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Activate the Google Maps Android API

To get you started we'll guide you through the Google Developers Console to do a few things first:

  1. Create or choose a project
  2. Activate the Google Maps Android API
  3. Create appropriate keys
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Lite Mode

The Google Maps Android API can serve a bitmap image of a map, offering limited interactivity to the user. This is called a lite mode map.

Code samples

The ApiDemos repository on GitHub includes samples that demonstrate the use of lite mode:

Overview of lite mode

A lite mode map is a bitmap image of a map at a specified location and zoom level. Lite mode supports all of the map types (normal, hybrid, satellite, terrain) and a subset of the functionality supplied by the full API. Lite mode is useful when you want to provide a number of maps in a stream, or a map that is too small to support meaningful interaction.

Users viewing the map cannot zoom or pan the map. Icons on the map give users access to viewing the map in the Google Maps mobile app and requesting directions.

Adding a lite mode map

Lite mode uses the same classes and interfaces as the full Google Maps Android API. You can set a GoogleMap to lite mode in the following ways:

  • Either as an XML attribute for a MapView or MapFragment
  • Or in the GoogleMapOptions object

As an XML attribute for a MapView or MapFragment

<fragment xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    xmlns:map="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto"
    android:name="com.google.android.gms.maps.MapFragment"
    android:id="@+id/map"
    android:layout_width="match_parent"
    android:layout_height="match_parent"
    map:cameraZoom="13"
    map:mapType="normal"
    map:liteMode="true"/>

In the GoogleMapOptions object

GoogleMapOptions options = new GoogleMapOptions().liteMode(true);

For details on setting the initial state of the map, see the guide to the map object.

Intents to launch a map view or directions request

By default, a toolbar at the bottom right of the map contains icons that provide access to a map view or directions request in the Google Maps mobile app. You can disable the toolbar by calling UiSettings.setMapToolbarEnabled(false). For more details, see the toolbar documentation.

Also by default when a user taps the map, the API starts the Google Maps mobile app. You can override this by using GoogleMap.setOnMapClickListener() to set your own listener. You can also disable click events on the map, by calling setClickable() on the view that contains the MapView or MapFragment. For details of these two techniques, see the events documentation.

Life cycle events

When using the API in fully interactive mode, users of the MapView class must forward all the activity life cycle methods to the corresponding methods in the MapView class. Examples of the life cycle methods include onCreate(), onDestroy(), onResume(), and onPause().

When using the MapView class in lite mode, forwarding lifecycle events is optional, except for the following situations:

  • It is mandatory to call onCreate(), otherwise no map will appear.
  • If you wish to show the My Location dot on your lite mode map and use the default location source, you will need to call onResume() and onPause(), because the location source will only update between these calls. If you use your own location source, it's not necessary to call these two methods.

Supported API features

The following table describes the behavior of a lite mode map for each area of API functionality. If an app calls a method that's not supported in lite mode, the API will log a warning message.

Functionality
Map types
Supported? Yes
The following map types are available via GoogleMapOptions.mapType() and GoogleMap.setMapType(): MAP_TYPE_NORMAL, MAP_TYPE_SATELLITE, MAP_TYPE_TERRAIN, MAP_TYPE_HYBRID, MAP_TYPE_NONE
Polylines, polygons, circles
Supported? Yes
The lite mode functionality for shapes matches the full API.
Projection
Supported? Yes
The lite mode functionality for Projection matches the full API.
My Location
Supported? Yes
The lite mode functionality for the My Location layer matches the full API.
Map padding
Supported? Yes
The lite mode support for map padding matches the full API.
Info windows
Supported? Yes
If you set the title() of a marker, the default info window will appear when the user taps the marker. You can show the info window programmatically by calling showInfoWindow() on the marker. You can also create custom info windows via the InfoWindowAdapter interface.
Custom base map styles
Supported? Yes
The Google Maps Android API supports custom styling of the base map.
Markers
Supported? Partly
You can add a marker and respond to a click event. You can also add custom marker icons. It's not possible to make a marker draggable. Markers on a lite mode map are flat, and they cannot be rotated.
Camera position, zoom, and animation
Supported? Partly

You can set the camera target and zoom, but not the tilt or bearing. Zoom level is rounded to the nearest integer in lite mode. Calling GoogleMap.moveCamera() will give you another lite mode map image. For more information on setting and manipulating the camera, see Changing the View.

Calling GoogleMap.animateCamera() will not result in animation of the camera movement. The camera view will move instantly to the new position.

Map events
Supported? Partly

Lite mode supports GoogleMap.setOnMapClickListener() and GoogleMap.setOnMapLongClickListener().

To disable click events on a map in lite mode, you can call setClickable() on the view that contains the MapView or MapFragment. This is useful, for example, when displaying a map or maps in a list view, where you want the click event to invoke an action unrelated to the map.

For details, see the events documentation.

Indoor maps and buildings
Supported? No
Lite mode will show the same tiles as the Google Static Maps API. This means that if the indoor floor plan is baked into the default tile, it will appear. Otherwise, it won't. Further, you cannot change the level shown or manipulate a level picker.
Traffic layer
Supported? No
GoogleMap.setTrafficEnabled() is not supported in lite mode.
Ground overlays
Supported? No
GoogleMap.addGroundOverlay() is not supported in lite mode.
Tile overlays
Supported? No
GoogleMap.addTileOverlay() is not supported in lite mode.
Gestures
Supported? No
Lite mode does not support gestures. Enabling and disabling gestures will have no effect.
Street View
Supported? No
Street View is not supported in lite mode.

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