Author Archives: Maps Devel

How WhyHunger uses Google Maps to connect people to grassroots community food sources




When people are hungry, they may not know where to turn for food – and they may be hesitant to ask for help. At WhyHunger, we want to remove the barriers that keep people from getting the help they need to stay healthy and thrive. We support grassroots groups that are tackling hunger in their communities, such as food banks and meal programs. Google Maps brings our database of 23,000 emergency food providers to our website, so no one has to go hungry.
Photo by Diane Bondareff for WhyHunger
Many resources for food justice operate at the local level. We work to knit together organizations around the country that have the common goal of alleviating hunger and poverty – for example, sharing ideas for successful programs, and advocating for food as a basic human right. Our database is one way for us to look at food programs at a national level, and break down information so people can discover what’s available in the areas where they live. The WhyHunger Find Food tool uses Google Maps Platform to display food resources based on a zip code. The search results include phone numbers, addresses, and the type of programs available.
We applied to Google for Nonprofits to get access to the Google Maps Platform products that help us create and expand the Find Food map. We used the APIs to integrate data sources with the map, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s summer meals database. The Geocoding API converts addresses for food sources into points on the Find Food map. Because the addresses for the U.S.D.A. meals programs change frequently, the API does the heavy lifting when it comes to converting address data. Then, we use the Maps JavaScript API to display the maps once people enter their zip codes.

Accessing Google Maps through Google for Nonprofits also helps us cover the costs, as more people use the maps to search for food. If we didn’t have access to these programs, it would have taken us much longer to create the map, and we would not be able to quickly connect users to essential resources.
We started using Google Maps because the maps are easy to both build and use. People seeking food sources don’t need to wrestle with complicated maps. We briefly considered open-source map APIs, but they did not compare to Google Maps, which are the most accurate and comprehensive ones we’ve used. Accuracy is important for maps that show as many locations as ours do. We want people using our maps to see exact locations for food sources so they get what they need as quickly as possible.

We also rely on the maps ourselves: When people call our Hunger Hotline at 1-800-5HUNGRY, staff can quickly look at the Find Food map and tell callers what’s available locally and how to get there. People are now increasingly going directly to the maps instead of calling us first. Since the updated Find Food Map launched in 2015 an average of 9,000 people search the map per month, compared with 1,000 callers.

The time we save on coding maps and managing data is now spent on coming up with new ways to help hungry people get healthy food and address the root causes of hunger. When our Hunger Hotline service isn’t available, people can text a zip code to the hotline, and receive a text message with names and addresses of the 10 closest food sites. In the future, we hope to develop more ways to use Google Maps and our food program data to tackle hunger, community by community.

Expanded support for Google public programs



Google is committed to supporting organizations with public programs that provide access to our products, people and resources. We're proud to support organizations like Code.org, Charity:water, Hostelling International and more to connect people to resources and help visualize the impact their organizations are making in the communities where they serve.
Charity:water created a new way for donors to view exactly where their dollars go
With our recent launch of Google Maps Platform, in addition to nonprofits, we’re now able to offer startups, crisis responders and news organizations Google Maps Platform at a reduced rate, or at no cost to their organizations. We’re also increasing our availability from seven to 50 countries so we can support even more global communities and programs.
Falling Fruit helps urban foragers find available seasonal produce in their neighborhoods
Eligible organizations may apply for Google Maps Platform credits to support their organizations' efforts. You can learn more about eligibility and how to apply in our Understanding Public Programs page. If you are a nonprofit, startup, crisis response, or news media organization, we hope that you take advantage of these programs and apply for Google Maps Platform credits today.

Reminder—set-up a Google Cloud Platform Console account



On May 2, we announced changes including our new simplified Maps, Routes, and Places products as well as a new pricing plan to make our products easier to use and more scalable as you grow. Here’s a quick reminder of the three steps you need to take prior to June 11:

  1. Set up a Google Cloud Platform Console account with your billing information.
  2. Ensure that you are using a valid API key to access our core products.
  3. Try the new features and learn more about how to optimize your API usage in our Optimization Guide.

To provide you with an additional month of lead time, our new terms and pricing won’t go into effect until July 16. If you have questions about the changes and the new pricing plan, please review the Important Updates page in our documentation. It will help you familiarize yourself with the changes and includes a new pricing calculator to help you understand your usage.

The real world as your playground: Build real-world games with Google Maps APIs


The mobile gaming landscape is changing as more and more studios develop augmented reality games. In order to mix realities, developers first need to understand the real world — the physical environment around their players. That’s why we’re excited to announce a new offering for building real-world games using Google Maps’ tried-and-tested model of the world.

