Google Introduces the Google Maps Roads API

Google has introduced the Google Maps Roads API, a new API that includes a "snap-to-road" feature that developers can use to create visualizations from raw GPS locations. The Google Maps Roads API is able to identify the roads a vehicle was traveling on and provide metadata about the roads such as speed limit data. The Speed Limit data service is only available to Google Maps API for Work customers however.


Screenshot of the Google Maps Roads API demo which shows how the Roads API improves routing and displays speed limit data. - Image Credit: Google

The Google Maps Roads API snap-to-road feature converts jittery GPS tracks into smooth paths that follow the geometry of each road. The roads service allows up to 100 GPS points to be collected which are "snapped to" the closest roads the vehicle was traveling on. The points can be requested as interpolated which means that the path will smoothly follow the geometry of the road.

One of the applications currently using the Google Maps Roads API is Dash, an app that connects a car's computer to the driver's smartphone. The app gathers data from the vehicle which is then used to track, analyze and improve the driver's performance. The Dash app uses the Google Maps Roads API to collect travel points and visualize the routes taken by the driver. Dash has its own IFTTT channel as well as an API for third-party app developers called the Dash Chassis API. Dash works on cars that have an OBD-II port and requires an OBD adapter to connect Dash with your car. According to the Dash official website, Dash is "building the 'Automotive Graph' – an open platform for the road, enabling smarter driving for everyone."

The Google Maps Roads API snap-to-road feature is free for up to 2500 queries per day, speed limit data is not available for the free API. For more information about the Google Maps Roads API, read the documentation on the Google Developers website.

Janet Wagner is a freelance technical writer and contributor to ProgrammableWeb covering breaking news, in-depth analysis, and product reviews. She specializes in creating well-researched, in-depth content about APIs, machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, analytics, GIS/maps, and other advanced technologies.