Google's New Maps API for Flash

Last week, Google announced the Google Maps API for Flash, the latest extension of their extremely popular Google Maps API. As they describe:

This API lets Flex developers embed Google Maps in Flash applications. Similar to the JavaScript version, this ActionScript API provides a number of utilities for manipulating and adding content to maps through a variety of services, enabling you to embed robust, interactive maps applications on your website.

You can get a sense of the new level of interaction via their Photo Flip Map example (mashup profile):

An obvious question is: How does the Flash API compare to the JavaScript API? We get a partial answer from Mike Jone's post announcing the API:

So, what do I like about the API for Flash? Smoothness and speed are a big part of it. We've designed it so that Flash graphics can be used for each tile layer, marker and info window - opening up possibilities like dynamic shading, shadowing, animation, and video. When the user zooms the map, magnification changes happen smoothly and place names fade in. After the user drags a marker, it gently bounces to a halt. Generally, Flash allows for much greater embellishment, and, well... "flashiness." I get excited just thinking about the creative ways developers might take advantage of having a Flash API for Google Maps.

To learn more about the Google Maps Flash API, you can study some example demos and code samples, in addition to working through the tutorial. It will also be interesting to compare the Google Maps API for Flash with the Yahoo! Maps API , which has had a Flash APIs for some time now.

We've added a new Google Maps Flash API profile and for more coverage of this launch see:

Be sure to read the next Mapping article: New Mapping API via ESRI ArcGIS