Map Objects

Maps are represented in the API by the GMSMapView class, a subclass of UIView. The map is the most significant object in the Maps SDK for iOS, and provides necessary methods for adding, removing and managing other objects such as markers and polylines.


The Maps SDK for iOS allows you to display a Google map in your iOS application. These maps have the same appearance as the maps you see in the Google Maps iOS app, and the SDK exposes many of the same features.

In addition to mapping functionality, the API also supports a range of interactions that are consistent with the iOS UI model. For example, you can set up interactions with a map by defining responders that react to user gestures, such as tap and double-tap.

The key class when working with a Map object is the GMSMapView class. GMSMapView handles the following operations automatically:

  • Connecting to the Google Maps service.
  • Downloading map tiles.
  • Displaying tiles on the device screen.
  • Displaying various controls such as pan and zoom.
  • Responding to pan and zoom gestures by moving the map and zooming in or out.
  • Responding to two finger gestures by tilting the viewing angle of the map.

In addition to these automatic operations, you can control the behavior and appearance of the map through the properties and methods exposed by the GMSMapView class. GMSMapView allows you to add and remove markers, ground overlays and polylines, change the type of map that is displayed, and control what is shown on the map through the GMSCameraPosition class.

Adding a map

The basic steps for adding a map are:

  1. (Once) Follow the steps in Getting Started to get the SDK, obtain a key and add the required frameworks.
  2. In your AppDelegate, provide your API key to the provideAPIKey: class method on GMSServices.
  3. Create or update a ViewController. If the map will be displayed when this view controller becomes visible, be sure to create it within the loadView method.
    1. Create a GMSCameraPosition object that specifies the center and zoom level of the map. When you instantiate the GMSMapView object, you must pass the GMSCameraPosition object as a required parameter.
    2. Create and instantiate a GMSMapView class using the GMSMapView mapWithFrame: method. If this map is to be used as the view controller's only view, then CGRectZero could be used as the map's frame — the map will be resized automatically.
    3. Set the GMSMapView object as the view controller's view, e.g. self.view = mapView;.

The below example adds a map, centered at downtown Singapore, to an app.


import GoogleMaps

class MapObjects : UIViewController {
  override func viewDidLoad() {
    let camera = GMSCameraPosition(latitude: 1.285, longitude: 103.848, zoom: 12)
    let mapView = GMSMapView(frame: .zero, camera: camera)
    self.view = mapView


#import "MapObjects.h"
@import GoogleMaps;

@implementation MapObjects

- (void)viewDidLoad {
  [super viewDidLoad];
  GMSCameraPosition *camera = [GMSCameraPosition cameraWithLatitude:1.285
  GMSMapView *mapView = [GMSMapView mapWithFrame:CGRectZero camera:camera];
  self.view = mapView;


Once you've followed these steps, you may further configure the GMSMapView object.

Map types

You can customize your map with one of several map types. A map's type governs the overall representation of the map. For example, an atlas usually contains political maps that focus on showing boundaries, and road maps that show all of the roads for a city or region. The Maps SDK for iOS offers the following types of maps:

Map Type
Value: kGMSTypeNormal
Typical road map. Shows roads, some features built by humans, and important natural features like rivers. Road and feature labels are also visible. This is the default map mode in Google Maps for iOS.
Value: kGMSTypeHybrid
Satellite photograph data with road maps added. Road and feature labels are also visible. This map type can be enabled on the Google Maps app for iOS by turning on the Satellite view.
Value: kGMSTypeSatellite
Satellite photograph data. Road and feature labels are not visible. This mode is not available in Google Maps for iOS.
Value: kGMSTypeTerrain
Topographic data. The map includes colors, contour lines and labels, and perspective shading. Some roads and labels are also visible.
Value: kGMSTypeNone
No map tiles. The base map tiles will not be rendered. This mode is useful in conjunction with tile layers. The display of traffic data will be disabled when the map type is set to none.

