FOSS4G-Asia 2023 Seoul

Ferrostar: Building the Future of Mobile Navigation in Rust
12-01, 10:40–11:00 (Asia/Seoul), Circle Room

While the world of free open-source geospatial software is vast, mobile navigation remains relatively uncharted territory. Despite apps like OSMAnd and Organic Maps offering navigation, the landscape lacks comprehensive and accessible SDKs. Perhaps the most well-known prior work of this type is the Mapbox Navigation SDK. It was originally open-source, but over the years it progressively more difficult to plug in routes from other vendors, and eventually the critical components were made closed source.

The future of mobility is evolving. Micromobility is one important trend of course, but we are also seeing innovation in routing itself with the advent of wheelchair routing, preference for lit areas, and even custom routing for golf cart communities in the United States. However, the barrier to integrating these custom routes into your own apps remains fairly high. In this changing landscape, the need for a flexible and open-source navigation SDK is more pronounced than ever.

This talk will introduce Ferrostar, a new open-source, cross-platform, vendor-neutral SDK which aims for these lofty goals. It will give a high-level overview of the prior work, our decision to use Rust for the core, and some of the technical challenges we have encountered in trying to build idiomatic libraries for both iOS and Android.

This talk is aimed equally at mobile and systems developers.

Ian is a cofounder of Stadia Maps, where he's on a mission to make location APIs more accessible. His background is in iOS and backend development, and currently lives in Seoul.