Google Releases New Static Maps API

The Google Static Maps API (our Google Static Maps API Profile) is quite popular with developers looking for a relatively lightweight method of including Google Maps as rapidly-loading images on web sites. If you're not familiar with this API, it essentially allows you to add a custom Google Map (including markers and paths) as the source for an image element on a web page.

The first version of this API was released approximately two years ago, and now Google has released v2 of the API. According to Pamela Fox, who posted the news on the Google Geo Developers Blog, the new API boasts several new features:

  • Paths can be specified as encoded polylines.
  • Paths can be filled and rendered as polygons.
  • Locations (in center, markers, or path parameters) can now be specified as addresses instead of latitude/longitude coordinates.
  • Colors can now be specified as any 24-bit or 32-bit color.

Pamela has put together a "Secret Treasures of Kyoto" mobile-friendly website that showcases some of these features.

Static Map

Developers should note that the previous version (v1) will be deprecated in the future, although Google has put together an upgrade guide to help with the transition to the new API. Documentation on the new API and a Static Maps v2 wizard (that allows you to test out the new API without programming) are also available.

This is certainly some good news for developers who had been clamoring for the features included in the new API, and we're sure we'll see continued implementation for various types of sites and mashups.

Be sure to read the next Mapping article: Create Customized Maps in the Cloud with Amazon EC2 and Tile Drawer