Changing the map type

To set the type of a map, assign a new value to the GMSMapView.mapType property. For example, to display a satellite map type:


let camera = -33.8683, longitude: 151.2086, zoom: 6)
let mapView = .zero, camera: camera)
mapView.mapType = .satellite


GMSCameraPosition *camera = [GMSCameraPosition cameraWithLatitude:-33.8683
GMSMapView *mapView = [GMSMapView mapWithFrame:CGRectZero camera:camera];
mapView.mapType = kGMSTypeSatellite;

The chooser below shows a comparison of terrain, normal and hybrid maps for the same location:

Indoor maps

At high zoom levels, the Maps SDK for iOS will show floor plans for indoor spaces such as airports, shopping malls, large retail stores, and transit stations. Indoor floor plans are integrated into the default map tiles for the 'normal' map type (kGMSTypeNormal), and are automatically enabled when the user zooms in, and fade away when the map is zoomed out.

You can disable indoor maps by setting the indoorEnabled property of GMSMapView to NO.


mapView.isIndoorEnabled = false


mapView.indoorEnabled = NO;

Alternatively, you can disable just the Floor Picker control.

Adding floor plans

Floor plans are available in select locations. If floor plan data is not available for a building that you would like to highlight in your application, you can:

  • Add floor plans to Google Maps directly. This will make your plans are available to all users of Google Maps.
  • Display a floor plan as a Ground Overlay. This will enable only users of your application to view your floor plans.

The traffic layer

You can give your users the ability to view the map with traffic density information superimposed on top of it. This provides a visual summary of their local traffic situation. You can turn the traffic layer on and off by calling the trafficEnabled method. The following example shows how the traffic layer might appear on a map.

A Google map showing the traffic layer


By default, accessibility elements on the map are hidden. You may enable accessibility by setting the accessibilityElementsHidden property of GMSMapView to NO. This will cause accessibility elements to be generated for overlay objects (such as GMSMarker and info windows, GMSPolyline etc).


mapView.accessibilityElementsHidden = false


mapView.accessibilityElementsHidden = NO;

This property is as per the informal UIAccessibility protocol, except that the default value in the Maps SDK for iOS is YES.

My location

By default, no location data is shown on the map. You may enable the blue "My Location" dot and compass direction by setting myLocationEnabled on GMSMapView.


mapView.isMyLocationEnabled = true


mapView.myLocationEnabled = YES;

Enabling this feature will also provide the user's current location through the myLocation property. This property may not be immediately available - for example, if the user is prompted by iOS to allow access to this data. It will be nil in this case.


print("User's location: \(String(describing: mapView.myLocation))")


NSLog(@"User's location: %@", mapView.myLocation);

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Map padding

A Google Map is designed to fill the entire region defined by the GMSMapView. Several aspects of how the map appears and behaves are defined by the dimensions of the view:

  • The camera's target will reflect the center of the padded region.
  • Map controls are positioned relative to the edges of the map.
  • Legal information, such as copyright statements or the Google logo appear along the bottom edge of the map.

You can add padding around the edges of the map using the GMSMapView.padding property. The map will continue to fill the entire container, but text and control positioning, map gestures, and camera movements will behave as if it has been placed in a smaller space. This results in the following changes:

  • Camera movements via API calls or button presses (e.g., compass, my location) will be relative to the padded region.
  • GMSMapView.projection will return a projection that includes only the padded region.
  • UI controls will be offset from the edge of the container by the specified number of points.

Padding can be helpful when designing UIs that overlap some portion of the map. For example, in the below image, the map is padded along the top and right edges. Visible map controls and legal text will be displayed along the edges of the padded region, shown in green, while the map will continue to fill the entire container, shown in blue. In this example, you could float a menu over the right side of the map without obscuring map controls.

Map Padding

To add padding to your map, create a UIEdgeInsets object and pass it to the GMSMapView.padding property.


// Insets are specified in this order: top, left, bottom, right
let mapInsets = UIEdgeInsets(top: 100.0, left: 0.0, bottom: 0.0, right: 300.0)
mapView.padding = mapInsets


// Insets are specified in this order: top, left, bottom, right
UIEdgeInsets mapInsets = UIEdgeInsetsMake(100.0, 0.0, 0.0, 300.0);
mapView.padding = mapInsets;