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The Google Maps Experience

It’s time for your site to let users see where things are located.

If your online presence needs to invoke geographical locations as part of the consumable information, like business location, serviceable area, branch locations, or even current location ( for moveable objects), you don’t only have to show data about these locations. In many cases an address would satisfy a user’s need just fine, but in other cases, the user would probably want to invoke a map application to get a visual idea of where things are located.

Invoking a map application actually means “to navigate away from your site”, causing the user to lose focus of the things that matter (your site), and probably drift away and get lost in the infinite vastness of the internet. You don’t want that! To prevent Map-drift-awayness and to keep your users attention on the beautiful things that your business has to offer, you can provide a “Map View”.

A Map View is a graphical representation of a geographical location, and only needs a little markup and some JavaScript to get running on your site. If your site has only one piece of information that could use a Map View, no problem! A few lines of markup can render a static map on your page with street information and neighboring landmarks. How about many locations? For a few locations, it’s possible to render many different maps. Feeling fancy? Your site can include a single Map View with many locations marked with pretty icons, and then these icons can also bind to methods that would allow you to modify information on the page. For example: hours of operation, services provided, prices, staff information, or just nice pictures of the place. These are basic ideas that are not hard to implement, but represent a drastic improvement from an unordered list of addresses and hours of operation information. Now, how do we get this working? Enter the Google Maps API.

The Google Maps API, provided by the nice people of Google, is an interface that allows developers access to map methods, map objects, and map-related components. These accessors are the only tools needed to provide a fantastic Map View on your site. If your site only needs a static view of your business location, go to this site to see how easy can it be. Moreover, if your business site is in need of something slightly sophisticated, like multiple marker rendering with event driven behavior, the documentation in this other site would be very helpful. For web applications and sites that depend on only Map Views, the best approach would be to seek a professional service, like S&A Technologies.

The picture here is a snapshot of an application that we have developed at S&A Technologies, and it’s called “Currant_Platform_PowerUser_Screen2CurrantGRID”. This geolocation-based emergency management system takes full advantage of the Google Maps API libraries, and its web and mobile application uses the API’s main components to render a full-view map that can be manipulated by authorized users. The application captures the user’s current location with the help of the Geolocation Maps API, renders a number of markers representing emergency situations in the user’s vicinity, and allows users to report incidents by clicking on a map’s locations. CurrantGRID serves as testimony of the advantages that can be obtained from using the Google Maps API. If your application or site needs some map pimping, give us a call. We will be happy to help you!

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