Game studios can easily reimagine our world as a medieval fantasy, a bubble gum candy land, or a zombie-infested post-apocalyptic city. With Google Maps’ real-time updates and rich location data, developers can find the best places for playing games, no matter where their players are.


Completely customize your games

To make it easy to get started, we’ve brought the richness of Google Maps to the Unity game engine. We turn buildings, roads, and parks into GameObjects in Unity, where developers can then add texture, style, and customization to match the look and feel of your game. This means that they can focus on building rich, immersive gameplay without the overhead of scaffolding a global-scale game world.

“With Google Maps data integrated into Unity, we were able to focus our time and energy on building detailed virtual experiences for our users to find virtual dinosaurs in the real world.” - Alexandre Thabet, CEO, Ludia


Create immersive experiences all over the globe

Game developers will now have access to a rich, accurate, and living model of the world to form the foundation of their game worlds. With access to over 100 million 3D buildings, roads, landmarks, and parks from over 200 countries, they can deliver rich engaging game play across the globe.

"We are excited to partner with Google to provide the most up-to-date and rich location data to enable us to create an immersive experience tied to your location. When new buildings or roads are built, we’ll have access to them in our game. Google Maps’ unrivalled location data, covering world-famous landmarks, businesses and buildings, like the Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, London Eye, Burj Khalifa, and India Gate, makes exploring your surroundings a breathtaking experience,” said Teemu Huuhtanen, CEO, Next Games


Design rich and engaging games in the real world

Designing interactions around real-world places at global scale is a huge challenge and requires knowing a lot about a player’s environment. We make it easy to find places that are appropriate, pleasant, and fun to play — no matter where your players are.

"Building game interactions around real-world places at global scale and finding places that are relevant to users and fun to play is challenging. Google Maps APIs helped us incorporate the real-world, user relevant locations into our game. Users from all over the world can experience the Ghostbusters virtual world through our game, leveraging Google's location data.​" - HAN Sung Gin, CEO, FourThirtyThree Inc.(4:33)


Deliver game experiences at Google-scale

Building on top of Google Maps’ global infrastructure means faster response times, the ability to scale on demand, and peace of mind knowing that your game will just work.

We're excited to be bringing the best of Google to mobile gaming. All our early access partners leveraged ARCore to better understand the user's environment and reach over 100M devices across the ecosystem. At Google we have even more products to help developers – from Google Cloud for your game server needs to YouTube and Google Play for promotional help, and more.

We’ll be featuring a live demo at the Game Developer Conference in booth 823 next week in San Francisco. If you’re interested in building real-world gaming experiences, visit our web page or contact sales.

The real world as your playground: Build real-world games with Google Maps APIs


The mobile gaming landscape is changing as more and more studios develop augmented reality games. In order to mix realities, developers first need to understand the real world — the physical environment around their players. That’s why we’re excited to announce a new offering for building real-world games using Google Maps’ tried-and-tested model of the world.

Game studios can easily reimagine our world as a medieval fantasy, a bubble gum candy land, or a zombie-infested post-apocalyptic city. With Google Maps’ real-time updates and rich location data, developers can find the best places for playing games, no matter where their players are.


Completely customize your games

To make it easy to get started, we’ve brought the richness of Google Maps to the Unity game engine. We turn buildings, roads, and parks into GameObjects in Unity, where developers can then add texture, style, and customization to match the look and feel of your game. This means that they can focus on building rich, immersive gameplay without the overhead of scaffolding a global-scale game world.

“With Google Maps data integrated into Unity, we were able to focus our time and energy on building detailed virtual experiences for our users to find virtual dinosaurs in the real world.” - Alexandre Thabet, CEO, Ludia


Create immersive experiences all over the globe

Game developers will now have access to a rich, accurate, and living model of the world to form the foundation of their game worlds. With access to over 100 million 3D buildings, roads, landmarks, and parks from over 200 countries, they can deliver rich engaging game play across the globe.

"We are excited to partner with Google to provide the most up-to-date and rich location data to enable us to create an immersive experience tied to your location. When new buildings or roads are built, we’ll have access to them in our game. Google Maps’ unrivalled location data, covering world-famous landmarks, businesses and buildings, like the Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, London Eye, Burj Khalifa, and India Gate, makes exploring your surroundings a breathtaking experience,” said Teemu Huuhtanen, CEO, Next Games


Design rich and engaging games in the real world

Designing interactions around real-world places at global scale is a huge challenge and requires knowing a lot about a player’s environment. We make it easy to find places that are appropriate, pleasant, and fun to play — no matter where your players are.

