Display Device Location

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This recipe shows how to display the current location of the device on a map.


To show device location on a map in a MKMapView: 

  • Add the using MapKit; using directive to the top of your file.

  • Create an MKMapView and add it to a view.

mapView = new MKMapView(View.Bounds);   
    mapView.AutoresizingMask = UIViewAutoresizing.FlexibleDimensions;       
    //mapView.MapType = MKMapType.Standard; // this is the default
    //mapView.MapType = MKMapType.Satellite;
    //mapView.MapType = MKMapType.Hybrid;
  • Set an NSLocationWhenInUseUsageDescription in the Info.plist file.

  • On iOS 8.0 and above, Create an instance of the CLLocationManager class and call RequestLocationWhenInUse.

CLLocationManager locationManager = new CLLocationManager();
  • To display the ‘blue dot’ that indicates the device’s location, set the ShowsUserLocation property to true:

    mapView.ShowsUserLocation = true;

Location Permissions

Accessing the user's location also requires modifications to Info.plist. Either one of the following keys relating to location data can be set:

  • NSLocationWhenInUseUsageDescription - For when you are accessing the user's location while they are interacting with your app.
  • NSLocationAlwaysUsageDescription - For when your app accesses the user's location in the background.

The first time this screen is displayed, calling RequestWhenInUseAuthorization() on an instance of CLLocationManager will cause iOS to prompt the user for permission to access location data. If the user selects Don’t Allow then the map cannot display the location. Failure to call RequestWhenInUseAuthorization won't cause an error, but will cause you to not have access to the user's location.

If the user grants permission, the map will then display the blue dot indicating the device’s location. Setting ShowsUserLocation does not automatically cause the map to track the user, the blue dot will only be visible if the map’s view is already encompassing their location.

Additional Information

To center the map on the user’s location, add the following code. Each time the device detects a change in the user’s location it, this event is triggered and the map is re-centered on the new location.

mapView.DidUpdateUserLocation += (sender, e) => {
    if (mapView.UserLocation != null) {
        CLLocationCoordinate2D coords = mapView.UserLocation.Coordinate;
        MKCoordinateSpan span = new MKCoordinateSpan(MilesToLatitudeDegrees(2), MilesToLongitudeDegrees(2, coords.Latitude));
        mapView.Region = new MKCoordinateRegion(coords, span);

If the user denies access to their location data, you should implement a fallback (otherwise the map will display coordinates 0,0). 

if (!mapView.UserLocationVisible) {
    // user denied permission, or device doesn't have GPS/location ability
    CLLocationCoordinate2D coords = new CLLocationCoordinate2D(37.33233141,-122.0312186); // cupertino
    MKCoordinateSpan span = new MKCoordinateSpan(MilesToLatitudeDegrees(20), MilesToLongitudeDegrees(20, coords.Latitude));
    mapView.Region = new MKCoordinateRegion(coords, span);

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