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Google expands Google Maps API, allows big data mapping for enterprises

By Michael Mayday , Jun 06, 2013 09:48 AM EDT
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Google launched its newest programming interface Wednesday: the Maps Engine API.

The ‘old' Maps API was focused primarily on providing developers with access to Google's mapping content. This newer API is focused more on allowing developers to interact with the content and add their own.

The Google Maps Engine API lets developers import their own data into the Maps Engine so they're able to use it for their own applications, essentially letting developers have their own Google Maps to use when they want.

According to TechCrunch, Google wants organizations to layer data onto their mapping cloud infrastructure so those organizations can easily able to share it with employees and clientele.

"The API provides direct access to Maps Engine for reading and editing spatial data hosted in the cloud," Jen Kovnats, Product Manager, Google Maps for Business said in a blog post. "With the API, organizations can develop on any platform - Web, Android, iOS and server-to-server - and build applications like store locators, crowdsourced maps or crisis-response maps."

And Google's has attracted some lucrative clientele with its new API offering. FedEx, for example, has apparently been testing the new API for a while. The package delievry company has used Google's API to enhance the functions of their store locator.

"By hosting attributes, such as street addresses, opening hours, holiday schedules and local pick-up times on Maps Engine, we can update details for nearly 50,000 retail touchpoints in real-time and share this information to FedEx.com visitors within minutes," FedEx IT manager Pat Doyle said in a blog post "This helped us replace a patchwork of region-bound store locators with a single, global site."

Those details can be pushed out from stores every 15 minutes, letting local users know if a natural disaster, power outage or other event has caused the store to close within minutes. Doyle has said the system has been completely reliable for FedEx, helping customers find what they need in a short period of time.

This however, isn't the end for the Google Maps Engine API. As TechCrunch reports, Google is looking to expand the API's offerings in the near future, possibly lowering the cost of access as well.

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