Walkthrough - Exploring annotations and overlays in MapKit

Creating Annotations and Overlays

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This article presents a step-by-step walkthrough showing how to work with the annotation and overlay features of Map Kit. It shows how to add a map to an application that displays an annotation and overlay at the location of the Xamarin Evolve 2013 conference.

Map Kit Walkthrough

The application we’re going to build in this walkthrough is shown below:

You can find the completed code in the MapsWalkthroughComplete folder within the Map Demo sample.

Let's begin by creating a new iOS Empty Project, and giving it a relevant name. We'll start by adding code to our View Controller to display the MapView, and will then create new classes for our MapDelegate, and the custom annotations. Follow the steps below to achieve this:


  1. Add the following namespaces to the ViewController:
    using MapKit;
    using CoreLocation;
    using UIKit
    using CoreGraphics
  2. Add an `MKMapView` instance variable to the class, along with a MapDelegate instance. We'll create the MapDelegate shortly:
    public partial class ViewController : UIViewController
            MKMapView map;
            MapDelegate mapDelegate;
  3. In the controller's LoadView method, add an MKMapView and set it to the View property of the controller:
    public override void LoadView ()
            map = new MKMapView (UIScreen.MainScreen.Bounds);
            View = map;
    Next, we'll add code to initialize the map in the ViewDidLoad` method.
  4. In ViewDidLoad add code to set the map type, show the user location and allow zooming and panning:
    // change map type, show user location and allow zooming and panning
        map.MapType = MKMapType.Standard;
        map.ShowsUserLocation = true;
        map.ZoomEnabled = true;
        map.ScrollEnabled = true;
  5. Next, add code to center the map and set it's region:
    double lat = 30.2652233534254;
        double lon = -97.73815460962083;
        CLLocationCoordinate2D mapCenter = new CLLocationCoordinate2D (lat, lon);
        MKCoordinateRegion mapRegion = MKCoordinateRegion.FromDistance (mapCenter, 100, 100);
        map.CenterCoordinate = mapCenter;
        map.Region = mapRegion;
  6. Create a new instance of MapDelegate and assign it to the Delegate of the MKMapView. Again, we'll implcodeent the MapDelegate shortly:
    mapDelegate = new MapDelegate ();
        map.Delegate = mapDelegate;
  7. As of iOS 8, you should be requesting authorization from your user to use their location, so let's add this to our sample. First, define a CLLocationManager class-level variable:
    CLLocationManager locationManager = new CLLocationManager();
  8. In the ViewDidLoad method, we want to check if the device running the application is using iOS 8, and if it is we will request authorisation when the app is in use:
    if (UIDevice.CurrentDevice.CheckSystemVersion(8,0)){
                        locationManager.RequestWhenInUseAuthorization ();
  9. Finally, we need to edit the Info.plist file to advise users of the reason for requesting their location. In the Source menu of the Info.plist, add the following key:
    and string:
    Maps Demo.

ConferenceAnnotation.cs – A class for custom Annotations

  1. We're going to use a custom class for the annotation called ConferenceAnnotation. Add the following class to the project:
    using System;
        using CoreLocation;
        using MapKit;
        namespace MapDemo
            public class ConferenceAnnotation : MKAnnotation
                string title;
                CLLocationCoordinate2D coord;
                public ConferenceAnnotation (string title,
                CLLocationCoordinate2D coord)
                    this.title = title;
                    this.coord = coord;
                public override string Title {
                    get {
                        return title;
                public override CLLocationCoordinate2D Coordinate {
                    get {
                        return coord;

