Swift 2 examples – #6 Take a Snapshot of a MKMapView

This post is part of my collection: Swift 2 – For Beginners.

This is an example that shows how to take a snapshot of a MKMapView using MKMapSnapshotter. The annotations are not included.

First, we write a generic method that takes a snapshot and execute a callback, it allows us to do what we want with the generated UIImage:

    // Takes a snapshot and calls back with the generated UIImage
    static func takeSnapshot(mapView: MKMapView, withCallback: (UIImage?, NSError?) -> ()) {
        let options = MKMapSnapshotOptions()
        options.region = mapView.region
        options.size = mapView.frame.size
        options.scale = UIScreen.mainScreen().scale
        let snapshotter = MKMapSnapshotter(options: options)
        snapshotter.startWithCompletionHandler() { snapshot, error in
            guard snapshot != nil else {
                withCallback(nil, error)
            withCallback(snapshot!.image, nil)

We can use the previous method to write a method that directly saves the map snapshot as a png.

    // Takes a snapshot and saves the image locally in the DocumentDirectory
    static func takeSnapshot(mapView: MKMapView, filename: String) {
        MapHelper.takeSnapshot(mapView) { (image, error) -> () in
            guard image != nil else {
            // Save file in DocumentDirectory
            if let data = UIImagePNGRepresentation(image!) {
                let filename = getDocumentsDirectory().stringByAppendingPathComponent("\(filename).png")
                data.writeToFile(filename, atomically: true)

To get the path to the documents directory we can use this method:

    // Gets the path to the current directory
    static func getDocumentsDirectory() -> NSString {
        let paths = NSSearchPathForDirectoriesInDomains(.DocumentDirectory, .UserDomainMask, true)
        let documentsDirectory = paths[0]
        return documentsDirectory

4 thoughts on “Swift 2 examples – #6 Take a Snapshot of a MKMapView

  1. Hi Juan, very useful tutorial thanks. However MapHelper doesn’t seem to have been defined and Xcode is throwing up “use of unresolved identifier”. Also, how would you take this a step further and save the image to the camera roll once you have the snapshot? Thanks!


  2. Hi Juan Carlos, useful stuff, thanks! MapHelper doesn’t seem to have been defined though and is returning “use of unresolved identifier”? Also, how would we take this a step further and save the snapshot as a picture to the camera roll? Thanks very much….


  3. Hi, first of all thank you for reading the tutorial and thank you for your comment!

    I had both methods in a class called MapHelper, both methods are static so you can add the class name to the method call (and I like to do that so I know that it is a static method of that class).

    If you remove MapHelper it should work, the method that should be called is “takeSnapshot(mapView: MKMapView, withCallback)”

    It is defined on the first step of the tutorial.

    About your second question “save to camera roll”: you can use UIImageWriteToSavedPhotosAlbum


    Have fun with swift!


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