Sunday, February 13, 2011

Google Maps JavaScript API: A Year in Retrospect

At Google I/O last May we graduated Maps JavaScript API V3. Since then, we have been working hard to deliver regular new features and bug fixes. This post is just a quick recap of what happened in 2010.

We publish a comprehensive changelog of all updates made to the API. If you’d like to be notified when a new version is released and changelog updated, sign up to the V3 notify mailing list.

Here are some highlights of the Maps API for 2010:

  • FusionTablesLayer: display and query geodata stored in Fusion Tables. Many thousands of markers can be rendered this way.
  • Styled Maps: customize the visual display of your map, including changing the color scheme, and controlling the visibility of features and labels.
  • Elevation: access elevation data, including depths of the ocean floor.
  • Draggable Directions: users can now personalize routes provided by the Directions API.
  • Marker Animations: markers can be dropped onto the map and bounced on demand as well as the old favorites like raise when dragged, and bounce when dropped. These animations can be controlled via the Animation class.
  • StreetView and Custom StreetView: display panoramic 360° views from many roads around the world. Custom StreetView can be linked to Google-provided StreetView panoramas (e.g. to show interiors of buildings).
  • Custom Map Types: display your own map imagery or not.
  • Rectangles and Circles: decorate regions on the map.
  • Traffic and Bicycling Layers: display real-time traffic information and bicycle routes (where supported).
  • KML and GeoRSS Layers: render on-demand layers, providing scalable rendering of KML and GeoRSS.
  • Route Optimization: find the best route to cover a given set of stops, for example when planning a delivery.
  • Bada and BlackBerry 6 support: mobile device support now encompasses Bada and Blackberry 6 devices such as the Samsung Wave and Blackberry Torch.
  • StreetViewService: programmatically determine the availability of Street View data.
  • MaxZoomService: find the highest zoom level for satellite imagery at a particular location.

There are also a few new utility libraries for the V3 API:

  • MarkerClusterer V3 allows visual clustering of many markers. The latest version has improved performance and clustering accuracy.
  • InfoBubble provides a customizable CSS3 tabbed info window.
  • RichMarker allows you to put arbitrary HTML on a map and interact with it as if it were a marker.
  • RouteBoxer generates a set of LatLngBounds that are guaranteed to cover every point within a specified distance of a path.

Also check out our Maps API articles, which cover topics that suit the accomplished Maps JavaScript API developer. We’ve added a few articles recently:

Finally, we’d like to thank all the developers who use our API, post on the forums and file bug reports and feature requests. We’re excited for what lies ahead in 2011 and as always we are enthusiastic about enabling developers to deliver great mapping solutions.