You're all set!

To start developing, please head over to our developer documentation.

Activate the Google Maps Directions 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 Directions API
  3. Create appropriate keys
Continue

Get a Key/Authentication

All Google Maps Directions API applications require authentication.

  • Standard API users: If you're using the API under the standard plan, you must use a server key (a type of API key) set up in a project of your choice. See more about API keys for the standard API.
    Including a key in your request allows you to monitor your application's API usage in the Google Developers Console, enables per-key instead of per-IP-address quota limits, and ensures that Google can contact you about your application if necessary.
  • Premium Plan users: If you're using the API under the Google Maps APIs Premium Plan you have two authentication options:
    • Use a server key (a type of API key) set up in the Google Maps APIs Premium Plan project created for you when you purchased the Premium Plan.
        or
    • Include a client ID and digital signature instead of the API key.

    See the Google Maps APIs Premium Plan section below for information on choosing the best authentication method.

Authentication for the standard API — API keys

Get an API key

To get started using the Google Maps Directions API, click the button below, which takes you to the Google Developers Console, guides you through the process, and activates the Google Maps Directions API automatically.

Get a Key

Alternatively, follow these steps to get an API key:

  1. Go to the Google Developers Console.
  2. Create or select a project.
  3. Click Continue to Enable the API.
  4. On the Credentials page, get a Server key (and set the API Credentials).
    Note: If you have an existing Server key, you may use that key.
  5. To prevent quota theft, secure your API key following these best practices.
  6. (Optional) Enable billing. See Usage Limits for more information.


You can also look up an existing key in the Google Developers Console.

For more information on using the Google Developers Console, see Developers Console Help.

Types of API Keys

Google Maps APIs are available for Android or iOS apps, Web browsers, and via HTTP web services. APIs in each platform require a specific type of key. The Google Maps Directions API will only work with a Server key. APIs of the same platform can use the same key.

Specify a key in your request

To specify a key in your request, include it as the value of a key parameter.

For example:

https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/directions/json?origin=Toronto&destination=Montreal&key=YOUR_API_KEY

Authentication for Google Maps APIs Premium Plan customers

The information in this section applies only to the new Google Maps APIs Premium Plan, which became available on January 6, 2016.

Have a previous Maps API for Work or Maps API for Business license? See our Maps API for Work Licenses guide. To determine whether you have a previous license: In the Google for Work Support Portal, click Maps: Usage Report on the left. If the ID at the top of the report is in the following format, you have the new Premium Plan:
gme-[company] & proj-[number] ([type])
Otherwise, you have a previous license.

When using the Google Maps Directions API with a Google Maps APIs Premium Plan license, you must authenticate your application with either an API key or your client ID. In addition, requests using a client ID also require a digital signature. Note: If you have a previous Maps API for Business license, you must use a client ID, not an API key.

When deciding on which authentication method to use, consider the following:

  • API key (available to Google Maps APIs Premium Plan customers but not to holders of a previous Maps API for Business license) — By using an API key to authenticate requests, you can:
  • Client ID — By using your client ID (instead of an API key) to authenticate requests, you can:
    • Add the channel parameter to requests so you can view more detailed usage reports
    • View usage reports with more than 30 days of data in the Google for Work Support Portal
    • Use Maps Analytics tools for the Maps JavaScript API

Get more information on reports available to Premium Plan customers.

Using an API key

To authenticate the Directions API using an API key, click the button below, which takes you to the Google Developers Console and guides you through the process of getting a Server key.

Important: In the project drop-down menu, be sure to select the project created for you when you purchased the Premium Plan. The project name starts with Google Maps APIs for Business or Google Maps for Work.*

Get a Key

Alternatively, follow these steps to get an API key:

  1. Go to the Google Developers Console.
  2. From the Project drop-down menu, select the Google Maps Premium project.*
  3. Click Continue.
  4. On the Credentials page, get a Server key (and set the API Credentials).
    Note: If you have an existing Server key, you may use that key.
  5. To prevent quota theft, secure your API key following these best practices.

* Note: In the project drop-down menu, you must select the project created for you when you purchased the Premium Plan. The project name starts with Google Maps APIs for Business or Google Maps for Work. Important: If you have a previous Maps API for Business license, you must use a client ID, not an API key.


You can also look up an existing key in the Google Developers Console.

For more information on using the Google Developers Console, see Developers Console Help.

Specify a key in your request

To specify a key in your request, include it as the value of a key parameter.

For example:

https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/directions/json?origin=Toronto&destination=Montreal&key=YOUR_API_KEY

Using a client ID

To authenticate the Directions API using a client ID (instead of the API key), two authentication parameters are required: client ID and unique digital signature.

If you were previously using an API key for authentication and are switching to using a client ID, you must remove the key parameter from your requests. Google Maps APIs web services will deny requests made with both a client ID and an API key.

Your client ID and signature

Upon purchasing your Google Maps APIs Premium Plan license, you will receive a welcome email from Google that contains your client ID and your private cryptographic key.

  • Your client ID is used to access the special features of Google Maps APIs Premium Plan. All client IDs begin with a gme- prefix. Pass your client ID as the value of the client parameter.

