Skip To Content ArcGIS for Developers Sign In Dashboard


Customize your exploration of places around you using Esri’s World Geocoding Service or your own custom geocoding service. The app uses Esri’s geocoding service to find hotels, restaurants or bars within a default radius of the device’s current location and provides routing directions to a selected place of interest. The ArcGIS Android Geometry Engine API is used to sort the list of places based on distance and bearing from the device’s location.

The example application is open source and available on GitHub. You can modify it to display categories of places you care about or configure your own custom locator.

Identifying places nearby

Device location

The nearby-app uses a mapless app pattern by first presenting a list of nearby places. Since the app starts with a list, rather than a map, the device location is obtained using Google’s Location Services API. In the future, the Runtime SDK can be used to obtain the device location outside of the MapView. Before trying to obtain the device location, the app checks that the device's GPS and wireless settings are turned on and then configures Google's location service.

// Google's location services are configured in the
// PlacesFragment onCreate method.
if (mGoogleApiClient == null) {
    // Create an instance of GoogleAPIClient.
    mGoogleApiClient = new GoogleApiClient.Builder(getActivity())
// Once Google's location service is connected,
// you can use the device location to start the
// geocoding search.
@Override public void onConnected(@Nullable Bundle bundle) {
    mLastLocation = LocationServices.FusedLocationApi.getLastLocation(mGoogleApiClient);

Once a location is obtained, a search for places can begin.


The search for places uses category filters (e.g. “Hotel”, “Food”, “Pizza”) to find places matching these types near the current device location. The World Geocoding service uses a hierarchical structure of categories allowing high level concepts, like a category level 1 descriptor (e.g. “POI” for place of interest) to be searched as well as more specific category level 3 types like “Brazilian Food” or “Science Museum” to be used. The category filters and other search criteria are defined using the SDK’s Geocode Parameters.

The geocode parameters are configured with the maximum number of results to return, the desired categories, the device's current location, and output fields using the following pattern. Note that the geocoding service supports a specific list of categories defined here. In the nearby-app, we're interested in the top 10 results within a radius of 50 kilometers of the current location.

GeocodeParameters parameters = new GeocodeParameters();

// We're interested in the top ten nearest places

// This limits the search to a radius of 50 kilometers
// around the current location.

// Retrieve a mutable list
List categories = parameters.getCategories();

// Add a subset of specific keyword categories
// known to the service. See reference above.
categories.add("Coffee Shop");
categories.add("Bar or Pub");

List outputAttributes = parameters.getResultAttributeNames();
// Return all of the service output fields

// Execute the search[]
<ListenableFuture> results = mLocatorTask.geocodeAsync(searchText, parameters);

A distance and bearing from the device's location is calculated for each returned place.

Calculating bearing and distance

To determine distance and bearing, the geometry engine is used to calculate the geodesic distance between the device location and each nearby point of interest. Measuring distance, determining spatial relationships, and altering geometries can be done locally on the mobile client.

When using the current device location in geospatial calculations, a spatial reference must be defined since the location returned by Google's location service doesn't specify a spatial reference.

LinearUnit linearUnit = new LinearUnit(LinearUnitId.METERS);
AngularUnit angularUnit = new AngularUnit(AngularUnitId.DEGREES);

//The current location is obtained from the Google Location API
//needs to be created as a new point with a spatial reference.

// Get the spatial reference from the place returned from the geocoding service
SpatialReference spatialReference = place.getLocation().getSpatialReference() ;

// Create a new Point and use it for spatial calculations
Point newPoint = new Point(mCurrentLocation.getX(), mCurrentLocation.getY(), spatialReference );
GeodesicDistanceResult result =GeometryEngine.distanceGeodesic(newPoint, place.getLocation(),linearUnit, angularUnit, GeodeticCurveType.GEODESIC);
double distance = result.getDistance();

// Bearing degrees are returned in a range between -180 to 180.
double degrees = result.getAzimuth1();
if (degrees > -22.5  && degrees <= 22.5){
    bearing = "N";
}else if (degrees > 22.5 && degrees <= 67.5){
    bearing = "NE";
}else if (degrees > 67.5 && degrees <= 112.5){
    bearing = "E";
}else if (degrees > 112.5 && degrees <= 157.5){
    bearing = "SE";
}else if( (degrees > 157.5 ) || (degrees <= -157.5)){
    bearing = "S";
}else if (degrees > -157.5 && degrees <= -112.5){
    bearing = "SW";
}else if (degrees > -112.5 && degrees <= -67.5){
    bearing = "W";
}else if (degrees > -67.5 && degrees <= -22.5){
    bearing = "NW";

With bearing and distance assigned, places are shown in the List View.

Clicking on the map icon will display the nearby places in the map view.

