Mr Timoney pointed my attention to possible SVG support brought with the latest iPhone OS 2.1 update. Unfortunately I sold my iPod touch on eBay last week – got a brand new Nokia E71 instead and am totally happy with it. So I couldn’t verify or test SVG on the iPhone Safari myself and had to ask somebody for help. Richard was kind enough to quickly try and access a SVG site on his iPod touch and send me a screen shot.
Guess what, it works!
SVG is supposed to be the flash killer since its first appearance, and never really succeeded as we know very well. SVG is still a good choice for mapping applications in my opinion, for light-weighted thematic web mapping applications to be more precise. Vector graphics handled by an AJAX front-end, used to visualize statistical attribute data provide a user-friendly interface and are usually easy to develop. Mapping APIs like Google Maps or Open Layers support and use SVG. Web browsers like Firefox and Safari for instance natively support SVG elements, no “but you need an extra plugin discussion” anymore. There is good portion of potential users for SVG based mapping applications.
Anyways, the odd thing with the iPhone and SVG is now, that a quite popular and hyped platform supports SVG but doesn’t play Flash. That’s maybe the time SVG developers have waited for.
I haven’t had the chance yet to play with SVG on the iPhone by myself. But I’m curious how far SVG support goes, what functionality is possible and how the iPhone’s multi-touch gestures can be used in mapping applications. Maybe somebody else can offer more insights on that. I’m not expecting our clients moving to the iPhone, but I would like to see if our simple mapping applications work on the iPhone or can be easily ported to suit the iPhone dimensions – should be easy with *Scalable* Vector Graphics though. However, accessing interactive maps and dig into some regional data while being in meetings or on the way could be a valuable option sometimes.