Get Started

This guide walks you through the first steps to build apps with the HERE SDK. The HERE SDK is tailored to bring the best and freshest assets from the HERE platform to your mobile applications.

Before you begin, make sure you have read the following:

Get Your Credentials

The HERE SDK for Android requires two strings to authenticate your app:

  • ACCESS KEY ID: A unique ID for your account.
  • ACCESS KEY SECRET: A secret key, which is shown only once after creation time. Please make sure to note it down before leaving developer.here.com.

No other credentials or tokens are needed to use the HERE SDK.

Note that these credentials can be reused for the Lite and Explore Editions regardless of the platform - furthermore, you can use these credentials for more than one app. For example, they will work with all example apps you can find on GitHub. For the Navigate Edition you need to contact your HERE representative to generate a set of evaluation credentials.

When you obtain your credentials, also an APP ID is generated. This ID is not consumed by the HERE SDK, but it is recommended to mention it when contacting the HERE support team.

To obtain your personal ACCESS KEY ID (access_key_id) and ACCESS KEY SECRET (access_key_secret), do the following:

  1. Register or sign in at developer.here.com.
  2. After creating your project, generate an app to obtain an access key ID and access key secret.

You can either choose an existing project or Select a plan for a new project. Then scroll down to the HERE SDK product family and click Create a Key. You can create two sets of keys. Below this button you can download the HERE SDK artifacts which consist of the Android library (the HERE SDK binary to include in your app(s)) and selected documentation files.

See also the below section Authenticating Applications to learn more details on how to set the credentials for an app.

Try the Example Apps

The easiest way to get started, is to try one of the many example projects that are available for the HERE SDK.

Choose an example of your choice, then:

  1. Add the HERE SDK framework to the app's libs folder.
  2. Add your HERE credentials (access_key_id and access_key_secret) to the AndroidManifest.xml file.

Now you are ready to open the project with Android Studio and you can instantly execute the app on your device or simulator.

Did you know that almost every topic of this Developer's Guide is available as executable app?

Feel free to experiment with the code of the examples. You can also follow the below guide to get a more thorough introduction on how to develop apps with the HERE SDK.

Create a New Android Project

As a very first step-by-step example, we will develop a "Hello Map" Android application that shows - yes! - a map. If you want to integrate the SDK into an existing application, you can skip this step. No specific SDK code is involved here. We recommend using Android Studio as the IDE. If you are new to Android development, please follow the guides on developer.android.com to help you get started with the first steps.

Note: The example code for "HelloMap" is available from here.

Start Android Studio (for this guide, we have used version 4.0) and create a new project by selecting:

  • Start a new Android Studio Project.
  • Choose Phone and Tablet, select Empty Activity and click Next.
  • Provide a project name, e.g. "HelloMap" and select Java or Kotlin as the language. For the example below, we have chosen Java.
  • Next to "Minimum API level", set API 21 as the minimum Android SDK.
  • Make sure an appropriate directory is chosen in "Save location" and click Finish to continue.

We recommend to use AndroidX support libaries. If not done already, in Android Studio click Refactor -> Migrate to AndroidX.

Once the wizard finishes, make sure to build the plain project and execute it on an emulator (or on a device). If all goes well, you should see the "Hello World" text.

Say Hello Map!

Once we have a working Android application, it's time to include the HERE SDK and to show a map on your emulator or device. Here's an overview of the next steps:

  1. Adapt your gradle script to integrate the HERE SDK.
  2. Set required credentials and permissions to your manifest file.
  3. Add a map view to your main activity's layout file.
  4. Add the code to load your first map scene.

Note: While all of the functionalities of the HERE SDK are accessible from the emulator, usage of a real device is strongly recommended. The overall performance will be better, and some features like gestures are just easier to use on multi-touch enabled hardware. The rendering of the map view is optimized for mobile device GPUs.

Let's begin with the first step to see how we can add the HERE SDK to our project.

Integrate the HERE SDK

On developer.here.com you can find the latest release artifacts including the HERE SDK framework archive to include in your application (named xx.yy.zz.release_date).

