Google Dives Deeper On Vector-Based Maps API For Android

December 5, 2012 0

Mountain View, California – As the Maps apps war between Google, Apple and Nokia escalates, the search giant is diving deeper into the world of vector-based maps through an update, it has recently launched v2 of its Google Maps API, bringing along better support for maps on tablets, integration with Google Play services, new information layers and more.

Ultimately, Google has updated its Google Maps Android API to promote more features to maps on Android devices, including improved designs for larger displays and additional layers to show terrain, traffic and more. The new API is available now for developers to start fiddling and using maps that are more on par with Google Maps for Android’s capabilities.

In addition, there are “more dynamic and flexible” user interface designs for large Android devices, using Android Fragments, and infusing more Google Maps layers. Moreover, developers can add more layers in their apps, including satellite, hybrid, terrain, traffic and indoor maps. The update also gives developers the ability to create markers and info windows with less code.

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{japopup type=”image” content=”/images/stories/demo/2012/dec/trulia screenshot-big.png” width=”700″ height=”380″ title=”image” }Image Credit: (Google Lat Long blog) Click to enlarge…{/japopup}

Essentially, the new API is available for any devices from Android Froyo and up. Google points to three major new features in the new API:


  • More dynamic and flexible UI designs for large screen Android devices, such as tablets.
  • Adding more Google Maps layers in their apps including satellite, hybrid, terrain, traffic and now indoor maps for many major airports and shopping centers.
  • The ability to create markers and info windows with less code.


Andrew Foster, senior product manager of the Google Maps team, cited in a blog post on Monday that more than 800,000 sites around the globe are already using Google’s mapping APIs.

As a matter of fact, the company said, “The new API uses vector-based maps that support 2D and 3D views. Also, the new API has been integrated with Google Play services 2.0, and allow users to tilt and rotate the map with simple gestures,” Google explains on the Android Developers Blog.

In addition, the platform that Google unleashed would help developers roll out updates to Google products more quickly. This would also enables traits like the display of Photo Spheres and new data layers to be integrated more quickly.

The web post further defined the features as, “The new API is simpler to use, so that creating markers and info windows is easy,” Google says. “Polylines, Polygons, Ground Overlays and Tile Overlays can all now be added to the map with just a few lines of code.”

However, the update is being introduced as part of the Google Play services launch. But it also coincides with some more competition surrounding 3D mapping technologies being produced by some of Google’s mobile competitors, such as Apple and, more recently, Nokia’s Here platform.

The Internet giant is touting that its new API gives developers the ability to use Google’s mapping platform to build better Android apps with vector-based maps that load quickly but also support navigation in 2D and 3D viewing.

Documentation for the Google Maps Android API v2 can be found here. For a closer look at the updated Google Maps Android API, check out the promo video below:

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