Table of Contents
- What is the Google Maps API platform?
- How does the API key work?
- Who is the Google Map API key for exactly?
- Why is the Maps API important?
- What you can expect from the Google Map API key?
- Use cases and examples for a free Google Maps API key
- How to generate a Google Maps API key
- How do I find my Google Maps API key?
- What are the benefits of a Google Maps API?
- How does Google Maps API compare to competitors?
Google offers developers access to a plethora of Google Maps features for active development. Google Maps features 99% coverage of the entire world, including over 200 countries and territories. The information is accurate and is in real-time, with 25 million updates to the data every day.
With a developer account and a Google Maps API key, you can create customized experiences that make use of Street View photos, build routes, discover places, and more.
What is the Google Maps API platform?
How does the API key work?
The API is available for developers that have a free Google Maps API key. Usage of the API is not strictly free, but they do offer $200 of free monthly usage for most users. The pricing scales to fit your particular needs and you are only charged for your API usage. Some features are free for mobile but not for other platforms. There are also volume discounts available for high-use applications.
Once you have an account and a free Google Maps API key, you can start working with the API directly. The key is a unique identifier that authenticates requests for your application.
Who is the Google Map API key for exactly?
The Google Maps API platform is for developers that want to make use of Maps features in their applications. This includes ride-sharing businesses that provide on-demand rides, industrial businesses that want to track their vehicles and assets, service businesses to track the work of the techs, and more.
Why is the Maps API important?
Google has excellent data that drives all of the Maps features. For developers that want to access and utilize regional locational data, the API platform is the solution.
What you can expect from the Google Map API key?
Google provides excellent documentation for its APIs, including Guides, tutorials, sample projects, a Stack Overflow tag, issue tracker, and more.
For both Android and iOS, there is a Maps and Places SDK.
The following Web APIs are available:
- Maps Embed API
- Places Library
- Maps Static API
- Street View Static API
The following Web Service APIs are available:’
- Directions API
- Distance Matrix API
- Elevation API
- Geocoding API
- Geolocation API
- Places API
- Roads API
- Time Zone API
They also offer a cross-platform Maps URL solution for launching Google Maps and initiating actions like search or directions.
Use cases and examples for a free Google Maps API key
Maps customization: Google provides styling tools to allow developers to create custom maps of any location. Maps are updated in real-time across all platforms and allow developers to curate the places they want to show. That way, businesses can show places that their customers care about the most and hide less relevant places.
Gaming solutions: the API contains millions of 3D structures that can be utilized for games based on the API platform. Developers can make use of hundreds of millions of 3D buildings, roads, landmarks, and other structures to build their games. All of the objects are turned into game objects in Unity, which allows developers to completely customize any element.
On-demand rides & delivery tracking: the API is used to provide over 800 million routes every day and contains over 40 million miles of roads. Developers can create a seamless driver experience with in-app navigation and optimize pickups and drop-offs. The API can optimize routes and driver allocation for the best customer and driver experience.
How to generate a Google Maps API key
The first thing you’ll need to do is create a Google Cloud Platform account if you don’t have one already.
Here are the five simple steps to generate your Google Maps API key:
- Log in to the Google Cloud Platform Console
- Select an existing project or create a new one to add an API key to
- Navigate to the APIs & Services > Credentials page
- On the Credentials page, click Create credentials > API key and follow the prompts
- Click close and confirm your key has been created
How do I find my Google Maps API key?
If you’re wondering how do I find my Google Maps API key, follow these three simple steps to find out:
- Log in to the Google API Console
- Navigate to the APIs & Services > Credentials page
- Locate your Maps API key in the list of credentials
What are the benefits of a Google Maps API?
The Maps API allows developers to access 99% coverage of the entire world, including millions of structures, roads, and places. It provides accurate, real-time location information with over 25 million updates per day. Google has the infrastructure to scale to any need you may have, currently boasting over 1 billion monthly active users.
How does Google Maps API compare to competitors?
Google Maps API does have several competitors including Apple Maps, Bing Maps, Mapbox, and others.
Google Maps Features
Google is the largest API provider and one of the most widely used services, with over a billion monthly active users. Unlike others, it offers enterprise accounts and premium support services for industry-specific solutions. There is also community support and a large developer following. Some key advantages include Google’s interactive Street View and the fact that it supports multiple languages.
Apple Maps vs Google Maps
Apple Maps features MapKit to allow developers to integrate and get access to maps and location information. Apple provides some of the same services like Google, including custom maps as well as directions. Developers can use a mobile app SDK or MapKit JS to integrate Apple Maps into websites. It also features indoor mapping based on the Indoor Mapping Data Format (IMDF), a new data model developed by Apple. This feature is currently available in beta.
Bing Maps vs Google Maps
Bing maps offer many of the same services as Google has and offers various integration options. This solution is still evolving and the pricing model is flexible. The Bing solution allows integration with Azure for certain higher use accounts. For enterprises, it also offers integration with Account Directory. Offline street maps are only available for Windows 10 applications and it requires users to download them in advance. Compared to Google, the data is not as fast or as accurate, especially for mobile apps.
Mapbox vs Google Maps
Mapbox is a fast-growing service geared toward asset tracking and measuring distances. They offer several web and mobile sample apps to help developers get started. It is competitively priced when compared to Google but features less coverage. It’s built on OpenStreetMap which is an open-source project.
Google Maps API Platform is a best in class API provider, offering features that include custom maps, directions, and more. The available data is enormous, accurate, and fast. Getting a Google Maps API key is quick and easy. Google’s guides and tutorials make it a breeze to get started right away.