"Building game interactions around real-world places at global scale and finding places that are relevant to users and fun to play is challenging. Google Maps APIs helped us incorporate the real-world, user relevant locations into our game. Users from all over the world can experience the Ghostbusters virtual world through our game, leveraging Google's location data.​" - HAN Sung Gin, CEO, FourThirtyThree Inc.(4:33)


Deliver game experiences at Google-scale

Building on top of Google Maps’ global infrastructure means faster response times, the ability to scale on demand, and peace of mind knowing that your game will just work.

We're excited to be bringing the best of Google to mobile gaming. All our early access partners leveraged ARCore to better understand the user's environment and reach over 100M devices across the ecosystem. At Google we have even more products to help developers – from Google Cloud for your game server needs to YouTube and Google Play for promotional help, and more.

We’ll be featuring a live demo at the Game Developer Conference in booth 823 next week in San Francisco. If you’re interested in building real-world gaming experiences, visit our web page or contact sales.

The real world as your playground: Build real-world games with Google Maps APIs


The mobile gaming landscape is changing as more and more studios develop augmented reality games. In order to mix realities, developers first need to understand the real world — the physical environment around their players. That’s why we’re excited to announce a new offering for building real-world games using Google Maps’ tried-and-tested model of the world.

Game studios can easily reimagine our world as a medieval fantasy, a bubble gum candy land, or a zombie-infested post-apocalyptic city. With Google Maps’ real-time updates and rich location data, developers can find the best places for playing games, no matter where their players are.


Completely customize your games

To make it easy to get started, we’ve brought the richness of Google Maps to the Unity game engine. We turn buildings, roads, and parks into GameObjects in Unity, where developers can then add texture, style, and customization to match the look and feel of your game. This means that they can focus on building rich, immersive gameplay without the overhead of scaffolding a global-scale game world.

“With Google Maps data integrated into Unity, we were able to focus our time and energy on building detailed virtual experiences for our users to find virtual dinosaurs in the real world.” - Alexandre Thabet, CEO, Ludia


Create immersive experiences all over the globe

Game developers will now have access to a rich, accurate, and living model of the world to form the foundation of their game worlds. With access to over 100 million 3D buildings, roads, landmarks, and parks from over 200 countries, they can deliver rich engaging game play across the globe.

"We are excited to partner with Google to provide the most up-to-date and rich location data to enable us to create an immersive experience tied to your location. When new buildings or roads are built, we’ll have access to them in our game. Google Maps’ unrivalled location data, covering world-famous landmarks, businesses and buildings, like the Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, London Eye, Burj Khalifa, and India Gate, makes exploring your surroundings a breathtaking experience,” said Teemu Huuhtanen, CEO, Next Games


Design rich and engaging games in the real world

Designing interactions around real-world places at global scale is a huge challenge and requires knowing a lot about a player’s environment. We make it easy to find places that are appropriate, pleasant, and fun to play — no matter where your players are.

"Building game interactions around real-world places at global scale and finding places that are relevant to users and fun to play is challenging. Google Maps APIs helped us incorporate the real-world, user relevant locations into our game. Users from all over the world can experience the Ghostbusters virtual world through our game, leveraging Google's location data.​" - HAN Sung Gin, CEO, FourThirtyThree Inc.(4:33)


Deliver game experiences at Google-scale

Building on top of Google Maps’ global infrastructure means faster response times, the ability to scale on demand, and peace of mind knowing that your game will just work.

We're excited to be bringing the best of Google to mobile gaming. All our early access partners leveraged ARCore to better understand the user's environment and reach over 100M devices across the ecosystem. At Google we have even more products to help developers – from Google Cloud for your game server needs to YouTube and Google Play for promotional help, and more.

We’ll be featuring a live demo at the Game Developer Conference in booth 823 next week in San Francisco. If you’re interested in building real-world gaming experiences, visit our web page or contact sales.

The real world as your playground: Build real-world games with Google Maps APIs


The mobile gaming landscape is changing as more and more studios develop augmented reality games. In order to mix realities, developers first need to understand the real world — the physical environment around their players. That’s why we’re excited to announce a new offering for building real-world games using Google Maps’ tried-and-tested model of the world.

Game studios can easily reimagine our world as a medieval fantasy, a bubble gum candy land, or a zombie-infested post-apocalyptic city. With Google Maps’ real-time updates and rich location data, developers can find the best places for playing games, no matter where their players are.


Completely customize your games

To make it easy to get started, we’ve brought the richness of Google Maps to the Unity game engine. We turn buildings, roads, and parks into GameObjects in Unity, where developers can then add texture, style, and customization to match the look and feel of your game. This means that they can focus on building rich, immersive gameplay without the overhead of scaffolding a global-scale game world.

