Posted:

We celebrated our last ‘Code the Road’ Europe stop in London where the team got an early start in our Code Lab building an Android app using the Google Maps APIs.
Ed Boiling, Maps API sales engineer, led the Code Lab workshop where developers created an Android application using the Google Maps Android API and connected it to a Google Cloud Platform datastore. The Code Lab covered concepts including using Android Studio, creating a Google Maps activity, drawing data on the map, capturing the user's location, and adding location based rules to control the application logic. It also introduced the developers to Google Cloud Platform via the Cloud Endpoints integration in Android studio, allowing them to easily add and deploy a Google App Engine based API and datastore for their application to use.
This was not before trying out a Code the Road favorite—Pegman Skydiving. Using a camera, Maps APIs, and your arms the program can detect how you might look skydiving over a specific locale.
In the afternoon Kerstin Pittl, a lead engineer for Maps APIs from OniGroup, discussed how companies can use the “blue dot” on Google Maps in their applications and how partners can help them integrate it into their map.
Pittl was followed by Dan Hubert, the founder of Appyparking. Appyparking helps drivers across the United Kingdom understand parking regulations and find open parking spaces. The app color codes parking spots to show drivers where there’s free parking, where restrictions apply and where special types of spaces – such as electric-car charging and motorbike spots – are located.

We’re already planning our next roadtrip. We hope to see you at one of our future Code the Road stops!

Posted by Michael St. Germain, Associate Product Marketing Manager, Google Maps APIs

Posted:

People around the world want to know how they can help the refugees and migrants caught up in the crisis in Europe, the Middle East and Northern Africa. As part of Code the Road Europe, we partnered with Ubilabs, a Google Maps for Work partner, to host a 24-hour hackathon dedicated to helping expand RefugeeMaps.eu, Ubilabs’ open sourced platform to help the refugees in Hamburg and throughout Europe.

RefugeeMaps.eu highlights local points of interest that are relevant to refugees new to a particular area, including libraries, recreational facilities and other important landmarks. The goal is to take local knowledge from volunteers and make it easy for someone new to the area to orient themselves and find resources that will help them settle in quickly.
IMG_3502.jpg

We kicked-off the hackathon with a presentation from Barbara Kopf, a refugee activist and the manager of the institution ‘Freizeithaus Kirchdorf’. She provided context for what refugees need and how they can help. Then, we had Thomas Steiner, an engineer in the Google Hamburg office, and Martin Kleppe from Ubilabs talk about the technical aspects around the platform. To support the effort, Ed Boiling, Google Maps APIs Sales Engineer, presented 10 Google Maps APIs in 10 minutes, then it was time to start start coding.
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Six groups of developers formed and spent the rest of the night designing, coding, and working together to find ways to improve RefugeeMaps.eu with, of course, lots of coffee and snacks.
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After 24 hours, we all came together to review the improvements which included:

  • Improvement to the front end design and UX optimization based on language preferences, making it easier for refugees to navigate the platform based on their preference for Arabic, English or German.
  • A function that makes it easier for refugees to print out select, zoomed-in areas of the map. Not all refugees have cell phones, especially women and children, so one group decided it was important to make sure it was easy for someone to print out maps to make it truly offline.
  • Addition of new places. Currently, only local volunteers with access to a master spreadsheet can add locations; however, one group added a function that makes it easier for anyone to add in a location through the interface of the map. This then updates the master spreadsheet.
  • A native offline Android app. Offline is important for the refugees that might not have data plans, so one group created a native Android app that could be used offline.
  • No server solution. To make it easier to run the platform, developers made a solution that did not require a server-side.
  • A performance boost. Developers added back-end changes to allow for caching of resources for offline use.

Here is the improvement we made to the front end design:
front_end_design_update.png

We were so impressed by all of the improvements that the developers made over the 24 hour period. While the hackathon is officially over, we also extend our invitation to collaborate on the project to external developers who could not attend the hackathon. You can find the code and all info on GitHub as well as a live demo instance of RefugeeMaps.eu online.

Posted by Hena Haines, Product Marketing Manager, Google Maps APIs

Posted:

After a great trip to Tel Aviv, we were excited to be in Germany with our Code the Road bus. Our first stop was in Berlin, and then we were on to Hamburg for our 24-hour Hackathon.

