Latest 0.9.5
License MIT
Platforms ios 8.0, osx 10.9, watchos 2.0, tvos 9.0, requires ARC


UrbanThings API Framework for Apple Platforms

[Carthage compatible]()
CI Status


The UrbanThings API for Apple Platforms has been developed as a modern, highly configurable SDK that brings simplicity of use alongside type safety and testability.

The SDK has been developed in Swift and is to be used with Swift. This is in order to make the resulting data fully type safe with no ambiguity as to the meaning of any data elements. The resulting data can be made available to Objective-C code if needed.

Supported platforms

Swift Version

The SDK is compatible with iOS (including extensions), OS X (incuding extensions), tvOS and watchKit. It is built with Xcode 8.3.3 / Swift 3.1. Deployment versions supported are as follows:

Platform Min Supported Version
iOS 8.0
tvOS 9.0
watchKit 2.0
OS X 10.9

The SDK is a core component of the UrbanThings ecosystem and the same framework that UrbanThings uses within our own software for Apple products.

The SDK has been made available to the Open Source community and we welcome feedback and pull requests for enhancements and fixes for any issues found. Feedback can be submitted via the GitHub issues tracker, emailed to [email protected]. Or, for the truly impressive coder, if you fork the project, we’d love to see your Pull Requests.

Adding the API to your project

We support a number of ways of including the framework in your project.


Carthage compatible

To use the Carthage framework manager insure you have Carthage installed and add a Cartfile to your project (see docs). Add the following to your Cartfile:

github urbanthings/urbanthings-sdk-apple

(adjust as per Carthage docs if you want specific version or branch). Also refer to the docs for details on how to build and install or update the framework into your project.


CocoaPods Compatible

The SDK is available through CocoaPods. To install
it, simply add the following line to your Podfile:

pod "UrbanThingsAPI"

More information on CocoaPods can be found here.

Swift Package Manager

[![SPM compatible]( yet-109480.svg?style=flat)]()

Swift Package Manager currently only supports OS X and Linux and not from within Xcode. We will be adding support once it fully suports all Apple platforms.

Add source to your project

If you do not want to use a package manager clone the repository, open the UrbanThingsAPI.xcodeproj project with Xcode and build the target(s) for the platforms you required. You can then add the frameworks to your project. Alternatively you can add the UrbanThingsAPI.xcodeproj as a project within your own project.

Obtaining an API instance

To request data from the server, you instantiate an instance of the UrbanThingsAPI class.

import UTAPI

let service = UTService(endpoint: "",
                        version: "2.0",
                        key: "A valid API key")
let api = UrbanThingsAPI(service: service)

A single instance can be safely used for all requests during the lifetime of an application, but you can create and destroy instances as you need and maintain multiple instances at the same time.

Making a request

Basic Requests

Requests are made by calling sendRequest and passing it a Request. Basic usage is as easy as passing in one of the UT...Request objects provided, all of which implement the required protocols. For example:

api.send(request: UTImportSourcesRequest()) { data, error in

Data is returned asynchronously as part of the trailing closure (see below).

You can use such pre-provided default implementations of all Requests, or advanced users may wish to create their own implementation by implementing the appropraite protocol(s).

Passing in request data

Many API requests require the passing of input data to specify the required parameters. For example, let’s request the set of place points within a 500 metre radius of the UrbanThings office:

let myOffice = CLLocationCoordinate2D(latitude: 51.5291205, longitude:-0.0802295)
    api.send(request: UTPlacePointsRequest(center:myOffice, radius:500)) { data, error in

For the above example, we’ve used UTPlacePointsRequest, the provided implementation of the PlacePointsRequest protocol. This has initializers to take the various permitted combinations of input; we’ve passed a radius of 500 and a center location corresponding to our office.

In this way, the SDK design prevents many invalid requests from being constructed and ensures all required information is being provided. This is enforced via the compile-time requirements of these initializers.

Handing the response

The send method is asynchronous and a closure is provided when making the call to pass back the results of that call when available. The completionHandler closure receives optional arguments: data (populated if a request succeeds) and error (populated if a request fails).

The data argument is typed to the data expected from the response. The SDK defines a full set of protocols for all data objects returned by the API. Internally, the response JSON is parsed into implementations of these protocols which are then passed to the completion handler closure. This means in your code you are always working with the correctly typed objects and thus no mis-interpreation of the data can occur. This is all enforced at compile time.

