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February 21, 2008

API for Static Maps

For those who don't need all the complexity of Google Maps API or can't use JavaScript in a specific context (for example, in a mobile website), there's a new Static Maps API. Similar to the recently-launched API for charts, this API lets you generate maps by simply loading images with a list of special parameters.

The URL below lets you load a map centered on Munich by providing the latitude and longitude of the location:

http://maps.google.com/staticmap?center=48.23930899024907,11.162109375&
markers=48.139127,11.580213,red&zoom=7&size=500x300&key=KEY_VALUE



To use the API, you still need a domain-specific key generated from Google's site and the usage limit is 1000 unique image requests per user per day. If you don't want to read the documentation, there's a wizard that generates the URL for you, but it only adds a single marker to your map.

The new API is a good solution if you want to automatically create static maps from a list of locations, but it's limited to web pages, so you can't use it in a software. You should also know that the images can only be displayed on a page from the web site used to generate the API key. Google uses a similar API to generate static maps when you search for locations or local businesses.

This blog is not affiliated with Google.