Thursday, August 27, 2009

Google Map Static goes V2

Google has just announced the release of new, upgraded version of static map. Functionality has been extended to allow encoding of polylines, drawing filled polygons, specifying marker locations as address as well as latitude and longitude coordinates, and referencing colours in 24-bit as well as 32-bit formats. V1 has been deprecated so, any applications using the original version will need to be upgraded to the latest version. Full documentation is availabe from Google site.

Static option of Google Map is very handy for those situations where bandwidth is an issue (eg. for users out in the bush on dial-up Internet connection or for mobile phone applications) or where there is no need for interactivity with the map. Although static map is originally intended as just an image service, some interactivity can be scripted to mimic basic functionality of Google Map proper.

For example, I have created a dial-up version of home page for users who find initial download of Javascript files and frequent refresh of multiple map tiles of Google Map proper too much to handle on their browsers. I didn’t have a chance yet to convert this application for use on mobile handsets but it will happen in the future. The new functionality options in version 2 extend the range of applications that could be developed on this platform. It definitely warrants a closer look as current Static Google Map is the closest thing to a “dynamic map server” (ie. a web service that would convert user data into an image representation and deliver it back as map tiles) – capability still missing in Google Map stable.

Via: Google Geo Developers Blog: Static Maps API v2: Encoded Paths, Polygons & Geocoding

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