Monday, May 13, 2013

An Overview of Google Maps Products

Google has developed many products to use to make maps. They range from the basic and My places tools up to the Google Maps JavaScript API and Maps Engine. Here I will list some of the tools and their pro's and con's...

  • (The most common and heavily used mapping tool on the planet. Millions of people use this site every day to look up information, find places, find directions, view traffic conditions, photos, weather and more. When logged into Google you can access the My places tool to create simple maps of your own.)
  • My places (Basic tool to create maps, add placemarks, lines, polygons, and share your maps with friends and family. You simply log in to google, visit, and click on My places. From there you can create a map and share it with others. If you want to display a kml or kmz file in your map just upload the file to a publicly accessible server and paste the url in the search bar of google maps and watch as it appears on the map like magic!)
  • Google Maps JavaScript API v3 (Use this tool to embed an interactive Google Map in your webpage using JavaScript. Helps a lot if you know JavaScript but Google has awesome documentation to help you along the way if you are just a beginner. Check out the Developer's Guide at
  • Google Earth (This is the famous tools that lets you fly anywhere on Earth to view satellite imagery, maps, terrain, 3D buildings, from galaxies in outer space to the canyons of the ocean. Learn more and download Google Earth at
  • Google Places API (The Places API allows you to access information about establishments, geographic locations, or prominent points of interest within your map. I use this API to include layers in my maps for things like restaurants and parks which I don't always have GIS data for. View the Developer's Guide here
  • Google Maps for Business (This is the same tool as the JavaScript API but with a different license and more functionality including more geocoding requests per day, business-friendly terms and conditions, support and service options, intranet application support, and control over advertisements within the map.)
  • Google Maps Engine Lite!!! NEW! (This is an awesome new tool that is FREE and very user friendly. It is more powerful than the My place tool in Google Maps and it allows you to draw and add places, lines, or shapes, it allows you to import and visualize data on the map, organize and group places into layers, and create and modify styles. Sign in to Google and click here to try it out...

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