Copy the HERE SDK AAR file (*.aar) to your application's app/libs folder.

Since the HERE SDK encourages the use of Lambda expressions, Java 8 is required. Add the following inside the android closure of the app level's build.gradle file to desugar the output of the javac compiler:

    compileOptions {
        sourceCompatibility JavaVersion.VERSION_1_8
        targetCompatibility JavaVersion.VERSION_1_8
    }

Then extend the dependencies closure in the same build.gradle file to make sure *.aar files are included, by adding the following:

implementation fileTree(dir: 'libs', include: ['*.jar', '*.aar'])

Note that this guide is based on HERE SDK version 4.4.4.0. If your AAR version is different from the version used for this guide, the steps may vary and you may need to adapt the source code of your app.

Now it's time to click the Sync button ("Sync Project with Gradle Files") to integrate the SDK.

Set Your HERE Credentials

When using the HERE SDK, your application must be authenticated with a set of credentials you add to the AndroidManifest.xml file of your project.

For this, you need to acquire a set of credentials by registering yourself on developer.here.com - or ask your HERE representative.

Once you have your credentials at hand, add your set of credentials inside the application element in AndroidManifest.xml:

<meta-data android:name="com.here.sdk.access_key_id" android:value="YOUR_ACCESS_KEY_ID" />
<meta-data android:name="com.here.sdk.access_key_secret" android:value="YOUR_ACCESS_KEY_SECRET" />

Note: The credentials are not tied to the package name or the application ID of your app, but to the account used to obtain the credentials. This makes it possible to use the same set of credentials for multiple apps.

Tip: Alternatively, you can set your credentials programmatically, for example, if you don't want to hardcode your credentials in the manifest for security reasons.

Handle Android Permissions

The HERE SDK for Android automatically merges all required permissions to the AndroidManifest.xml:

<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.INTERNET" />
<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE" />

Optionally, in AndroidManifest.xml, you can add inside the top-level manifest element the above permissions to be explicit about the requirements.

These permissions are not sensitive and are immediately granted upon installation by the system - they are always needed, as the HERE SDK needs to have a working internet connection. It is not a requirement to handle these permissions and there are no HERE SDK specific requirements on how to handle permissions.

However, a user can deny any permission after installation via the device's app settings. Therefore it is recommended to add permission handling to your app to notify the user upon app launch.

The accompanying example apps show how this can be done utilizing a convenience class to keep you away from the boiler plate code. Of course, you can handle the permissions for your own application in a different way - or even decide to omit it: Note that if no internet connection is available, most HERE SDK services will indicate this with an appropriate error message.

Add the Map View

Now that we have the SDK integrated into the project and added the required permissions and credentials, we can add a new MapViewLite instance.

The map view is called 'MapViewLite' due to its special light-weighted rendering architecture that is optimized for resource-constrained devices. The HERE Rendering Engine is only available as part of the Explore Edition or the Navigate Edition.

Open the layout file of the MainActivity (usually named activity_main.xml) and remove the "Hello World" TextView (assuming you followed Android Studio's wizard). By default, it created a ConstraintLayout where we can place the map view. Any other layout parent will suit too. Add the following piece of code:

<com.here.sdk.mapviewlite.MapViewLite
   android:id="@+id/map_view"
   android:layout_width="match_parent"
   android:layout_height="match_parent">
</com.here.sdk.mapviewlite.MapViewLite>

A ConstraintLayout has the advantage that it offers a flat view hierarchy and it works well with Android Studio's Layout Editor, but this is all up to you. The SDK's MapViewLite behaves exactly as you would expect from any other Android View.

Apparently, we create the map view from our layout file. We need to also initialize it; to do this, update the onCreate() method in your MainActivity (or any other Activity where you want to show a map view) so that it looks like the following:

private MapViewLite mapView;

@Override
protected void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
    super.onCreate(savedInstanceState);
    setContentView(R.layout.activity_main);

    // Get a MapViewLite instance from the layout.
    mapView = findViewById(R.id.map_view);
    mapView.onCreate(savedInstanceState);
}

You will get an error about MapViewLite being an unresolved symbol, so use the auto completion hotkey to add com.here.sdk.mapviewlite.MapViewLite to your imports list, or add it manually.