Let’s extend the example above to include some processing of the response:

api.send(request: UTPlacePointsRequest(center:office, radius:500)) { data, error in
    if let data = data {
        for placePoint in data.placePoints {
    } else {
        print("Error - (error)")

In this case data is PlacePointList?, an optional for the protocol PlacePointList. We can iterate over the points contained within simply by accessing the properties defined by the protocol.

Let’s examine an alternative request, for a list of import sources:

api.send(request: UTImportSourcesRequest()) { data, error in
    if let data = data {
        for importSource in data {
            print("(importSource.importSourceID) - (")
    } else {
        print("Error - (error)")

Here the response data is typed as [ImportSource]?, an optional for an array containing instances of the ImportSource protocol. Again we can access this data through the protocol with full type safety.

Please see the online documentation for details of the full set of protocols that may be received through the API.

Supported requests

The full set of current request protocols defined alongside their provided implementations is as follows:

Protocol Provided implementation Purpose
DirectionsRequest UTDirectionsRequest Used to make a request for directions between two places. Request has many options for refining routing such as accessibility, transport mode etc.
ImportSourcesRequest UTImportSourcesRequest Used to request a list of import sources. This request has no additional input parameters.
PlacePointsRequest UTPlacePointsRequest Used to request a list of place points that fall within a geographical area. The arae can be defined as a circle or rectangle and futher options are available to refine the request.
PlacesListRequest UTPlacesListRequest Used to request list of places matching (containing) a search string.
RealtimeReportRequest UTRealtimeReportRequest Used to request a realtime arrivals and departure information suitable for data processing purposes.
RealtimeResourcesStatusRequest UTRealtimeResourcesStatusRequest Used to request the resource status of a single transit stop, for example a car park or hire cycle dock.
RealtimeResourceStatusRequest UTRealtimeResourceStatusRequest Used to request the resources status of a number of transit stops.
RealtimeStopboardRequest UTRealtimeStopboardRequest Used to request real time arrivals and departures information suitable for presentational purposes.
TransitAgenciesRequest UTTransitAgenciesRequest Used to request a list of transit agencies from a single import source.
TransitAgencyRequest UTTransitAgencyRequest Used to request a single transit agency.
TransitRoutesByImportSourceRequest UTTransitRoutesByImportSourceRequest Used to request the externally imported data sets avialable.
TransitRoutesByLineNameRequest UTTransitRoutesByLineNameRequest Used to request a search for bus/train/other modal routes that match certain parameters. For example, nearby bus routes matching a specified line name. The list can be further filtered by the agency operating the route(s) and/or the import source of the data.
TransitRoutesByStopRequest UTTransitRoutesByStopRequest Used to request a search for transit routes served by a particular stop.
TransitStopCallsRequest UTTransitStopCallsRequest Used to request a scheduled timetable for a specified TransitStop – i.e. a full list of vehicles scheduled to call at the stop on a specified date within a specified period of time.
TransitStopsRequest UTTransitStopsRequest Used to request matching TransitStop objects – bus stops, train stations, car parks, etc.
TransitTripGroupsRequest TransitTripGroupsRequest Used to request trips along a particular route, grouped by running day (i.e. a timetable) or some other specified metric.
TransitTripsRequest UTTransitTripsRequest Used to request details for a specific trip, i.e. a particular journey along a known route. A single trip can be retrieved using its ID, or all trips along a particular route can be retrieved.

Objective C Support

As a design decision the protocols defined for the response data are deliberately not Objective-C compatible.

Why we took this decision

The protocols defined for the response data are deliberately not Objective-C compatible as doing so puts constraints on what type of properties can be defined. Specifically we wanted to enforce the use of optionals for fields that are optional and non-optionals for those that are always present. For values that
are not NSObject subclasses this is not possible if Objective-C compatability is to be supported. Enum types, numerical values such as Int, UInt, Double and Bool are such cases.

protocol SwiftOnly {
    var intOptional:Int?  { get }
    var uintOptional:Unt?  { get }

@objc protocol ObjcEquivalent {
    var intOptional: NSNumber?  { get }
    var uintOptional: NSNumber?  { get }

The Objective-C compatabile version no longer enfonces the correct numerical type since the NSNumber instances could contain any value. Its also not clear when using this structure which type of numerical value is expected to be contained within the NSNumber instances.

let swift:SwiftOnly = ASwiftVersion()
let objc:ObjcEquivalent = AnObjCVersion()

if let n = swift.intOptional {
    // n is of type Int

if let nsNumber = objc.intOptional {
    // How shoud we use nsNumber?
    let n = nsNumber.integerValue
    let f = nsNumber.floatValue
    let b = nsNumber.boolValue

// The following are all valid as well and will
// provide n, b and f as their respective types.
if let n = objc.intOptional as? Int {
if let b = objc.intOptional as? Bool {
if let f = objc.intOptional as? Float {

Because of the above ambiguity when working in Swift we have taken the decision not to provide Objective-C compatability directly.

