Google Maps API
Google Maps has rapidly become the Internet's favorite online tool. So useful and popular, that many people have reverse-engineered Google's magic for their own purposes.
Google Maps is a service, but with the release of the official Google Maps API it's become more than that. On the face of it, Google Maps seems fairly simple. Type in an address and that area of the World is displayed on a map.
- a draggable area displaying a map or satellite view
- pushpins indicating a location, usually clickable
- coloured lines indicating a path
- Info Window
- a cartoon-balloon message, usually in response to a marker click
- Map Controls
- may include zoom, pan, center and map type (map or satellite)
- drag the map to view more
- Map Type
- switch between map and satellite views
- type in a location to get a map centered on that area
- general searches: "great sushi in New York", or "pizza"
- driving directions between two locations can be produced
- both map types can be viewed at various resolutions
- Public API
- documented routines show how to use on your web page
1. Google Maps service only, not available with Google Maps API.
Using the Google Maps site is fairly straight-forward, additional instructions are available. Using the Google Maps API for your own site requires signing up for a Google Maps API Key, more details can be found at the Google Map API site.
- API Key
- a warning is shown if the key does not match the url
- Close DIV
- Info Window
- displays detail on clicked marker, may cause map scrolling
- Map Size
- large maps will take more time to load
- the more markers, the longer the load time
- are slow on browsers other than Explorer (at present)
- Google will add advertising sometime in the future
- Info Window
- is a speedier replacement in the works?
- how can user choose and click one from a cluster?
A Microsoft update of Internet Explorer has stopped Google Maps working for some people. When this happens, a gray rectangle appears where the map should be. This discussion covers what can happen, and steps to correct this issue. Systems with a proxy software installed may need to be bypassed for Google Maps to work.
As mentioned above, Info Window can cover a good portion of your map and even force it to scroll. Another option would be to avoid using Info Window, moving the text and graphics from the Info Window to another area of the page. The page will respond quicker and the map won't move.
Google Map scripts won't work unless the API key matches the page's directory. For quicker development, define a second API key using a directory along the lines of http://localhost/mysite.
- Pixel Development's JS library providing advanced GMap features
- Virtual Google Earth
- Explore the World, create maps (this site)
- Photographs linked to a Google Map (this site)
- Google Maps
- Google's online map service
- Been Mapped
- list of interesting Google Maps locations
- Maps Mania
- blog about Google Maps
- wikipedia article
- Overlayed Maps
- transparent overlayed maps
- Find Housing
- Find an apartment using Craig's List & Google Maps
- blog of interesting finds
- Google Moon
- honoring the first manned Moon landing
- What's Next?
- blog on the future of mapping services