Note: It is important to call mapView.onCreate() to perform additional initialization tasks. Otherwise the map will not be rendered. Note that multiple MapViewLite instances can be created and rendered together on one screen as part of the same layout.

Load a Map Scene

Before we can see any map on the device's screen, we need to decide how the map data should be rendered. Therefore, we need to asynchronously load a scene that allows us to customize the look of the map. When we load a scene, it will use one of the default map styles the SDK is shipped with.

You can also create your own fully customized map styles. HERE provides a WYSIWYG map style editor to allow you to define your own map styles.

Loading a map scene can be done from your MainActivity class by adding few lines of code. For example, add the following method and call it when the activity has been created and all requested Android permissions are granted:

private void loadMapScene() {
    // Load a scene from the SDK to render the map with a map style.
    mapView.getMapScene().loadScene(MapStyle.NORMAL_DAY, new MapScene.LoadSceneCallback() {
        @Override
        public void onLoadScene(@Nullable MapScene.ErrorCode errorCode) {
            if (errorCode == null) {
                mapView.getCamera().setTarget(new GeoCoordinates(52.530932, 13.384915));
                mapView.getCamera().setZoomLevel(14);
            } else {
                Log.d(TAG, "onLoadScene failed: " + errorCode.toString());
            }
        }
    });
}

Again, as in onCreate(), you will have to resolve the unresolved packages after adding the above code.

Note: Make sure to call loadMapScene() after the required Android permissions have been handled. In the example's source code, you can find a convenience class called PermissionsRequestor to keep you away from the boiler plate code that is needed for this. As already mentioned above, you may want to handle the permissions for your own application in a different way. There are no HERE SDK specific requirements on how to handle permissions.

As for most callbacks available in the HERE SDK, onLoadScene() is called on the main thread when loading the scene is done. If ErrorCode is not null, it will indicate what went wrong.

From the MapViewLite, we can then access the Camera to set some custom map parameters like the location we want the map centered on, and a zoom level. You can configure the Camera as soon as you have a MapViewLite instance available. However, you will see the changes only taking effect after onLoadScene() has finished.

As an exercise, you can try to replace the above map style with the following: MapStyle.SATELLITE. What do you get?

Lastly, make sure to clean up when the activity lifetime ends: The HERE SDK for Android provides the mapView.onDestroy() method to safely release all of its remaining resources. Additionally, it is recommended to pause rendering the map view when the Activity is paused:

@Override
protected void onPause() {
    super.onPause();
    mapView.onPause();
}

@Override
protected void onResume() {
    super.onResume();
    mapView.onResume();
}

@Override
protected void onDestroy() {
    super.onDestroy();
    mapView.onDestroy();
}

Now it's time to build and run the app. If all goes well, you should see a HERE map covering the whole area of the view. Congratulations, you have just mastered your first steps in using the HERE SDK for Android. Thank you!

Screenshot: Showing main map style.

Screenshot: Showing satellite map style.

Troubleshooting

If you run into trouble, please make sure to first check the minimum requirements and the supported devices.

  • I see only a blank white map: Make sure that your HERE credentials are valid and set as described in the Get Started section above. Also, make sure that your device is able to make an internet connection. With slower internet connections, it may take a while until you see the first map tiles loaded.
  • I am unable to resolve dependency for ':app@debug/compileClasspath': Could not find :heresdk-YOUR_SDK_VERSION: Make sure that your HERE SDK AAR matches the name in your application's build gradle file. Note: This is only needed, if you reference the version explicitly. If you follow the steps above, you don't have to do that as we use *.aar as wildcard to match any version.

Need Help?

If you need assistance with this or any other HERE product, select one of the following options.

  • If you have a HERE representative, contact them when you have questions/issues.
  • If you manage your applications and accounts through developer.here.com, log into your account and check the pages on the SLA report or API Health.
  • If you have more questions, please check stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/here-api.
  • If you have questions about billing or your account, Contact Us.
  • If you have purchased your plan/product from a HERE reseller, contact your reseller.

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