We hosted our first event in the Factory, Germany's largest startup campus. The Factory provides working spaces, communities and events for freelancers and startups to connect and empowers entrepreneurs and innovators in a beautiful space in Berlin.
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Before the event developers had a great time exploring the Code the Road bus and enjoying a coffee at our Location Cafe. They also had a chance to play multiple games including the Maps Skydiving game.
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Ed Boiling and Matt Toon kicked-off the event with a great Codelab focused on building an app that allows users to check into any mountain when going on a hike or visiting a new destination. Corien, a web developer and student, said, “It was great to learn more how to use Google Maps APIs on Android, a platform I don’t usually develop on as well as learn from the other developers at the event. It was great to see everyone working together and learning a thing or two about Google Maps APIs.”
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Then, we had Ed Parsons kick off our presentation by explaining how location technology is changing the way we interact with the world to create a more dynamic, emotive experience.

Next up, Oliver from Kia Motors spoke about how Kia is using Google Maps APIs in the Kia cee’d Surprise Drive digital marketing campaign. Martin Kleppe from Ubilabs followed up with the specific technical points on how this digital marketing campaign was developed with Distance Matrix API, Directions API and custom pins. He also gave our attendees some tips and tricks about how to get their maps looking snazzy with Image Tiles, clustering, Marker Images, Data Layer and more. He even share his presentation for our attendees to reference.
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Finally, our technical lead from Sydney, Enoch, presented on a range of topics from keys to quotas to JavaScripts tips and tricks.

Shenouda, a developer from Egypt told us, “The presentations gave a great overview of the functionality of the technology and how to use the APIs to the best of their abilities.” He plans to take what he learned on styling and overlaying data on a map as well as using the Elevation API to incorporate into applications to give users a really interactive and exciting user experience.

We had a great time in Berlin. Next we were on to Hamburg and London!

Posted by Tobias Espig, Head of Global Field Marketing, Google Maps APIs

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We had a fantastic start to our ‘Code the Road’ Europe tour at the Google Tel Aviv Campus. We were thrilled to have so many enthusiastic developers to help kick off our first event.

It was great to be in Tel Aviv to feel the excitement and energy of their thriving startup community and to see how these talented developers were using location and Google Maps APIs in their applications.

There we brought a Maps Dive gaming experience to the campus area as well as a full-size copy our Code the Road 1970s Volkswagen Tour bus. (The actual bus and the trailer were waiting for us in Berlin for our next stop on the 12th of November)
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For our first talk, Ed Parsons, Geospatial Technologist, Google Maps, gave a talk titled "Everything, everywhere: The evolving world of ambient location.” Next up was, Enoch Lau, Technical Lead, Javascript Maps API, who gave some tricks and tips to make Google Maps APIs run even smoother.
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We also welcomed Lidor Dvir, Head of Development from Gett who shared a talk titled "Using Google Maps API to build a multi-million user product". Lidor presented on how Gett uses multiple Google Maps APIs on multiple platforms to help both users and businesses get where they need to go and get the things they need. He described how the Google Maps Places API, Directions API and Roads APIs helps users easily find the places they need to go and the best way to get there. They also use heat maps, marker clustering, customize markers and animations to layer information on the map in beautiful visualizations.

We spent the afternoon with a packed house for Codelab were we built a ‘Munro bagging’ Android app on Google Maps and Google Cloud Platform. We had a great time working with the developers helping them with the app.
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Tel Aviv was just the start of our journey. The next stop was Berlin!

Posted by Tobias Espig, Head of Global Field Marketing, Google Maps APIs

Posted:


Today, we're announcing two new ways to help users enter places and addresses in your apps with less typing. Autocomplete functionality assists users by automatically completing the name and address of a place as they type. The autocomplete widget on iOS and Android makes it easier for you to add autocomplete functionality to your application with just a small amount of code. Also, we are adding autocomplete functionality to the place picker.

The new autocomplete widget UI comes in two different flavors: overlay and full screen.
Full screen autocomplete widget

Overlay autocomplete widget
On Android, you can add the autocomplete widget as a Fragment and add an event listener to retrieve the autocompleted place reference back in the application. Alternatively, you can invoke the autocomplete widget with an Intent.

