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Device Orientation

Many modern mobile devices include an accelerometer and a gyroscope specifically designed to capture the device's orientation and motion values. The HTML5 Device Orientation Event Specification defines DOM events that provide information about the orientation and motion of the device. It helps to have a visual representation of these events before using them.

Device Orientation

The image above overlays the standard coordinate frame relative to a mobile device in the portrait orientation. The three axis are:

  • The x axis runs right to left perpendicular to the y axis. You can rotate the device around the x axis (rotating the device front-to-back) beta degrees.
  • The y axis runs is positive towards the top of the screen and perpendicular to the x axis. You can rotate the device around the y axis (side-to-side) gamma degrees.
  • The z axis is perpendicular to the device's screen. You can rotate the device around the z axis by alpha degrees

Obtaining data related to device orientation and motion exploits new ways for your users to interact with the map and your application. Here are several examples that take advantage of orientation and motion:

Device Orientation

DeviceOrientationEvent Reference

// listen for changes in orientation on the device
dojo.connect(window, "deviceorientation", handleOrientationEvent(event));

* Handle orientation events
function handleOrientationEvent(event) {
 // motion of the device around the x axis
 var x = event.beta;
 // motion of the device around the y axis
 var y = event.gamma;
 // motion of the device around the z axis
 var z = event.alpha;

 // Do something with the map...

Device Motion

DeviceMotionEvent Reference.

// listen for motion events on the device
dojo.connect(window, "devicemotion", handleMotionEvent(event));

* Handle motion events
function handleMotionEvent(event) {
 // accelerationIncludingGravity is the acceleration of the device, including the effect of gravity
 var x = event.accelerationIncludingGravity.x;
 var y = event.accelerationIncludingGravity.y;
 var z = event.accelerationIncludingGravity.z;

 // Do something with the map...
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