ViewController - Adding the annotation and overlay

  1. With the ConferenceAnnotation in place we can add it to the map. Back in the ViewDidLoad method of the ViewController, add the annotation at the map's center coordinate:
    map.AddAnnotations (new ConferenceAnnotation ("Evolve Conference", mapCenter));
  2. We also want to have an overlay of the hotel. Add the following code to create the MKPolygon using the coordinates for the hotel provided, and add it to the map by call AddOverlay:
    // add an overlay of the hotel
        MKPolygon hotelOverlay = MKPolygon.FromCoordinates(
            new CLLocationCoordinate2D[]{
            new CLLocationCoordinate2D(30.2649977168594, -97.73863627705),
            new CLLocationCoordinate2D(30.2648461170005, -97.7381627734755),
            new CLLocationCoordinate2D(30.2648355402574, -97.7381750192576),
            new CLLocationCoordinate2D(30.2647791309417, -97.7379872505988),
            new CLLocationCoordinate2D(30.2654525150319, -97.7377341711021),
            new CLLocationCoordinate2D(30.2654807195004, -97.7377994819399),
            new CLLocationCoordinate2D(30.2655089239607, -97.7377994819399),
            new CLLocationCoordinate2D(30.2656428950368, -97.738346460207),
            new CLLocationCoordinate2D(30.2650364981811, -97.7385709662122),
            new CLLocationCoordinate2D(30.2650470749025, -97.7386199493406)
        map.AddOverlay (hotelOverlay);

    This completes the code in ViewDidLoad. Now we need to implement our MapDelegate class to handle creating the annotation and overlay views respectively.


  1. Create a class called MapDelegate that inherits from MKMapViewDelegate and include an annotationId variable to use as a reuse identifier for the annotation:
    class MapDelegate : MKMapViewDelegate
            static string annotationId = "ConferenceAnnotation";

    We only have one annotation here so the reuse code isn't strictly necessary, but it's a good practice to include it.
  2. Implement the GetViewForAnnotation method to return a view for the ConferenceAnnotation using the conference.png image included with this walkthrough:
    public override MKAnnotationView GetViewForAnnotation (MKMapView mapView, NSObject annotation)
            MKAnnotationView annotationView = null;
            if (annotation is MKUserLocation)
                return null; 
            if (annotation is ConferenceAnnotation) {
                // show conference annotation
                annotationView = mapView.DequeueReusableAnnotation (annotationId);
                if (annotationView == null)
                    annotationView = new MKAnnotationView (annotation, annotationId);
                annotationView.Image = UIImage.FromFile ("images/conference.png");
                annotationView.CanShowCallout = true;
            return annotationView;
  3. When the user taps on the annotation, we want to display an image showing the city of Austin. Add the following variables to the MapDelegate for the image and the view to display it:
    UIImageView venueView;
        UIImage venueImage;
  4. Next, to show the image when the annotation is tapped, implement the DidSelectAnnotation method as follows:
    public override void DidSelectAnnotationView (MKMapView mapView, MKAnnotationView view)
            // show an image view when the conference annotation view is selected
            if (view.Annotation is ConferenceAnnotation) {
                venueView = new UIImageView ();
                venueView.ContentMode = UIViewContentMode.ScaleAspectFit;
                venueImage = UIImage.FromFile ("image/venue.png");
                venueView.Image = venueImage;
                view.AddSubview (venueView);
                UIView.Animate (0.4, () => {
                venueView.Frame = new CGRect (-75, -75, 200, 200); });
  5. To hide the image when the user deselects the annotation by tapping anywhere else on the map, implement the DidSelectAnnotationView method as follows:
    public override void DidDeselectAnnotationView (MKMapView mapView, MKAnnotationView view)
            // remove the image view when the conference annotation is deselected
            if (view.Annotation is ConferenceAnnotation) {
                venueView.RemoveFromSuperview ();
                venueView.Dispose ();
                venueView = null;

    We now have the code for the annotation in place. All that is left is to add code to the `MapDelegate` to create the view for the hotel overlay.
  6. Add the following implementation of GetViewForOverlay to the MapDelegate:
    public override MKOverlayView GetViewForOverlay (MKMapView mapView, NSObject overlay)
            // return a view for the polygon
            MKPolygon polygon = overlay as MKPolygon;
            MKPolygonView polygonView = new MKPolygonView (polygon);
            polygonView.FillColor = UIColor.Blue;
            polygonView.StrokeColor = UIColor.Red;
            return polygonView;

Run the application. We now have an interactive map with a custom annotation and an overlay! Tap on the annotation and the image of Austin is displayed, as shown below:


In this article we looked at how to add an annotation to a map as well as how to add an overlay for a specified polygon. We also demonstrated how to add touch support to the annotation to animate an image over a map.

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