Google launches Maps SDK, offers iOS developers alternative cartography

Mountain View's mapping service is back on iOS, but Google's cartography team isn't content with launching a standalone app: it wants to worm its way into other developer's apps, too. Leveraging a URL scheme, Google Maps' iOS SDK allows developers to call up its own navigation application in favor of iOS 6's offering. The SDK also demonstrates how to perform a quick check to make sure Google Maps is installed, allowing apps to default to Apple's solution if it isn't found. Developers looking for a more integrated solution can request access to API keys that will allow their apps to natively utilize Google's cartography in 2D and 3D views. It's a subtle hand to play, but the updated SDK gives developers more control over the experience they offer to users, a good thing, to be sure. Looking for access to the new API? Register your interest at Google's developer site -- it's doling out access to qualified developers as API keys become available.