Adding a Fragment In the XML layout file for your Activity:
<fragment
  android:id="@+id/place_autocomplete_fragment"
  android:layout_width="match_parent"
  android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:name="com.google.android.gms.location.places.ui.PlaceAutocompleteFragment"
  />

Adding an Event Listener in your Activity's onCreate() method:
// 
PlaceAutocompleteFragment fragment = (PlaceAutocompleteFragment)
    getFragmentManager().findFragmentById(R.id.place_autocomplete_fragment);

fragment.setOnPlaceSelectedListener(new PlaceSelectionListener() {
   @Override
   public void onPlaceSelected(Place place) { // Handle the selected Place
   }
   @Override
   public void onError(Status status) { // Handle the error
   }

Creating an intent to invoke the autocomplete widget:
try {
   Intent intent =
            new PlaceAutocomplete.IntentBuilder(PlaceAutocomplete.MODE_FULLSCREEN)
           .build(this);
   startActivityForResult(intent, PLACE_AUTOCOMPLETE_REQUEST_CODE);
} catch (GooglePlayServicesRepairableException e) {
   GooglePlayServicesUtil
           .getErrorDialog(e.getConnectionStatusCode(), getActivity(), 0);
} catch (GooglePlayServicesNotAvailableException e) {
   // Handle the exception
}

On iOS (Objective-C), you can implement autocomplete’s delegate to respond to a place selection:
@interface MyViewController () 
@end

@implementation ViewController
.
.
.
- (IBAction)onLaunchClicked:(id)sender {
  // Present the Autocomplete view controller when the button is pressed.
  GMSAutocompleteViewController *acController = [[GMSAutocompleteViewController alloc] init];
  acController.delegate = self;
  [self presentViewController:acController animated:YES completion:nil];
}

- (void)viewController:(GMSAutocompleteViewController *)viewController
    didAutocompleteWithPlace:(GMSPlace *)place {
  // The user has selected a place.
  [self dismissViewControllerAnimated:YES completion:nil];
}

- (void)viewController:(GMSAutocompleteViewController *)viewController
    didAutocompleteWithError:(NSError *)error {
  [self dismissViewControllerAnimated:YES completion:nil];
}

// User pressed cancel button.
- (void)wasCancelled:(GMSAutocompleteViewController *)viewController {
  [self dismissViewControllerAnimated:YES completion:nil];
}

@end

And in Swift:
import UIKit
import GoogleMaps

class MyViewController: UIViewController {
    
    @IBAction func onLaunchClicked(sender: AnyObject) {
        let acController = GMSAutocompleteViewController()
        acController.delegate = self
        self.presentViewController(acController, animated: true, completion: nil)
    }
}

extension MyViewController: GMSAutocompleteViewControllerDelegate {
    
    func viewController(viewController: GMSAutocompleteViewController!, didAutocompleteWithPlace place: GMSPlace!) {
        // The user has selected a place.
        self.dismissViewControllerAnimated(true, completion: nil)
    }
    
    func viewController(viewController: GMSAutocompleteViewController!, didAutocompleteWithError error: NSError!) {
        self.dismissViewControllerAnimated(true, completion: nil)
    }
    
    func wasCancelled(viewController: GMSAutocompleteViewController!) {
        self.dismissViewControllerAnimated(true, completion: nil)
    }
}

We have also added the autocomplete functionality to the place picker—a UI widget that helps users communicate their current location, such as a place, address or location on a map. This makes it even easier to pick a specific place by starting to type its name or address. If your app already uses the place picker it will automatically gain the autocomplete feature with no action required on your part.
To get started, check out the documentation and code samples. You can always send us any questions via Stack Overflow or the Google Maps API issue tracker if you have ideas for improvement.


Posted:
Google My Business is helping businesses around the world connect with their customers when they search for them on Google. Today we’re introducing the Google My Business API to make it easier for large businesses and third parties to integrate with the Google My Business platform and publish updates to customers on Google Search & Maps. For example, you can now set your special hours for the holiday season and update them across all of your locations using the Google My Business API.

Through the new Google My Business API, developers can:

  • Create business locations with information such as name, address, phone number, category, business hours, and more
  • Manage special hours
  • Mark a business location as permanently closed
  • Manage business photos
  • List, invite and remove managers on locations and business accounts
  • Read listing state to identify Google updated, duplicate and suspended locations
  • Search/Filter locations by name, category and label
  • Set the service area for a business either by specifying a point and radius or Place IDs

Here's a sample java function that creates a new location and sets special holiday hours:
public static Location createLocation(String accountName) throws Exception {
  Location location = new Location();

  // Street address
  Address address = new Address();
  List addressLines = Arrays.asList("740 Valencia Street");
  address.setAddressLines(addressLines);
  address.setLocality("San Francisco");
  address.setAdministrativeArea("CA");
  address.setCountry("US");
  address.setPostalCode("94110");
  location.setAddress(address);