“With Google Maps data integrated into Unity, we were able to focus our time and energy on building detailed virtual experiences for our users to find virtual dinosaurs in the real world.” - Alexandre Thabet, CEO, Ludia


Create immersive experiences all over the globe

Game developers will now have access to a rich, accurate, and living model of the world to form the foundation of their game worlds. With access to over 100 million 3D buildings, roads, landmarks, and parks from over 200 countries, they can deliver rich engaging game play across the globe.

"We are excited to partner with Google to provide the most up-to-date and rich location data to enable us to create an immersive experience tied to your location. When new buildings or roads are built, we’ll have access to them in our game. Google Maps’ unrivalled location data, covering world-famous landmarks, businesses and buildings, like the Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, London Eye, Burj Khalifa, and India Gate, makes exploring your surroundings a breathtaking experience,” said Teemu Huuhtanen, CEO, Next Games


Design rich and engaging games in the real world

Designing interactions around real-world places at global scale is a huge challenge and requires knowing a lot about a player’s environment. We make it easy to find places that are appropriate, pleasant, and fun to play — no matter where your players are.

"Building game interactions around real-world places at global scale and finding places that are relevant to users and fun to play is challenging. Google Maps APIs helped us incorporate the real-world, user relevant locations into our game. Users from all over the world can experience the Ghostbusters virtual world through our game, leveraging Google's location data.​" - HAN Sung Gin, CEO, FourThirtyThree Inc.(4:33)


Deliver game experiences at Google-scale

Building on top of Google Maps’ global infrastructure means faster response times, the ability to scale on demand, and peace of mind knowing that your game will just work.

We're excited to be bringing the best of Google to mobile gaming. All our early access partners leveraged ARCore to better understand the user's environment and reach over 100M devices across the ecosystem. At Google we have even more products to help developers – from Google Cloud for your game server needs to YouTube and Google Play for promotional help, and more.

We’ll be featuring a live demo at the Game Developer Conference in booth 823 next week in San Francisco. If you’re interested in building real-world gaming experiences, visit our web page or contact sales.

The real world as your playground: Build real-world games with Google Maps APIs


The mobile gaming landscape is changing as more and more studios develop augmented reality games. In order to mix realities, developers first need to understand the real world — the physical environment around their players. That’s why we’re excited to announce a new offering for building real-world games using Google Maps’ tried-and-tested model of the world.

Game studios can easily reimagine our world as a medieval fantasy, a bubble gum candy land, or a zombie-infested post-apocalyptic city. With Google Maps’ real-time updates and rich location data, developers can find the best places for playing games, no matter where their players are.


Completely customize your games

To make it easy to get started, we’ve brought the richness of Google Maps to the Unity game engine. We turn buildings, roads, and parks into GameObjects in Unity, where developers can then add texture, style, and customization to match the look and feel of your game. This means that they can focus on building rich, immersive gameplay without the overhead of scaffolding a global-scale game world.

“With Google Maps data integrated into Unity, we were able to focus our time and energy on building detailed virtual experiences for our users to find virtual dinosaurs in the real world.” - Alexandre Thabet, CEO, Ludia


Create immersive experiences all over the globe

Game developers will now have access to a rich, accurate, and living model of the world to form the foundation of their game worlds. With access to over 100 million 3D buildings, roads, landmarks, and parks from over 200 countries, they can deliver rich engaging game play across the globe.

"We are excited to partner with Google to provide the most up-to-date and rich location data to enable us to create an immersive experience tied to your location. When new buildings or roads are built, we’ll have access to them in our game. Google Maps’ unrivalled location data, covering world-famous landmarks, businesses and buildings, like the Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower, London Eye, Burj Khalifa, and India Gate, makes exploring your surroundings a breathtaking experience,” said Teemu Huuhtanen, CEO, Next Games


Design rich and engaging games in the real world

Designing interactions around real-world places at global scale is a huge challenge and requires knowing a lot about a player’s environment. We make it easy to find places that are appropriate, pleasant, and fun to play — no matter where your players are.

"Building game interactions around real-world places at global scale and finding places that are relevant to users and fun to play is challenging. Google Maps APIs helped us incorporate the real-world, user relevant locations into our game. Users from all over the world can experience the Ghostbusters virtual world through our game, leveraging Google's location data.​" - HAN Sung Gin, CEO, FourThirtyThree Inc.(4:33)


Deliver game experiences at Google-scale

Building on top of Google Maps’ global infrastructure means faster response times, the ability to scale on demand, and peace of mind knowing that your game will just work.

