Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Google Maps API

The Good and Great folks over at Google Map and Yahoo Map released their Map API's that allows you to roll your own "interactive, draggable, zoomable, maps (with satellite immagery)."

Yesterday, Google released an API for Google Maps and today Yahoo has released an API for Yahoo Maps. (That’s the spirit :-) )

The Google Maps API is based on JavaScript, which makes life pretty easy, since you don't need to worry about installing software. You can directly run JavaScript in just about any web browser. Knowledge of XML and XSL helps to build a rich user interface, but it's not required. Google Maps currently supports Firefox 0.8+, Mozilla 1.4+, IE 5.5+, Safari 1.2+, Netscape 7.1+, Opera 7+, but E 5.0 is not supported.

There are several limitations to the Maps API:
1- It doesn't provide a geocoding service; that is, you have to provide it with longitude and latitude. This means you need to rely on third-party geocoding tools to get longitude and latitude for an address.
2- It doesn't include a routing or driving directions service.
3- The Google Maps API key is restricted to generate maps only for URLs (website or a local host). You need to have a web server even for development.
4- The key you receive is only valid for a single directory on your web site.
5- It can be used for commercial purposes, but it should be available to end users for free.
6- It can be used on a site that is password protected, but consumers should be able to sign up for a password without charge.

At the same time Yahoo Maps API offers free access to Yahoo's SmartView Technology that will allow developers to create customized maps by overlaying content onto an existing Yahoo map,including weather reports, vacation photos,news,etc etc

*** I think we should expect a IDE /Web User Interface from Google from where we can easily drag and zoom maps onto our applications….....