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We've had several new feature announcements for the Google Maps API in the last few months, including high resolution static maps, the new Street View Image API, and the use of high DPI map tiles in the JS Maps API on mobile devices. I'm here to give you some tips for using these new features to improve your existing mobile JS map app .

  1. Upgrade Your App to Use the v3 API
    If you're still using the v2 Google Maps API it's time to change that. Period. This is one of the best improvements you can make to your map app. The v3 Google Maps API was designed for the mobile web and it is significantly faster than its predecessor. Not only is the v3 Google Maps API designed to load fast on mobile browsers, but your app will be upgraded immediately because your map will automatically access high DPI map tiles, which have better on screen fidelity.

  2. Use the Static Maps API to Improve User Experience
    Check your Google Analytics data (or server logs ) to see if your app is being accessed by devices with browsers that can't or don't fully support JavaScript. You can add logic to your app (e.g, server-side user agent checking) to determine whether you should serve your JS Maps API-based app or a static map image that shows the same or similar information. Although your users won't be able to interact with the map, they'll appreciate the ability to view the map. You can even add markers and other features to the static map . You'll also be able to take advantage of the high resolution Static Maps API.

  3. Use StreetView Images to Provide More Context
    Chances are your map app gives users access to all kinds of information, whether it's your own data and images or our very own Places API. Give your users some additional context by using the Street View Image API to provide a general idea of what a location looks like at street level. When you provide a location in your URL request, the API will snap to the panorama photographed closest to that particular location.

  4. Use the JS Maps API Only When It Makes Sense
    If all you need is a small map for context, you should be using the Static Maps API. This may seem obvious, but we've come across a few mobile apps that seem to use the JS Maps API to provide nothing more than a thumbnail. Use the Static Maps API to load a small image and, if needed, link that thumbnail to open up a larger map (whether your own page that uses the JS Maps API or maps.google.com).

And again, if you're still using the deprecated v2 Google Maps API in any of your apps (mobile or otherwise), it's time to migrate your app to the v3 Google Maps API, as we're more than halfway through the three year deprecation period.


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Several weeks ago we shared an update about the introduction of usage limits to the Google Maps API. Today I’d like to provide additional details about these limits, the types of sites that may be affected, and as promised, equip you with the means for measuring your site’s Maps API usage.

Usage limits and affected sites

Usage limits are being introduced to secure the long term future of the Maps API, while minimising the impact on developers. We have purposefully set the usage limits as high as possible - at 25,000 map loads per day - to minimise the number of affected developers, while ensuring that the service remains viable going forward. Based on current usage, only the top 0.35% of sites will be affected by these limits, meaning that the Google Maps API will remain free for the vast majority of sites.

We recognise that sites may occasionally experience spikes in traffic that cause them to exceed the daily usage limits for a short period of time. For example, a media site that uses a map to illustrate a breaking news story, or a map-based data visualization that goes viral across social networks, may start to generate higher traffic volumes. In order to accommodate such bursts in popularity, we will only enforce the usage limits on sites that exceed them for 90 consecutive days. Once that criteria is met, the limits will be enforced on the site from that point onwards, and all subsequent excess usage will cause the site to incur charges.

Please be aware that Maps API applications developed by non-profit organisations, applications deemed by Google to be in the public interest, and applications based in countries where we do not support Google Checkout transactions or offer Maps API Premier are exempt from these usage limits. We will publish a process by which sites can apply for an exemption on the basis of the above criteria prior to enforcement of the limits commencing. Non-profit organizations are also encouraged to apply for a Google Earth Outreach grant, which provides all the additional benefits of a full Maps API Premier license.

Evaluating API usage by your site

To help you measure your site’s Maps API usage, we have now added the Maps API to the Google APIs Console. The Google APIs Console is a centralised dashboard for Google’s developer offerings, and we encourage all developers, no matter how big or small your application, to create an APIs Console account.

We are initially introducing the limits for Maps API v2 and Maps API v3 map loads. The Maps Image APIs, and differentiated pricing and limits for Maps API v3 Styled Maps, are not currently included in the APIs Console, but will be added in the future. Once you’ve created an APIs Console account, please follow the instructions in the Maps API documentation to enable Maps API v2 or Maps API v3 on your APIs Console Project, and update your application to provide your APIs Console key when loading the Maps API.

After updating your Maps API application, you will begin to see your usage reported in the APIs Console. Monitor your usage over several weeks, and if your site consistently exceeds the daily usage limits, you will need to respond in one of the following ways:
If you choose to enable billing, you will not be charged until enforcement of the usage limits begins in early 2012. Once enforcement begins, excess usage after your site has exceeded the limits for more than 90 days will be charged to the credit card you provided according to the rates listed in the Maps API FAQ.

We hope this additional information helps clarify the impact that the Maps API usage limits may have on your site, and recommend that you begin using the Google APIs Console to quantify your usage. For more information, please refer to the usage limits section of the Maps API FAQ. For further assistance, we encourage you to visit the the Google Maps JavaScript API v3 forum.


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With a paper map, you can truly make it your own by getting out a pen or a pencil, and adding your own annotations to it. You could circle all the museums that you want to visit, or trace the route that you will take on your road trip.

Maps API applications can now offer users this sort of tactile interactivity using the new Drawing Library. The Drawing Library provides a toolbox which enables users to draw markers, lines, and shapes on the map, much as they would in any drawing application. The tools can be used for collecting annotations from users, or for selecting regions to search or highlight. Applications can listen for events when overlays are added and respond accordingly, such as issuing the search query or saving the annotations to a database.

Shapes on a map, including shapes users have just drawn using drawing tools, can also be made editable so that users can modify or correct them. For example, the user could change the bounds for a geospatial query with the drag of a mouse. The Polyline, Polygon, Circle, and Rectangle classes have a new editable property, which toggles the visibility of control points on these shapes.



For more information on using the drawing library and editable shapes, please refer to the Maps API documentation. The Maps API forum is a great place to discuss these new features, or raise any other Maps API issues that you may have. We hope that these new features will result in even greater interactivity for applications built on top of the Maps API.