  // Business hours
  BusinessHours businessHours = new BusinessHours();
  List periods = new ArrayList<>();
  List days = Arrays.asList("Monday", "Tuesday", "Wednesday", "Thursday", "Friday");
  for (String day : days) {
    TimePeriod period = new TimePeriod();
    period.setOpenDay(day);
    period.setOpenTime("11:00");
    period.setCloseTime("20:00");
    period.setCloseDay(day);
    periods.add(period);
  }
  businessHours.setPeriods(periods);
  location.setBusinessHours(businessHours);

  // Special hours
    Date christmasEve = new Date().setYear(2015).setMonth(12).setDay(24);
    Date christmasDay = new Date().setYear(2015).setMonth(12).setDay(25);
    List periods = new ArrayList<>();
    periods.add(new SpecialHourPeriod()
        .setStartDate(christmasEve)
        .setOpenTime("11:00")
        .setCloseTime("20:00")
        .setEndDate(christmasEve));
    periods.add(new SpecialHourPeriod()
        .setStartDate(christmasDay)
        .setIsClosed(true));
   SpecialHours specialHours = new SpecialHours()
        .setSpecialHourPeriods(periods);

  location.setSpecialHours(specialHours);

  location.setLocationName("Dandelion Chocolate");
  location.setStoreCode("DC1");
  location.setPrimaryPhone("415 349-0942");
  location.setPrimaryCategory(new Category().setCategoryId("gcid:chocolate_shop"));
  location.setWebsiteUrl("https://www.dandelionchocolate.com/");

  // Create Location
  CreateLocationRequest createLocationRequest = new CreateLocationRequest();
  // RequestId is a unique id for each location created
  createLocationRequest.setRequestId(“1a84939c-ab7d-4581-8930-ee35af6fefac”);
  createLocationRequest.setLocation(location);
  createLocationRequest.setLanguageCode("en-US");
  Mybusiness.Accounts.Locations.Create createLocation =
      mybusiness.accounts().locations().create(accountName, createLocationRequest);

  Location createdLocation = createLocation.execute();

  System.out.printf("Created Location:\n%s", createdLocation.toPrettyString());
 
  return createdLocation;
}
When special hours are set in Google My Business, we will tell customers that they’re seeing holiday-specific opening hours on Google:

To learn more about the Google My Business API and to apply for access, visit our developer page.

Questions or feedback? Contact the API team on the Google My Business API Forum.

Posted by Aditya Tendulkar, Product Manager, Google My Business

Posted:
Today we are launching the Google Maps SDK for iOS 1.11, which includes bitcode support, new events and some features previously available only in the Android SDK.

Bitcode is an intermediate representation of your app that is uploaded to the Apple Store. With this abstraction, Apple can optimize for specific target devices at provisioning time.

The Google Maps SDK for iOS 1.11 also introduces two new events: didLongPressInfoWindowOfMarker and didCloseInfoWindowOfMarker. The long press event takes advantage of iOS long-touch as another way for users to interact with Maps SDK for iOS enabled apps. The close event is particularly useful if you wish to programmatically zoom back out on the map after the user has looked at the detail associated with a particular marker.

We have also added start and finish rendering events to the GMSMapViewDelegate and GMSPanoramaViewDelegate protocols. The start rendering events are triggered when tiles have just been requested or labels have just started rendering. The finish events are triggered on rendering completion for tiles and StreetView panoramas, respectively.

Finish events can be used in conjunction with an activity indicator to accurately represent when a map has finished rendering. The sample code below shows how to include this functionality. (We’ve also included SVProgressHUD in the sample below to improve the user experience, but it is not required)

import UIKit
import GoogleMaps

class MapRenderingViewController: UIViewController {
  @IBOutlet var mapView: GMSMapView!

  override func viewDidLoad() {
    super.viewDidLoad()
    mapView.delegate = self
  }

  // MARK: - GMSMapViewDelegate

  func mapViewDidStartTileRendering(mapView: GMSMapView!) {
    SVProgressHUD.showWithStatus("Loading tiles")
  }

  func mapViewDidFinishTileRendering(mapView: GMSMapView!) {
    SVProgressHUD.dismiss()
  }
}
Lastly, the Google Maps SDK for iOS 1.11 offers new features & bugfixes we think you'll find useful, including:

  • Setting ground overlay opacity with an alpha value
  • Polygon hole support
  • Increased camera tilt range at high zoom
  • Additional Places autocomplete functionality

Take a look at our release notes and update to Google Maps SDK for iOS 1.11 today.

Posted by Megan Boundey, Product Manager, Google Maps Mobile APIs