How to add annotation to MapView in iOS

This article provides the steps for adding annotation to a MapView in iOS

Updated: – Click here for the updated article in Swift

Create a new Xcode Project – File > New > Project. Select the template for the project as Singe View Application under iOS > Application.


Then provide the required details in the options for your new project screen.


Select Main.storyboard file in the Navigator Area. This should display the User Interface in the Editor Area. Now select Map View from the Object Library, drag and drop it on the User Interface. Adjust the width and height of MKMapView to cover the ViewController.


Now is if you try to Build and Run the project on iOS simulator, you will see the following errors message on the console window.

NSInvalidUnarchiveOperationException’, reason: ‘Could not instantiate class named MKMapView

This occurs when the MapKit library is not as part of the Link Binary with Libraries under Build Phases.


Now add annotation, let us create a plist file containing array of locations with title, latitude and longitude.

Right click on the Project under the Navigator Area and select New File option.


In the template for New File, select Property List under iOS > Resource section.


Now provide name for the plist and save it under the Project directory.


Now change the plist Root type to Array and start adding items of type Dictionary.


The Dictionary item will contain title, latitude and longitude. As shown below, there are 6 items added to plist file.


Create MapViewAnnotation class

In order display the location as annotation, we need to create custom annotation implementing the interface MKAnnotation.


Create a MapViewAnnotation class subclassing NSObject


Navigate to MapViewAnnotation.h header file and replace the content with the following

#import <Foundation/Foundation.h>

#import <MapKit/MapKit.h>

@interface MapViewAnnotation : NSObject <MKAnnotation>

@property (nonatomic,copy) NSString *title;

@property (nonatomic, readonly) CLLocationCoordinate2D coordinate;

-(id) initWithTitle:(NSString *) title AndCoordinate:(CLLocationCoordinate2D)coordinate;


Now navigate to MapViewAnnotation.m header file and replace the content with the following.

#import “MapViewAnnotation.h”

@implementation MapViewAnnotation

@synthesize coordinate=_coordinate;

@synthesize title=_title;

-(id) initWithTitle:(NSString *) title AndCoordinate:(CLLocationCoordinate2D)coordinate


self = [super init];

_title = title;

_coordinate = coordinate;

return self;




The above code creates a title and coordinate property and these properties are initialised in the implementation class using the initWithTitle:(NSString *) title AndCoordinate:(CLLocationCoordinate2D)coordinate method.
Creating and adding annotation to the MapView
Create a IBOutlet property to MKMapView and connect the outlet the MapView in the User Interface. After adding the IBOutlet, the ViewController should look like this

#import <UIKit/UIKit.h>

#import <MapKit/MapKit.h>

@interface ViewController : UIViewController

@property (nonatomic,strong) IBOutlet MKMapView *mapview;


Navigate to ViewController.m and add new method createAnnotations for creating the annotation from the plist and loading the annotation to the map view.

– (NSMutableArray *)createAnnotations


NSMutableArray *annotations = [[NSMutableArray alloc] init];

//Read locations details from plist

NSString *path = [[NSBundle mainBundle] pathForResource:@”locations” ofType:@”plist”];

NSArray *locations = [NSArray arrayWithContentsOfFile:path];

for (NSDictionary *row in locations) {

NSNumber *latitude = [row objectForKey:@”latitude”];

NSNumber *longitude = [row objectForKey:@”longitude”];

NSString *title = [row objectForKey:@”title”];

//Create coordinates from the latitude and longitude values

CLLocationCoordinate2D coord;

coord.latitude = latitude.doubleValue;

coord.longitude = longitude.doubleValue;

MapViewAnnotation *annotation = [[MapViewAnnotation alloc] initWithTitle:title AndCoordinate:coord];

[annotations addObject:annotation];


return annotations;


In the above method, we read the locations from the plist file. Then create CLLocationCoordinate2D for each location using the latitude and longitude details. These details are then used for creating the MapViewAnnotation object.
In the ViewDidLoad method, load the annotations to the MapView by calling createAnnotations method.

– (void)viewDidLoad


[super viewDidLoad];

// Do any additional setup after loading the view, typically from a nib.

[self.mapview addAnnotations:[self createAnnotations]];


If you try to build and run the project, these annotations will not be displayed as the map is not zoomed to these locations. You can fix by adding the following zoomToLocation method.

– (void)zoomToLocation


CLLocationCoordinate2D zoomLocation;

zoomLocation.latitude = 13.03297;

zoomLocation.longitude= 80.26518;

MKCoordinateRegion viewRegion = MKCoordinateRegionMakeWithDistance(zoomLocation, 7.5*METERS_PER_MILE,7.5*METERS_PER_MILE);

[self.mapview setRegion:viewRegion animated:YES];

[self.mapview regionThatFits:viewRegion];


The above code, creates coordinate for the zoom location. Then we define MKCoordinateRegion and set that as the region for the map view. The METERS_PER_MILE is a constant with the value as 1609.344 which needs to be added after the @implementation ViewController

#define METERS_PER_MILE 1609.344

Now you be able to compile and run the project and you should be able to see the following in iOS simulator. And selecting any annotation, should be display the title.




Download the source from here

In Category: Xcode

Ravi Shankar

A polyglot software developer and now exploring Swift and iOS development. If you would like to learn from me then check out services page.

