Google Maps APIs are prepackaged pieces of code that let you quickly and easily include maps on your websites or in your mobile apps – and then add extra functions to your applications. They're available for Android, iOS and web browsers, and as HTTP web services that let you pass information between systems.
Along with core APIs for showing static or interactive Google Maps to users, here are 5 APIs (or features within the core APIs) that can transform how your business operates and how you serve customers:
- Directions helps people get to where they want to go. They can plan routes, whether they're driving, walking, cycling or using public transport. They can get an estimate of how long it's likely to take. By including Waypoints – additional locations the user wants to travel through – you can provide optimised routes for users, such as delivery drivers, who need to visit many places during the course of the day.
- Places helps users find points of interest, whether that's a landmark or tourist attraction, a public building such as a school or hospital, or a restaurant or shop. You can show them everything in an area or let them search for particular kinds of places. A housing association, for example, could use Places to make sure they're only offering properties near to facilities tenants needs, whether that's a school, GP surgery or park.
- Geocoding makes it easy for you to accurately mark locations on maps, by converting between street addresses latitude and longitude coordinates. That lets you pinpoint a building exactly, rather than four houses away.
- Roads and Geolocation let you more accurately plot where users are or where they've been. The Roads API will snap from tracked GPS coordinates to the nearest road – so you don't tell users they're standing in the middle of a nearby river – while Geolocation uses WiFi, celltower and beacon signals to get a fix on the user's position if they're in a "GPS blackspot", such as the centre of a city with many skyscrapers.
- Data layers, incorporated into the core APIs, let you overlay your own data on the map. You can track staff, vehicles or parcels while they're on the move, get heatmaps of everything from insurance claims to property sales, or allow your customers to compare their utility costs to their neighbours'.
If you've already got ideas for how to use Google Maps to transform your business, you can use the Google Maps API picker to help you understand which APIs will help. If you're not sure how Google maps can help but want to find out more click here.