  • A unique digital signature is generated using your private cryptographic key. Pass this signature as the value of the signature parameter. You can find more information about generating a signature below, in the section on digital signatures.

    https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/directions/json
      ?origin=Toronto
      &destination=Montreal
      &client=gme-YOUR_CLIENT_ID
      &signature=YOUR_URL_SIGNATURE

If you have lost your client ID or private cryptographic key, you can recover it by logging in to the Google for Work Support Portal and clicking Maps: Manage Client ID from the links on the left of the page.

Optional parameter for reports

When using a client ID for API authentication, the following optional parameter is available for use:

  • channel is used to provide additional reporting detail, by grouping different channels separately in your reports. Refer to the Premium Plan Reporting Overview for more information.

Digital signatures

Requests to the Directions API by Google Maps APIs Premium Plan customers require a digital signature, generated using the private cryptographic key provided to you in your welcome email.

The signing process combines a URL and the key together using an encryption algorithm. The resulting unique signature allows our servers to verify that any site generating requests using your client ID are authorized to do so. The signature is also unique per URL, ensuring that requests that use your client ID cannot be modified without requiring a new signature to be generated.

Your private cryptographic key

Your private cryptographic URL-signing key will be issued with your client ID and is a "secret shared key" between you and Google. This signing key is yours alone and is unique to your client ID. For that reason, please keep your signing key secure. This key should not be passed within any requests, stored on any websites, or posted to any public forum. Anyone obtaining this signing key could spoof requests using your identity.

Note: This private cryptographic signing key is not the same as the API keys issued by the Google Developers Console.

If you've lost your private cryptographic key, log in to the Google for Work Support Portal and click Maps: Manage Client ID to retrieve it.

Generate a digital signature

Attempting to access the Directions API with an invalid signature will result in a HTTP 403 (Forbidden) error. As you convert your applications to use URL signing, make sure to test your signatures to ensure they initiate a valid request. You should first test whether the original URL is valid as well as test whether you generate the correct signatures.

Follow these steps to create a digital signature for your request:

  1. Construct the request URL without the signature, making sure to include your client parameter. Note that any non-standard characters will need to be URL-encoded:

    https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/directions/json?origin=Toronto&destination=Montreal&client=clientID

    Note: All Google services require UTF-8 character encoding (which implicitly includes ASCII). If your applications operate using other character sets, make sure they construct URLs using UTF-8 and properly URL-encode them.

  2. Strip off the domain portion of the request, leaving only the path and the query:

    /maps/api/directions/json?origin=Toronto&destination=Montreal&client=clientID

  3. Retrieve your private key, which is encoded in a modified Base64 for URLs, and sign the URL above using the HMAC-SHA1 algorithm. You may need to decode this key into its original binary format. Note that in most cryptographic libraries, the resulting signature will be in binary format.

    Note: Modified Base64 for URLs replaces the + and / characters of standard Base64 with - and _ respectively, so that these Base64 signatures no longer need to be URL-encoded.

  4. Encode the resulting binary signature using the modified Base64 for URLs to convert this signature into something that can be passed within a URL.

  5. Attach this signature to the URL within a signature parameter:

    https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/directions/json?origin=Toronto&destination=Montreal&client=clientID&signature=base64signature

For samples showing ways to implement URL signing using server-side code, see Sample code for URL signing.

To sign a URL now, enter your URL and your URL signing secret below. The URL must have the format described in step 1 above, and be URL-encoded.

Sample code for URL signing

The following sections show ways to implement URL signing using server-side code. URLs should always be signed server-side to avoid exposing your cryptographic key to users.

Python

The example below uses standard Python libraries to sign a URL. (Download the code.)

Java

The example below uses the java.util.Base64 class available since JDK 1.8 - older versions may need to use Apache Commons or similar. (Download the code.)

C#

The example below uses the default System.Security.Cryptography library to sign a URL request. Note that we need to convert the default Base64 encoding to implement a URL-safe version. (Download the code.)

For testing purposes, you can test the following URL and private key to see if it generates the correct signature. Note that this private key is purely for testing purposes and will not be validated by any Google services.

  • URL: https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/geocode/json?address=New+York&client=clientID
  • Private Key: vNIXE0xscrmjlyV-12Nj_BvUPaw=
  • URL Portion to Sign: /maps/api/geocode/json?address=New+York&client=clientID
  • Signature: chaRF2hTJKOScPr-RQCEhZbSzIE=
  • Full Signed URL: https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/geocode/json?address=New+York&client=clientID&signature=chaRF2hTJKOScPr-RQCEhZbSzIE=

Examples in additional languages

Examples that cover more languages are available in the url-signing project.

Troubleshooting authentication issues

If your request is malformed or supplies an invalid signature, the Google Maps Directions API returns an HTTP 403 (Forbidden) error.

To troubleshoot individual URLs, you can use the URL Signing Debugger. It allows you to quickly validate a URL and signature generated by your application.

Alternatively, Google Maps APIs Premium Plan customers can troubleshoot individual URLs by logging in to the Google for Work Support Portal and selecting Resources > Google Maps APIs Premium Plan online tools > URL Signing Debugger for Web Service and Image APIs.

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