Google maps API explanation
May 25, 2012 12:48 PM   Subscribe

Can someone explain google maps API to me?

I know very little about coding and web development. Basically, I want to map certain places of interest in cities across north America. I'm interested in using API because I will be using a very large number of map markers and can't manage them very well with the standard google maps. There might be other cool things I'd like to do too but I just am completely confused by how to start with google maps API.

Can someone explain to me how to even start to wrap my mind around google maps API? I tried looking up tutorials but couldn't get a good beginners overview of what this can do or how to set it up-- the tutorials just go directly into the text editing box. Eventually I want to embed the map into a website.

For instance, if I were a world traveler and wanted visitors to track my route, id also want them to be able to zoom into a certain area that I've gone to and see a bunch of map markers that represent places I've gone to that also link to pictures and blog posts.

posted by pulled_levers to Technology (6 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
You might be interested in Fusion Tables, which will let you upload your data points in a .csv file or something and visualise them easily, without having to worry about javascript.
posted by emilyw at 12:55 PM on May 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

Seconding Fusion Tables- they are really powerful and cool.

Later, if you want to learn about coding, you can use the fusion tables with the google maps API.
posted by rockindata at 1:12 PM on May 25, 2012

This site helped me immensely when I first started using the Maps API embedding maps with multiple locations into Web pages.

I was able to pick up one of his examples, setup my XML file and have a completely functional map in just a little while.

You probably know this, but you'll need to be able to generate Lat/Longs for each marker on the map. This site works great for that.
posted by bricksNmortar at 1:30 PM on May 25, 2012

fusion tables takes care of the lat-long for you.
posted by rockindata at 1:52 PM on May 25, 2012

Using the Google Maps API directly will require coding. It's not really hard, but if you're not already comfortable with Javascript it's pretty hard. Fusion Tables is the tool for you from Google.

But there's lots of great map options other than Google; doubly so now that Google has started charging for Maps usage. One particularly promising company is CartoDB, here's their comparison of CartoDB and Fusion Tables. Another option that might fit your needs is CloudMade.
posted by Nelson at 2:06 PM on May 25, 2012

If you have a Google account you can go to the application, select 'My maps', then 'Create map', then make that map public. Then you can add markers and polygons to your hearts content and send the link to whomever you like. No need to use the API.

You might also like to look at Mapbox which has a free download of their software Tilemill that you can use to create your own map layers for use over openstreetmaps. A free account allows you 3000 map views per month and 50MB of uploaded map storage.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 12:33 PM on May 27, 2012

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