January 1, 2020

Google Maps Platform - Overview


It is so much fun to see maps in digital form today and to make it even more interesting, they are interactive now. Google Maps Platform is one of the leading Geographic Information System (GIS) which lets you visualize, question, analyze, and interpret geographical data to understand relationships, patterns, and trends. To understand how Google Maps Platform can boost your business let's first understand what GIS is?

Geographic Information System (GIS)

Companies use GIS to manage geographical data in order to improve operations in many geoscience industries as well as land-centric enterprises (e.g. sales territory a.k.a trade-area management, field service dispatching a.k.a delivery businesses, asset maintenance, transportation, construction etc.). GIS collects, incorporates and manipulates attribute data from maps to a business reporting systems to analyze and assess real-world problems.

How does Google Maps Platform works?

APIs provided by Google Maps Platform are on cloud and saves you from all the infrastructure and operational expenses to collect and maintain the GIS data. These APIs can be easily integrated into your application and can help you gain insights for your business. It also helps in making your applications highly engaging for end-customer.

Here is a hierarchical diagram to understand the APIs offered by Google:

Google Maps Platform - Hierarchy


Google Maps platform is categorized in 3 categories:


Maps

APIs provided under Maps category helps you customize the map styles with custom markers, lines, colors, polygons, and images. It allows features like zoom, pinch, rotate, and tilt to explore maps in more detail. If your business deals with stores/distribution centers, you can highlight the locations with custom colors and elements or if you are in a business where tracking the path is critical then you can customize path by using Street View APIs with unique markers, overlays, and photos.


Routes

Routes APIs are very helpful when you want to reach from point A to point B with or without stops in between. The points in between start and final destinations are called waypoints. Routes APIs support upto 25 waypoints. It provides transit, biking, driving, and walking directions. It is very helpful in delivery businesses to find out not just the shortest path but also the path which make sense for your business which may include multiple stops.


Places

Most business in today's time run on location services. Places APIs provides data on location names, addresses, ratings, reviews, contact information, and atmosphere. This information is submitted by Local guides and users every day. Using Geolocation and Geocoding features in combination with up-to-date Places data, you can provide the useful information right at the user location and the moment when they need it.