Displaying places in the map

Deriving a viewpoint

When the user clicks on the map icon to view the map, the map viewpoint is derived based on the locations in the list view. This is done by iterating over the found places, creating a Multipoint object, and then using the GeometryEngine's buffer method to generate a Polygon. From the Polygon, a rectangular area with a spatial reference can be obtained and passed to the map view.

List<Point> points = new ArrayList<>();

// Create an array of Point objects based on place locations
for ( Place place : places){
// Create a Multipoint object and then buffer it to create a polygon
Multipoint mp = new Multipoint(points);
Polygon polygon = GeometryEngine.buffer(mp, 0.0007);

// Get the envelope from the polygon
Envelope viewpoint = polygon.getExtent();

Location display

Once we have a MapView, we can set the Viewpoint and leverage the SDK's LocationDisplay. The desired behavior is to have the MapView change the visible area to the current extent and display the device location. Currently you have to wait for the MapView draw status to be completed in order to use the Viewpoint with the location display. This is accomplished by the following steps:

mMapView = (MapView) root.findViewById(;
ArcGISMap map = new ArcGISMap(Basemap.createNavigationVector());

// Set view point first

// Wait for draw status to be complete before getting and
// starting location display.
mMapView.addDrawStatusChangedListener(new DrawStatusChangedListener() {
   @Override public void drawStatusChanged(final DrawStatusChangedEvent drawStatusChangedEvent) {
        if (drawStatusChangedEvent.getDrawStatus() == DrawStatus.COMPLETED){
          mLocationDisplay = mMapView.getLocationDisplay();

Refreshing the map view with new search results

As the user taps or pans the map, the app either displays details for a tapped place or a SnackBar is displayed and a new search is initiated for the panned location. Navigation changes are monitored by attaching a NavigationChangedListener to the MapView. With each event received, we check the MapView.isNavigating() method and in the case where a user uses a fling gesture there is a slight pause before the fling that results in the method returning false as the API does not currently account for the delay. To work around this, we add logic to the message queue and execute after 50 milliseconds which ensures fling gestures are captured.

// This is a workaround for detecting when a fling motion has completed on the map view. The
// NavigationChangedListener listens for navigation changes, not whether navigation has completed. We wait
// a small interval before checking if map is view still navigating.

mNavigationChangedListener = new NavigationChangedListener() {

  @Override public void navigationChanged(final NavigationChangedEvent navigationChangedEvent) {
   if (!mMapView.isNavigating()){
     Handler handler = new Handler();
     handler.postDelayed(new Runnable() {

       @Override public void run() {

         if (!mMapView.isNavigating()) {
     }, 50);

Each time a search is initiated from the map view, the found places are constrained to the current visible area of the map using the GeometryEngine's within method.

Envelope visibleMapArea = mapView.getVisibleArea().getExtent();

// Only show places within the visible map area
Point placePoint = new Point(location.getX(),location.getY(), SpatialReferences.getWgs84());
if (GeometryEngine.within(placePoint,visibleMapArea)){
  Log.i("GeometryEngine", "***Excluding " + place.getName() + " because it's outside the visible area of map.***");


A walking route is generated for a place by tapping on the routing arrow in the upper right hand corner of the toolbar.

Getting navigation directions in the nearby-app is just as easy in the Runtime SDK as it is on ArcGIS Online. A good example of how to set this up is found in the maps-app so we won't discuss it here. In contrast to the maps-app, the nearby-app demonstrates how to set up a request for a walking route using travel modes and restrictions in the routing request.

RouteParameters routeParameters = routeTaskFuture.get();

// Explicity set the travel mode attributes for a walking route
TravelMode mode = routeParameters.getTravelMode();

// Setting the restriction attributes for walk times
List<String> restrictionAttributes = mode.getRestrictionAttributeNames();
restrictionAttributes.add("Avoid Roads Unsuitable for Pedestrians");
restrictionAttributes.add("Preferred for Pedestrians");


ListenableFuture<RouteResult> routeResFuture = routeTask.solveRouteAsync(routeParameters);

Getting and setting attribute lists highlights a common pattern throughout the SDK, the use of mutable collections to control a variety of settings. Examples of this were shown in the Geocoding section above and prevalent throughout the nearby-app. Manipulating graphic overlays for displaying routing results and adding graphics to the map is another area where the pattern occurs.

// Showing the route result, the route overlay is added
// only once.  Subsequent access is via "getGraphcis"

if (mRouteOverlay == null) {
    mRouteOverlay = new GraphicsOverlay();
    // Clear any previous route

//Adding graphics to the map
BitmapDrawable pin = (BitmapDrawable) ContextCompat.getDrawable(getActivity(),getDrawableForPlace(place)) ;
PictureMarkerSymbol pinSymbol = new PictureMarkerSymbol(pin);
Point graphicPoint = place.getLocation();
Graphic graphic = new Graphic(graphicPoint, pinSymbol);
Source code on GitHub
In this topic