Google keeps working to improve the functionality of Google Maps. The latest ugrades are for the Google Maps API for those that plant to include maps on their own websites. It’s now possible to use the API to pull in KML and KMZ files that have been posted online.
This may not seem like such a big deal, but it’s a HUGE timesaver. It’s much easier to create complex polygons in Google Earth than it is through the Google Maps API. With the API, you would have to type every lat/lon coordinate for every corner on the polygon. Let’s say your trying to use something twisty like a river for a polygon border. That could be a tremendous number of coordinates. It would be much faster to sketch them with a mouse in Google Earth, then just point to them through the API.
Here’s a practical application…
I created the map of the attendance areas for our schools in ArcGIS, then exported them to KML format. I put the file online at http://teachers.spart5.k12.sc.us/taylorte/elementary.kmz. I then created a website which pulls this information in via the API to display on my page as overlays. The final step was to create an input box where a user could type an address. The API geocodes the address, then puts a marker on the map. The user can then see which attendance zone their child would fall into. It’s not quite ready for prime time, but my demo page can be viewed here. These attendance zones don’t go into effect until 2008-09, so we haven’t publicized them yet, apart from just making the maps available.
So there are now multiple ways to display simple Google Earth data. First, through the program itself, secondly, through the Google Maps page on Google itself, and finally, on your own website through the Google Maps API.
[tags]Google Earth, Google Maps, Google Maps API[/tags]