We're excited to be bringing the best of Google to mobile gaming. All our early access partners leveraged ARCore to better understand the user's environment and reach over 100M devices across the ecosystem. At Google we have even more products to help developers – from Google Cloud for your game server needs to YouTube and Google Play for promotional help, and more.

We’ll be featuring a live demo at the Game Developer Conference in booth 823 next week in San Francisco. If you’re interested in building real-world gaming experiences, visit our web page or contact sales.

Updated basemap style for Google Maps APIs



Google Maps APIs will soon be updated with a new look and feel to provide an experience in line with the recent updates to Google Maps. Late last year, we refined the color, typography, and iconography of the Google Maps basemap to improve focus, clarity of information, and readability.

This means that the maps in your products will eventually get an update as well, with stylistic changes such as:

  • New basemap with an updated color scheme and typography
  • An updated pin style marks points of interest on the map in place of the previous circular icons
  • Different colors and icons reflecting categories of points of interest (Food & Drink, Shopping, Transport, etc.)
Existing design
New design
Timeline
The transition to the new look will happen over time and by individual API, with an opt-in period (defaulting to the previous style) and an opt-out period (defaulting to the new style) before the new style is enforced.

The first APIs to offer the new look are the Google Maps SDK for iOS and the Google Places API for iOS, which we are launching as opt-in today. To get updates on the timelines for each API, star the following issues on the Maps APIs Issue Tracker.

If you experience any issues with the Google Maps APIs new styles please let us know by creating a bug report.

API
Estimated opt-in launch
Tracking issue
Google Maps SDK for iOS
13 February
Google Places API for iOS
13 February
Google Maps JavaScript API
14 February (version 3.32)
Google Static Maps API
Mid February
Google Maps Android API
Early March
Google Places API for Android
May

The updated style is already live across all Google products that incorporate Google Maps, including the Assistant, Search and Android Auto. Opt-in to the new style to give your users the same consistent experience no matter how or where they see our maps.

With Google Maps APIs, Toyota Europe keeps teen drivers safe and sound



Editor’s note: Today’s post is from Christophe Hardy, Toyota Motor Europe’s Manager of Social Business. He’ll explain how Toyota used Google Maps APIs to build an Android app to keep teen drivers safe.

It’s a milestone that teenagers celebrate and parents fear: getting that first driver’s license. For teens, a license means freedom and a gateway to adulthood. For parents, it means worrying about their kid’s safety, with no way to make sure they’re doing the right thing behind the wheel.

We know that the risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16-19-year-olds than any other age group, and that speeding and using smartphones are two of the main main causes. So as part of Toyota's efforts to eliminate accidents and fatalities, we worked with Molamil and MapsPeople to build Safe and Sound, an Android app for European teen drivers. It takes a lighthearted but effective approach to help young drivers stay focused on speed limits and the rules of the road, not on their cellphones. And it can be used by anyone, not just Toyota owners.

One way Safe and Sound combats speeding and distracted driving is by using music. Before parents turn over their car keys, parents and teens download and run the app to set it up. The app syncs with Spotify, and uses the Google Maps Roads API to monitor a teen’s driving behavior. If Safe and Sound determines the teen is speeding, it’ll override the teen’s music with a Spotify playlist specifically chosen by the parent—and the teen can’t turn it off. As any parent knows, parents and kids don’t always agree on music. And there’s nothing less cool to a teen than being forced to listen to folk ballads or ‘70s soft rock. (The embarrassment doubles if their friends are in the car.) The parents’ playlist turns off and switches back to the teen’s only when the teen drives at the speed limit.

The app also helps prevent distracted driving. When it detects the car is moving above nine miles an hour, it switches on a “do not disturb” mode that blocks social media notifications, incoming and outgoing texts, and phone calls. If the teen touches the phone, the app will detect that too, and play the parents' Spotify playlist until the teen removes his or her hand. At the end of the drive, Safe and Sound alerts parents to how many times their teen exceeded the speed limit or touched the phone. Parents can also tap a link in the app that displays the route the teen drove in Google Maps.

Google Maps provided us the ideal platform for building Safe and Sound. It has accurate, up-to-date and comprehensive map data, including road speed limits. The documentation is great, which made using the Google Maps Roads API simple. It also scales to handle millions of users, an important consideration as we roll out the app to more of Europe.

Safe and Sound is currently available in English throughout the continent, with a Spanish version launching soon in Spain, and a Dutch and French version coming to Belgium. And we’re looking to localize Safe and Sound into even more languages.

We hope Safe and Sound helps keep more teens safe, and brings more parents peace of mind. Plus, there’s never been a better use for that playlist of yacht rock classics.