Show 12 Comments
  • Gislawill July 7, 2014, 8:43 pm

    Thank you for the tutorial. By using a NSMutableArray, you can add annotations so simply! Do you know if it is possible to add an image (substitute to the pin) to the annotations while still drawing from a .plist

  • rshankar July 8, 2014, 2:45 am

    In the viewForAnnotation method, you can set custom image for the pin.

    Sample code snippet

    -(MKAnnotationView *)mapView:(MKMapView *)mapView viewForAnnotation:(id)annotation
    if ([annotation isKindOfClass:[MKUserLocation class]])
    return nil;

    static NSString *reuseId = @”reuseid”;
    MKAnnotationView *av = [mapView dequeueReusableAnnotationViewWithIdentifier:reuseId];
    if (av == nil)
    av = [[MKAnnotationView alloc] initWithAnnotation:annotation reuseIdentifier:reuseId];

    UILabel *lbl = [[UILabel alloc] initWithFrame:CGRectMake(0, 0, 120, 20)];
    lbl.backgroundColor = [UIColor clearColor];
    lbl.textColor = [UIColor whiteColor];
    lbl.tag = 01;
    lbl.font = [UIFont fontWithName:@”TrebuchetMS-bold” size:10 ];
    [av addSubview:lbl];
    av.canShowCallout = NO;
    av.image = [UIImage imageNamed:@”whiteblack.png”];
    av.annotation = annotation;
    UILabel *lbl = (UILabel *)[av viewWithTag:01];
    lbl.text = annotation.title;
    lbl.textAlignment = NSTextAlignmentJustified;

    return av;

    Hope this helps

  • Paul August 8, 2014, 1:12 pm

    Hi rshankar
    This is a great tutorial and followed it with ease. Could I add the following link to a website that converts excel or CSV files to a plist to put into a project –
    Took me a while to find one that worked.

    Would also be possible to update your downloadable source code to add the custom image file instead of a pin. I have tried to implement it but keep running into errors.

    Thanks in advance


  • Ahmed August 18, 2014, 2:46 pm

    Hello guys..

    I have issues with that project… Guys send me this project PLEASE to my mail –

    • Paul August 25, 2014, 2:24 pm

      Hi Ahmed
      What are you having issues with? I have the original code working for displaying annotations from a plist but can not seem to get the image to load.

  • Elliot October 21, 2014, 7:29 pm

    Hi, im not sure how old this is, im using it in xcode 6 but i have a prblem where the pins don’t show for the locations. Do you have any ideas?? Thanks

  • philip April 30, 2015, 8:41 am

    Works great in displaying the pins. However, I have been unable to add callouts in the ‘viewForAnnotation’. Just cannot get it to work 🙁

    • rshankar May 1, 2015, 12:25 am

      Can you send the code used for adding callouts, that would help to solve the problem

  • Ankit May 7, 2015, 6:15 am

    Can any one send me the code to my mail for adding annotations

  • Davinder Singh June 17, 2015, 5:47 am

    Well, this worked fine and accurate.
    I am having trouble in finding a complete tutorial regarding the mapkit. If anyone knows any tutorial stuff to study mapkit completely then please send me those links or data. This is my mail id:
    Thanx in advance

  • trisha July 27, 2015, 9:44 am

    Hello rshankar ,,,
    this is a great tutorial .
    can u please tell me how to take the latitude and longitudes dynamically i.e user input via texttfield? and automaticaly the place name will be displayed.

  • karthik October 28, 2016, 9:54 am

    I shown below my code, on that i want to show the location name on the respected label. i have locations name in array.

    – (MKAnnotationView *)mapView:(MKMapView *)mapView viewForAnnotation:(id )annotation

    static NSString *reuseId = @”StandardPin”;

    MKAnnotationView *calloutView = (MKAnnotationView *)[mapView

    if (calloutView == nil)
    calloutView = [[MKAnnotationView alloc] initWithAnnotation:annotation reuseIdentifier:reuseId];
    calloutView.rightCalloutAccessoryView = [UIButton buttonWithType:UIButtonTypeDetailDisclosure];
    calloutView.canShowCallout = YES;

    UIButton *button = [[UIButton alloc] init];
    [button addTarget:self action:@selector(buttonPressed:) forControlEvents:UIControlEventTouchUpInside];
    button.frame = CGRectMake(0, 0, 60, 20);
    button.backgroundColor = [UIColor clearColor];

    UILabel *label = [[UILabel alloc]init];
    label.font=[UIFont systemFontOfSize:12];
    label.textColor = [UIColor blueColor];
    label.backgroundColor = [UIColor whiteColor];
    label.text = @”your text”;

    UIView *anView = [[UIView alloc] init];
    anView.backgroundColor=[UIColor clearColor];

    UIImageView *bgImg=[[UIImageView alloc] init];
    bgImg.image=[UIImage imageNamed:@””];
    bgImg.backgroundColor=[UIColor blueColor];

    calloutView.backgroundColor = [UIColor greenColor];
    calloutView.frame = CGRectMake(0, 0, 60, 20);
    anView.frame=CGRectMake(0, 0, 60, 20);
    bgImg.frame=CGRectMake(0, 0, 60, 20);
    bgImg.image= [UIImage imageNamed: @”anotation.png” ];

    [calloutView addSubview:anView];
    [anView addSubview:bgImg];
    [anView addSubview:label];
    [anView addSubview:button];
    [calloutView setEnabled:YES];

    return calloutView;


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