a dedicated and talented team of developers. Far more was achieved than I would have thought possible in such a short space of time. Very inspiring stuff!



  1. Sounds like you are making some good progress with OpenLayers. Good to see that you are going for the option of offline storage. This will be immensely useful for fieldwork applications for teaching and learning. We tend to find that data signals or availably are a real issue for using online maps in remote locations, my personal preference is to use applications that allow offline maps for teaching and learning purposes (copyright permitting). I will be looking forward to future updates!

  2. Did you manage to run one of the examples of mobile openlayers using HTML5 in Xcode?

    I got problem in running the mobile-jq.html example in Xcode.


    • Generally the devices themselves were used for testing, I’ve asked a couple of other developers there any they weren’t aware of anyone testing using Xcode.

  3. I’m not aware of what testing was done on the JQuery example. I’ll see if I can find out.

  4. very nice.

  5. I’ve noticed that the LocalTileStorage fiels in your sandbox do not seem to have made it into openlayers trunk. Can you tell me how robust this code is and what integration problems there might be with trunk? I don’t see a lot of detailed commentary on it, though it looks like a lot of code we could really use!

    • The local storage code is missing unit tests and documentation before it can be integrated into the trunk, and it’s only really been tested on a single layer, so it would require more testing if it’s to be used with multiple layers (do let me know if you discover any problems).

      I’ve just run the unit tests again for my branch and it’s currently failing 3 of the 214 OL Unit Tests (available at so those issues may be something to look into if you want to use this in production.

      I hope it’s useful for you though.

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