Google Maps JavaScript API v3 is a a service provided by Google for creating maps using Google Maps as the base for display on a website.

To use this service, you need to have a Google Account and obtain a Google API key. You should also have a good basic knowledge of HTML and JavaScript. Google Maps JavaScript API requires JavaScript for all of the elements shown on the map to be created and manipulated. 

This service is free for a limited number of 2500 map views per day, past this number you must sign up for the Google Maps API for Work.

What can you do with Google Maps API v3?

  • add a polyline to indicate a route
  • add a polygon to indicate a boundary
  • add shapes for focus areas
  • add symbols, map icons, etc
  • add overlays
  • import KML and GeoRSS files
  • change the default map type: ROADMAP, TERRAIN, etc.
  • allow users to get directions
  • retrieve elevations for specific points
  • enable street view

Google's Beginner's Guide can be found at: 
https://developers.google.com/maps/documentation/javascript/tutorial

The complete reference guide can be found at:
https://developers.google.com/maps/documentation/javascript/reference


Google Maps JavaScript API v3 vs Google My Maps

Google has a service called Google My Maps. It is a tool for easily creating custom maps to share and publish on line. Google My Maps allows you to upload KML files to display some custom features and overlays. You can add these maps to your own website with the embed code provided.

Google My Maps is good for simple maps that don't change frequently. It is for people that want to create maps using an understandable user interface rather than learn JavaScript. It is OK for sites that have fewer than 2500 page views per day. Google My Maps does not display certain elements of KML files. Google My Maps has limited customization of the allowed features.

Google Maps JavaScript API v3 allows you to build more complex map applications and visualizations. You need to be comfortable with writing and troubleshooting JavaScript. Google Maps API also works with KML files.

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