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Launch The Maps Application Inside The Windows Phone Emulator

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By default the Windows Phone emulator is pretty limited in terms of applications that are available out-of-the-box. In fact, Internet Explorer is the only application that is available – the rest are apps that are side-loaded.

I already talked about a way to invoke the default YouTube application and about some other hidden call-related features. Today I found an interesting new access point that allows me to work with the Maps application without actually having the app accessible in the main menu.

All that needs to be known in this case is the URL scheme that is used to launch the Maps app:


That being said, it is fairly easy to launch the application via a WebBrowserTask:

WebBrowserTask task = new WebBrowserTask();
task.URL = "maps:Kansas";

Initially, the user will be prompted to give the Maps application access to the location data.

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Once the permission is acquired (the Allow button was clicked), the application will launch in its default state.

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From here on the user is able to access the full set of Maps capabilities.

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For easier access, it might be a good idea to pin the application to the home screen. It might sound impossible, since I don’t have access to the default application launcher. However, I can pin a single location to the home screen and take it from there.

To do this, click on an existing pinpoint on the map and you should see a new location page:

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There is the pin button right there in the Application Bar! Click it and the current location will appear on the home screen.

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If you plan on building map integration from your website, so that locations can be directly opened on a Windows Phone device, build the links according to the URL scheme I mentioned above.