How to work in Objective-C

To use data within Objective-C it needs to be converted to Objective-C compatabile classes. Whilst you are free to implement this yourself to meet your needs we are providing a separate framework within the SDK UTAPIObjCAdapter.

The framework provides a full set of objects that can adapt the pure Swift response data structures to be useable from Objective-C. These all take an object implementing the corresponding Swift response protocol and implement a corresponding Objective-C protocol. Again this protocol based approach allows you to provide your own implementations of the Objective-C data response protocols if you don’t want to use the provided implementations.

As an example lets assume we have an Objective-C class that processes a list of PlacePoint objects:

import <UTAPIObjCAdapter/UTAPIObjCAdapter.h>

@interface PlacePointProcessor : NSObject
- (void)process:(NSArray<PlacePoint *> * _Nonnull)points;

@implementation PlacePointProcessor
- (void)process:(NSArray<PlacePoint *> * _Nonnull)points {
    // Do some processing...

Objective-C code snippet above assumes that the necessary bridging headers and Xcode options are configured. Please see the relevant Apple documentation for more details.

Now we can write some Swift code to request the data to be processed by the Objective-C code:

import UTAPI
import UTAPIObjCAdapter

let api = UrbanThingsAPI(apiKey:"A VALID API KEY")
let processor = PlacePointProcessor()
api.sendRequest(UTPlacePointsRequest(center:office, radius:500)) { data, error in
    if let data = data {
        // Map the array of Swift objects to adapted Objective-C objects
        let adaptedData = { UTPlacePoint(adapt:$0) }
        // Can now pass this to the Objective-C method
    } else {
        print("Error - (error)")

_ObjectiveCBridgeable protocol

Items that are bridgable between Swift and Objective-C implement this protocol. However at this time this protocol is poorly documented. We will be looking into whether this is an approach to simplify interoperabilty as well although there are some complications within the framework as how we might acheive this cleanly. However if we can work through the issues you would then have a set of Objective-C objects / adapters and could convert using type casting:

// Get objc is instance of ObjcAdapter for ASwiftVersion instance
let objc: ObjcAdapter =  ASwiftVersion()
// Similar for arrys
let objcArray:[ObjcAdapter] = swiftArray

Watch this space for more on Swift / Objective-C interoperability and don’t hesitate to contribute to the discussion

What if I don’t want Swift?

We will continue to offer the legacy Objective-C API for those users who do not wish to use any Swift code in their projects.

Bonus Material

We have included a Google polyline parser which will convert a Google polyline string into a sequence of CLLocationCoordinate2D instances or build an MKPolyline from the string.

// A valid polyline
let polyline = "_p~iF~ps|U_ulLnnqC_mqNvxq`@"

// Iterate over sequence of CLLocationCoordinate2D values
for point in try polyline.asCoordinateSequence() {
    print("lat=(point.latitude), lng=(point.longitude)")

// Get a MKPolyline instance
let mkPolyline = try polyline.asMKPolyline()


The UrbanThings API Framework for Apple Platforms is made available under the Apache License, Version 2.0. Please see the LICENSE file for further details.

Latest podspec

    "name": "UrbanThingsAPI",
    "version": "0.9.5",
    "summary": "UrbanThings SDK framework for UrbanThings Transport API",
    "description": "Provides Swift framework for all Apple platforms to access the UrbanThings Transport API",
    "homepage": "",
    "license": "MIT",
    "authors": {
        "UrbanThings": "[email protected]"
    "source": {
        "git": "",
        "tag": "0.9.5"
    "requires_arc": true,
    "platforms": {
        "ios": "8.0",
        "osx": "10.9",
        "watchos": "2.0",
        "tvos": "9.0"
    "source_files": "UrbanThingsAPI/**/*.{swift,h}",
    "watchos": {
        "exclude_files": "**/MKPolyline+GooglePolyline.swift"
    "pushed_with_swift_version": "3.0"

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