Monday, October 07, 2013

Google Static Maps API Wizards


If you don't need a fully interactive slippy map you can use the Google Static Maps API to embed a Google Maps image on your web page without requiring JavaScript or any dynamic page loading.

The API is fairly simple to implement and creates a map based on URL parameters. The URL parameters can be quite long however which can lead to some confusion. I've always found it easiest to use Google's Static Maps API Wizard when I need to create a static map. The wizard allows you to select a location, the base map type you require and define the size of your static map. It then creates the URL for you to embed your static map.

Unfortunately the wizard isn't brilliantly designed. That's why you might want to use Katy Decorah's new Static Map Maker instead. The Static Map Maker also allows you to easily create a static map and generate the URL for a number of different image formats. The wizard is a lot easier to use than Google's own wizard and involves a lot less needless scrolling up and down the page to view the changes that you make to your static map.

Both Google's own wizard and the Static Map Maker both ignore the Styled Map options in the Google Static Maps API. These options allow you to select which map features appear on your static map and even allow you to customize the colors of map features. There is still a little niche there for someone to create a Static Maps Wizard that allows you to play around with map styles.

Street View also has its own Static Street View Image API. A few years back I created this very simple Static Street View Wizard to generate the URL to embed a static Street View.
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