Why the TomTom Developer Portal is a Great Resource for Students
Students, It’s Time To Stand Out from The Crowd
Students coming out of school have always been hard-pressed to display the experience needed to get their first job. Employers want to hire someone with experience, but how do you get experience without having someone hire you first?
As artists and models have known for years, the best way to present yourself to a potential employer is by showing them a portfolio of your work. As a recent college graduate who was searching for a job, I’ve been in these shoes. I interacted with the TomTom APIs in preparation for my interview and used my experience with the developer portal to think of use cases and optimizations of what I, or anyone with a similar background, might create. Through this, I realized how useful a resource like this could be for students looking to embed mapping into an application.
In this article, I'll explain why the features available through the TomTom Developer Portal are an excellent resource for students to add a variety of location services to their applications portfolio. This is a space to get creative while showing off sophisticated projects that let your knowledge shine.
A way to do this is to show you understand that one of the keys to application development is to have all the user’s needs met within the application. If you can engineer a project that provides complete map-related services for its use to your use, you have their trust. This gives you better credibility to both users and prospective employers exploring your projects!
How TomTom Makes it Easy To get Started
Go to the TomTom Developer Portal and get your free API key. Getting started is free and easy -- no credit card on file is needed. This key unlocks a world of SDKs, APIs, documentation, tutorials, and examples to help you get started using the most experienced mapping services provider in the world.
The portal provides you with APIs and SDKs to support a multi-environment deployment model — whether you are developing for the Web, iOS, or Android, TomTom can help you.
Using our SDKs, you have access to client libraries to add an array of location services, including Maps, Routing, Search, Traffic and Geofencing to your website and mobile apps. If you’re ready to start building, our Maps SDKs are a great place to get started.
Getting to Know the TomTom APIs
Great, now that you have access to your API key and downloaded the SDK, you’re probably eager to start programming. The question is, what should you build that shows off your understanding?
Coming up with genuine ideas can be the hardest part of creating projects for a portfolio. In this section, we will talk about a few of the location-based application ideas that you can incorporate into your portfolio using TomTom APIs. These go beyond simply searching for locations and marking them on a map.
Traffic and Routing Projects
Traffic and routing capabilities are critical to your application's success. Finding a destination is only the beginning. You want to be able to get your user to the location in the shortest amount of time, without traffic delays. TomTom provides you with the ability to overlay the traffic flow data provided by over 600 million devices onto your map. With the TomTom Traffic API, TomTom gives you the ability to display:
- Real time-traffic incident information
- Real-time traffic speed data
- Traffic delay data such as location, length of route affected, and delay time
- Speed data such as maximum and current speed
You can display the site of a slowdown and add colored tubes to show the length and severity.
The Routing API allows you to incorporate traffic data and display the shortest route given current conditions. Further, it can integrate historical traffic conditions for trips planned later. For example, your user wants to make a restaurant reservation for 7:00 PM. Will they be on time if they can't leave their office until 6:30 PM? Or you can provide them with the reverse calculation and tell them what time they would need to leave to get to their destination on time.
For more examples of traffic and routing use cases, see:
- Using Traffic Data with Routes and Maps
- How To Add Traffic APIs to Your Location-Based App
- Routing and ETA: Anatomy of a Trip
Geofencing allows the user to select an area on a map and search within that area. The Geofencing API has any number of uses for finding goods and services within a specific area. A less obvious example is in the field of the Internet of Things (IoT).
Businesses often need to understand the positioning of their mobile resources. Answering the question of a police vehicles' response ETA to an incident is time critical. Instead of having the locations of all vehicles displayed, we might want only those within an area of, say, 1-2 miles shown. We would also want to dispatch the car with the shortest travel time. This vehicle might be different from the one that is the shortest distance from the scene. This scenario would have applications to any mobile dispatch application.
Another application is in the area of theft reduction. Heavy equipment, once delivered to a construction site, should only be within the geofence of that site. If the equipment were for some reason detected outside of the site, this would indicate a situation that would need investigating.
A similar situation would be of benefit in tracking cargo containers. The ability to determine if the container was within a specific geofence or its movement within it could be used to alert security to potential problems.
For more examples of geofencing use cases, check out these tutorials:
- Getting Started with the TomTom Geofencing Service
- Creating Geofences with GeoJSON to Define Virtual Borders
- Create a Geomarketing Mobile Application Using TomTom Geofencing
Electric Vehicle Projects
There are also APIs for new and emerging markets. Electric Vehicles (EVs), for instance, and their unique needs for recharging create new challenges for mapping applications. It doesn't matter what the fastest route is if the EV doesn't have enough of a charge to reach the next recharging station along the prescribed route. Mapping applications that consider EV drivers need to be able to use geofencing based on vehicle range and route the EV to reach the charging station.
EVs take time to charge. You can provide a list of services and attractions nearby to help drivers manage their wait. Making recommendations might lead to interesting cross-marketing opportunities.
TomTom provides not only the mapping API endpoints that support a variety of EV driver needs, but also maintains the underlying databases that show plug availability at stations, in near real-time. Find more information on TomTom's EV service is available on the Developer Portal here.
For more EV use cases, check out these articles:
- Adding EV Routing to a TomTom Web Map: Understanding the APIs
- Adding EV Routing to a TomTom Web Map: Building the Web Application
The TomTom Developer Portal provides students and freelancers with the resources they need to freely and easily add location services to their existing application portfolio. TomTom provides everything the developer needs, including:
- SDK for Web, iOS, and Android development
- APIs to embed functionality such as geolocation, routing, traffic, and geofencing into their applications
- Code examples
- Blogs to provide application ideas
- Forum for support
- Additional tutorials on our YouTube channel and subreddit r/TomTom
Once you have access to the portal, you can incorporate all the SDKs and APIs into your applications without charge. Plus, you get up to 50K free tile requests per day. The portal provides you with the ability to enhance your skills, develop your portfolio, and show potential employers what you can do.
If you’re ever having trouble starting or building your project, I’m here to help! Shoot me a message on Twitter for any support or portfolio building questions you may have!