GEOG 863
GIS Mashups for Geospatial Professionals

Orientation to the Google Maps API Reference


Google provides web developers with a number of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) for building geospatial applications. The most commonly used API (the JavaScript-based Maps API) is the one that we'll be learning about during this course. However, you should make a mental note of the other APIs that are available: two for developing native apps on mobile devices (one for Android phones and the other for iOS), and a set of location-based web services (e.g., the Elevation and Time Zone APIs).

The Google Maps JavaScript API home page [] is composed of 5 tabs:

  • Overview: shows demos of the API's capabilities
  • Guides: provides a high-level overview of various API concepts.  This course will cover a lot of these same concepts, though you may find it worthwhile to use Google's Guide pages as a supplement to what you read here or to explore topics we don't cover. 
  • Reference: the place to go to obtain detailed information on the usage of the object classes built into the API. 
  • Samples: go here to find code examples in categories such as Basics, Controls, Drawing on the Map, etc.
  • Support: provides a link to Stack Overflow's questions related to the Google Maps API and to a list of known API bugs
  • Tutorials: self-explanatory

Now that we've seen where Google Maps developers go for information about the API, let's begin developing our own maps.