BC Places Audio Map - Android app

Year completed: 

Note: This App has been entered into the 2013 OGC Student Map App Challenge, sponsored by Google. More information on the Map Challenge can be found below under 'Map Challenge Details'.

Image 1. Watch this introductory video of the "BC Places Audio Map" Android App, by Jade Lacosse


GeoMemes interns Jade Lacosse (3rd year UVic Computer Engineering Co-op) and Greg Sebastian (3rd year UVic Computer Science) built a custom website and mobile app for exploring Province of British Columbia place names. The App brings together the BC Government Gazateer and a database of First Peoples' place names. The latter layer includes audio links that play in the App.


The First Peoples’ Heritage, Language and Culture Council (FPCC) is a provincial Crown Corporation created by Government of British Columbia legislation in 1990 to administer the First Peoples’ Heritage, Language and Culture program, with a mandate to assist B.C. First Nations in their efforts to revitalize their language, arts and cultures. Since its inception, the FPCC has distributed over $25 million to First Nations communities in B.C. for language, art and culture projects. More info at http://fpcc.ca

First Peoples is in the process of updating its language phrases database, and GeoMemes is helping create the data storage, upload and exploration infrastructure.

The Gazetteer of British Columbia is a spreadsheet of all official place names, their feature type, feature code, mapsheet, latitude & longitude. The Gazetteer is extracted daily from the BC Geographical Names Information System (BCGNIS), the master database of British Columbia place names. The Gazetteer of British Columbia is now available free of charge as a Microsoft Excel Comma Separated Values (csv) file. Feature Definitions and a Feature Code & Category Hierarchy are also included as separate attachments, to allow users to customize their own subset of the Gazetteer. Gazetteer file size is approximately 3 MB. More info at http://geobc.gov.bc.ca/bcnames/gaz.html

Our App

1. The Map

We built a custom 'Slippy map' in a Drupal contrib module that we wrote. The Map is written using the Leaflet javascript library and comprises the following layers:

  • BC First Nations Plane Names* - point dataset (PostGIS/Drupal) with MP3 audio links
  • BC Government Gazateer** - point dataset (PostGIS/Geoserver)
  • OpenStreetMap - map tiles (Mapnik) basemap


The Drupal/Leaflet map incorporates the following special configurations:

  • Incorporation of WMS layers
  • Geolocation of mobile device location
  • Rendering the point symbology differently for mobile clients (larger, touch-navigation friendly)

The audio recordings for First Peoples' Place Names are stored as MP3 files and rendered by a Javascript widget with a Flash fallback for older browsers.

The Map uses four OGC specifications/standards:

  1. Gazetteer layer rendering: Postgis -> Geoserver -> Leaflet using OGC Web mapping Service - http://www.opengeospatial.org/standards/wms
  2. Gazateer symbology: OpenGIS® Styled Layer Descriptor (SLD) - http://www.opengeospatial.org/standards/sld
  3. PostGIS storage
  4. GeoServer


2. The Mobile App

We built an Android App that opens the Map in full screen mode in the client's mobile web browser. The pre-defined URL that the App accesses is http://fp-maps.ca/mobile-map. The App was built using Eclipse and the Android SDK, and is available for free download on Google Play here: link coming soon. You can download the APK to your phone by clicking the link below...


*  BC First Nations Place Names audio database is © First Peoples' Culture Council

** The BC Gazetteer is available under British Columbia’s Open Data licence

Our mobile App code is available here upon request. Please use the geomemes.com contact page.

Map Challenge Details

On April 10th 2013, the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC®) announced the OGC Student Map App Challenge, sponsored by Google, an OGC Principal Member. The Student Map App Challenge is a contest for students who have programming skills and an interest in maps and location services. 

"Open standards from the OGC unlock the potential of the "spatial Web," creating opportunities for app developers to make all kinds of location information available to users, independent of platform. The OGC has launched the Student Map App Challenge to make entrepreneurial students aware of the enormous social and commercial potential of these open standards."
Map Challenge information and rules: http://appchallenge.opengeospatial.org/rules.html
Grab the Android APK (App) and Video...