With over 600,000 sites actively using the Google Maps API, more people around the world view maps provided by the Maps API than any other source. For this reason it’s vitally important that Google Maps provides the most accurate and up to date map data possible. For this reason we're happy to introduce updated maps and the "Report a Problem" tool to France, Luxembourg, and Monaco.
As with previous updates in countries such as the U.S.A., Australia, and parts of Europe, this update utilizes a wide range of authoritative sources such as the Institut Geographique National. In addition, the "Report a Problem" tool on Google Maps allows you to let us know if some aspect of the map that needs correcting, and we'll do our best to address it quickly (often within just a few days).
These map updates will roll out over the next 24 hours across all our Maps APIs and related services. As with previous updates we do ask that you refresh any data that you have previously obtained for these countries using Maps API Web Services, and cached for use in your Maps API application. If you have any questions or concerns relating to this, please post them to the Google Maps API forums.
Posted by Thor Mitchell, Product Manager, Google Maps API
The Fusion Tables Layer has been one of the most successful new features launched in the Maps API in the last year. We have seen a wealth of fascinating data visualizations that rely on Fusion Tables, such as the Bay Citizen Bike Accident Tracker and the WNYC Police Precinct map.
At Google I/O this week, Simon Rogers of the Guardian joined me and Kathryn Hurley of the Geo Developer Relations team to present some examples of how the Guardian uses Fusion Tables to visualise data for their readers, and introduce some great new features:
Fusion Tables allows you to share large tables of spatial data and render them on a map in a way that performs consistently well across all browsers, on desktop and mobile. The way in which the data is styled on the map, the markers used for points, the colours and stroke widths used for polylines and polygons, can be defined by the owner of the table in the Fusion Tables application, or using the new Fusion Tables Styling and InfoWindows API. However only the owner of the table can define the styling in this way, and styling for any single table is fixed.
In order to ensure the continued reliability of the Fusion Tables layer, we are also introducing some limits on the number of layers that can be used, and the complexity of styling. The Maps API now permits up to five Fusion Tables layers to be added to a map, one of which can be styled with up to five styling rules.
Posted by James McGill, Software Engineer, Google Maps API team
Google I/O 2011 kicked off today, and we have a great line up of sessions on the Geo track. First up this morning was a session on "Connecting people with places", in which we were delighted to announce general availability of the Google Places API.
We’ve been working hard to implement the recommendations we received during the Preview. As a result the service launching today includes many new features, most of which are a direct result of this developer feedback:
In addition to these changes we’re also adding a companion Autocomplete service to the Places API, which predicts the Places a user might be looking for as they type. This service is based on the same technology that powers the search field on the Google Maps website, and can dramatically reduce the amount of typing needed when searching for a known place by name, which is particularly valuable on mobile devices.
Both the Places API Search service and the Places API Autocomplete service are offered as XML/JSON REST based web services. These APIs are currently both in Google Code Labs, which means they are not yet included in Maps API Premier. However we are working to graduate the APIs from Code Labs in the near future, at which point the service will also be offered to Maps API Premier developers.
To get started, please follow the instructions in the documentation for obtaining an APIs console key, and enabling the Places API on that key. If you have joined us at Google I/O this year, come along to our session on "Building Location Based apps using Google APIs" at 3pm on Wednesday, in which our Tech Lead, Marcelo Camelo, will be diving into the API in more detail.
In addition to these web services we are also launching a new places library in the Google Maps API which includes:
The below demo uses the PlacesService to display Places on a map in response to changes in the map view port. An individual Place can also be mapped using the Autocomplete enabled search field:
If you would like to provide any feedback about the Places API or Maps API, or you have suggestions for improvements or new features, please let us know using the Maps API Issue Tracker. You can also discuss our APIs using the Maps API Developer Forums.
We’re very excited to make all of these great Places services available to all of our Maps API developers today. We know many of you have been eagerly awaiting access to the Places API, and we appreciate your patience. Places bridge the divide between the way that maps and computers represent the world, and the way that people relate to it. We believe that the launch of the Places API will spark a whole new wave of innovative location based application development, both on mobile and desktop, and we can’t wait to see how it is used.
Posted by Thor Mitchell, Product Manager, on behalf of the Google Maps API team
Posted by Mano Marks, Google APIs team
When I was young, I often found myself on long car journeys with nothing to occupy me but a dog-eared UK road atlas. On the back page, there was a chart that showed the driving distance and journey time between pairs of major cities, and I would amuse myself figuring out which pair was furthest apart, and how long it takes to drive the length and breadth of the country.
Thanks to the new Distance Matrix service, which we are launching today, I can now relive these moments from my youth. The Distance Matrix service is a simple and efficient way to obtain the travel distance and time between many locations when you do not need the full route details for any individual pair. The below applications generates a distance matrix for walking from major London railway stations to several London landmarks. Roll your mouse over the matrix cells, or tap a cell, to see the relevant route.
The Distance Matrix service is also useful for sorting or filtering search results. For example, let’s say your Maps API application enables users to find nearby grocery stores and you want to present the results sorted by drive time. The locations are stored in a spatial database such as Google Fusion Tables, which can return all stores within a given straight line distance. Using the Distance Matrix service you only need one more query to obtain the drive time from the user's location to each of those stores in order to sort them accordingly.
Give us feedback in our Product Forums.