Back when I was attending high school in Syracuse, NY, I did the typical teenager thing and learned how to drive a car. Syracuse is a (relatively) large city in the middle of upstate NY, so getting from point A to point B could either mean driving down winding country roads and passing by Llama Farms (true story) or driving on multiple highways to get to our nearly-biggest-mall-in-America/most-polluted-lake-in-NY (yep, its at the same location.. go city planners!).

I quickly learned that I loved country roads (who doesn't like llamas??) and hated highways, but since everyone around me were highway-lovers, it was near impossible to get directions to places that didn't involve highways. So that's where Google Maps, and now the Google Maps API, becomes my new best friend. By specifying avoidHighways in GDirectionsOptions, I can find a route that avoids highways. Click the screenshot below to check it out.

Fast forward 5 years: I've moved to the bay area to start my job at Google, and I realize that there aren't really many country roads left, and pretty much all routes involve either a highway or intersections. I should probably mention that I eventually learned in Syracuse that I hate intersections: left turns, right turns, they all freak the gajeezus out of me. So I decided that I'd walk everywhere possible, and seek housing in highly walkable areas. So once again, that's where Google Maps and the API help me out. By specifying G_TRAVEL_MODE_WALKING in GDirectionsOptions, I can get walking directions from my apartment to the nearest "beverage" store. Click the screenshot below to check it out.

Note: Since walking directions may sometimes not include clear pedestrian paths, we need to make sure that your users take caution when using them. So, walking directions are only supported if you have supplied a <div> in the GDirections constructor; this <div> is used to display a warning to the user in the turn-by-turn textual directions.

If that piqued your interest, read through the updated Developer's Guide and API Reference. As always, post in the forum with any questions you may have.

Last Monday, 15 of us met in the Google Victoria offices for the first London Google Geo Developer Meet-up. The primary goal was to allow people to meet each other, and we certainly achieved that. A good time was had by all. In addition, we had some brief presentations:
  • Tina Ornduff talked about Google Earth Education and her recent talks with educators in the UK. Some of the projects include Digital Geography, Google Lit Trips, and Real World Math
  • Marc Tobias Metten gave an excellent presentation on how Nestoria uses Google Maps in their real estate site. It was interesting to hear not just about the map, but the difficulties in working with multiple data providers.
  • The ex-historian in me was intrigued by Phil Gyford's presentation on Pepys' Diary, his site tracking the diary of Samuel Pepys, a 17th century resident of London. Every day, Phil blogs a day of Pepys' diary, and includes links to resources about the various figures and locations in the diary, as well as providing maps of his daily activities.
  • I presented about the new Google Earth API, and showed some of the example projects.
Afterwards, we went to the The Phoenix for drinks and food. Here's a couple of photos:


Sometimes there's functionality that's ridiculously useful for a niche group of developers, and completely unnecessary for others. That's the kind of functionality that's now available in our brand spanking new "Google Maps API for Flash Utility Library" open-source project, and is ready for developers to use, modify, and even improve.

Our 3 inaugural libraries are:

MarkerManager: This library is an AS3 port of the MarkerManager in the JS open-source library. It enables developers to easily manage markers per zoom level/viewport, and is commonly combined with clustering. Though Flash is natively better at rendering large amounts of markers, developers have reported increased performance when using the MarkerManager with thousands of markers.
KML Parser: This library parses a KML file into objects representing the KML DOM, and includes helper code for turning them into map objects (Marker, Polygon, GroundOverlay, etc) and creating a sidebar using the Tree list Flex component. Note that this class ignores elements and attributes that can't be rendered in the Maps API for Flash.
Planetary MapTypes: This library contains map types for Mars, Sky, and Moon, and is a port of all the non-earth map types available in the JS API. This will help you make your maps application out of this world.

To check out the docs and demos for each library, visit our Libraries wiki. If you end up using any of the libraries for your own projects, please let us know in the forum.

For information on contributing patches or libraries to the project, visit our FAQ. To all of you talented AS3 developers (I know you're out there; I've seen you in the group!), I hope that you consider adding to our central repository of helpful add-ons for the Maps API for Flash.


So, it appears that a few thousand of you developers were sending our static map server requests with "&maptype=satellite" in them. Why would you do that? Did you think that we'd see all the requests and just decide to start returning satellite imagery to you? Well, fine. You were right. Here you go:

satellite static map,86.871815&zoom=10&size=500x100&maptype=satellite
(Mount Everest looks significantly more interesting from satellite view than map view; I hear it's hard to build roads there.)

And just to anticipate those of you who are thinking to yourself about what a mighty fine plan that was, and how you're going to start sending "&maptype=hybrid" and "&maptype=terrain", here, have those map types too:

hybrid static map,86.871815&zoom=10&size=500x100&maptype=hybrid
terrain static map,86.871815&zoom=10&size=500x100&maptype=terrain

Okay? Happy now?? Statistically, many developers should be — since "add other map types" has been our top starred static maps feature request in the public issue tracker since the launch of the Static Maps API.

So check out the documentation and start using the new map types for your thumbnail maps, mobile maps, or any of the other reasons we mentioned in our last static maps post. You can also check out the other goodies in this release in the Static Maps API changelog. Enjoy, and let us know in the forum if you have any questions (or just nifty examples to share with us).


Hi all, your friendly neighborhood Geo blogger here with some exciting news! We've just launched a new Earth API Demo Gallery, based on the Maps API Demo Gallery, that provides a new way of browsing Earth API code samples. Here's a screenshot:

Earth API Demo Gallery Screenshot

We'll be adding more official and community-developed samples in the future, so be sure to check back often. If you'd like, you can even bookmark a specific search by using the 'Link to this search' feature. Here are some examples:

Query: Basic Samples
Topic: Events

Thanks, and enjoy!


The Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) is held each December in San Francisco. It is one of the largest gatherings of geoscientists in the world, with over 15,000 attendees. Over the past couple of years a quick tour through the poster presentations on any day would have revealed the influence that KML, Google Earth and Google Maps are having on how geoscientists present their data.

In 2006 and 2007 we convened a Virtual Globes session at the AGU Fall Meeting to provide an interdisciplinary forum for those interested in demonstrating their use of geobrowsers, and meeting other like-minded individuals. Previous presenters have included industry developers and bloggers, as well as the authors behind many of your favorite geoscience KML files, such as the volcano layer, earthquake locations, and sea-ice coverage. The sessions are a mixture of talks and interactive demonstrations, with the latter providing large plasma screens, poster board displays and high-speed internet for each presenter.

The 2008 Fall Meeting of AGU will be held on 15-19 December, and with the help of the Google Geo-team we will once again be convening a Virtual Globes session to demonstrate and promote the development and use of virtual globes and KML. We are currently soliciting presentations from scientists, developers, educators and any individuals interested in utilizing these technologies for better scientific understanding, public outreach and education about our "real" world. The deadline for submissions of abstracts is 10th September 2008.

Full details of how to submit your abstract for consideration are available on our 2008 Virtual Globes website, along with links to more info on the rest of AGU's 2008 Fall Meeting. For those just wishing to attend and not present, the full schedule of Virtual Globes talks and demonstrations will be posted on our website in mid-October.


Google Developer Day London is coming up, and I'm pretty excited. I'm coming to London for it. I'm coming to London and we're holding a meetup for geo developers on Monday, September 15th, at 4:00pm in the Google London office. We'll gather together for a couple of presentations and question and answers. Then we'll spend some time getting to know each other at a local pub.

Space is limited, so if you're coming, please let us know you're coming.