You're all set!

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

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

Get a Key and Signature/Authentication

All Google Static Maps API applications require authentication.

  • Standard API users: If you're using the API under the standard plan, you must use an API key. In addition, we recommend that you include a digital signature. The digital signature is required under certain circumstances. See more about API keys and digital signatures for the standard API.
  • Premium Plan users: If you're using the API under the Google Maps APIs Premium Plan you have two authentication options:
    • Use an API key set up in the Google API Console under the Google Maps APIs Premium Plan project (created for you when you purchased the Premium Plan), along with a digital signature.
        or
    • Instead of an API key, include your client ID and a digital signature.

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

Authentication for the standard API — API keys and digital signatures

Including a key in your request allows you to monitor your application's API usage in the Google API Console, enables access to generous free daily quota, and ensures that Google can contact you about your application if necessary.

  • For the standard API, the recommended method of authentication is to include an API key and a digital signature in all requests to the Google Static Maps API. The API key is required. The digital signature is required if you enable pay-as-you-go billing. The unique signature allows our servers to verify that any site generating requests using your API key is authorized to do so.
  • If you use the standard API without enabling pay-as-you-go billing, you need an API key. The digital signature is recommended but optional.

Get an API key

To get started using the Google Static Maps API, click the button below which guides you through the process of activating the Google Static Maps API and getting an API key.

Get a Key

Alternatively, follow these steps to get an API key:

  1. Go to the Google API Console.
  2. Create or select a project.
  3. Click Continue to Enable the API.
  4. On the Credentials page, get an API key (and set the API key restrictions).
    Note: If you have an existing unrestricted API key, or a key with browser restrictions, 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 API Console.

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

Types of API key restrictions

Google Maps APIs are available for Android or iOS apps, Web browsers, and via HTTP web services. APIs in any platform can use a generic (unrestricted) API key. You can optionally add a restriction (for example, IP address) to the API key. Once restricted, a key will only work on platforms that support that type of restriction. Learn more about keys and credentials.

Digital signatures, for the standard API

Requests to the Google Static Maps API should include a signature parameter, containing a digital signature which you must generate using a shared URL signing secret. Your shared secret is available on the Google API Console.

Note: If you have enabled pay-as-you-go billing, the digital signature is required. If you exceed the free limit of 25,000 map loads per day, additional map loads are billable for the remainder of that day. Billable map loads that do not include a digital signature will fail. If you use the standard API without enabling pay-as-you-go billing, the digital signature is recommended but optional.

The signing process uses an encryption algorithm to combine the URL and your shared secret. The resulting unique signature allows our servers to verify that any site generating requests using your API key is authorized to do so.

Get your URL signing secret

Your cryptographic URL signing secret is available on the Google API Console. The secret, also known as a private key, is encoded in a modified Base64 for URLs. This secret is shared between you and Google, and is unique to your API key. Please keep your URL signing secret secure. Do not pass it any requests, store it on any websites, or post it to any public forum. Anyone obtaining this URL signing secret could spoof requests using your identity.

You can click this link to go directly to the API Console page containing your URL signing secret. Important: In the project drop-down menu, be sure to select the same project you used when you created the API key for Google Static Maps API.

Alternatively, follow these steps to see your URL signing secret:

  1. Go to the Google API Console.
  2. From the Project drop-down menu, select the same project you used when you created the API key for Google Static Maps API.
  3. From the APIs list on the Dashboard page, click the name of the Google Static Maps API. The API details display, with the Overview tab open.
  4. Click the URL signing secret tab.

To get a new URL signing secret, select Regenerate secret. The previous secret expires 24 hours after you've generated a new one. After the 24 hours have passed, requests containing the old secret no longer work.

Generate a digital signature, for use with API keys

To create a digital signature for your request, follow the steps outlined below.

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 APIs for Work or Maps API for Business license? See our Maps APIs for Work Licenses guide. To determine whether you have a previous license: In the Google Cloud 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 Static Maps 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, a digital signature is also required. 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 Cloud 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 and signature

To authenticate the Static Maps API using an API key, two authentication parameters are required: API key and unique digital signature.

To get an API key, click the button below which guides you through the process.

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 or Google Maps.*

Get a Key

Alternatively, follow these steps to get an API key:

  1. Go to the Google API Console.
  2. From the Project drop-down menu, select the Google Maps Premium project.*
  3. Click Continue.
  4. On the Credentials page, get an API key (and set the API key restrictions).
    Note: If you have an existing unrestricted key, or a key with browser restrictions, 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 or Google Maps. 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 API Console.

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

Digital signatures, when using an API key with the Premium Plan

Requests to the Google Static Maps API that are using a key parameter must also include a signature parameter, containing a digital signature which you must generate using a shared URL signing secret. Your shared secret is available on the Google API Console.

The signing process uses an encryption algorithm to combine the URL and your shared secret. The resulting unique signature allows our servers to verify that any site generating requests using your API key is authorized to do so.

Creating a digital signature is a two-step process:

  1. Get your URL signing secret from the Google API Console
  2. Generate a digital signature using your URL signing secret

Get your URL signing secret (for Premium Plan customers using an API key)

Your cryptographic URL signing secret is available on the Google API Console. The secret, also known as a private key, is encoded in a modified Base64 for URLs. This secret is shared between you and Google, and is unique to your API key. Please keep your URL signing secret secure. Do not pass it any requests, store it on any websites, or post it to any public forum. Anyone obtaining this URL signing secret could spoof requests using your identity.

You can click this link to go directly to the API Console page containing your URL signing secret. Important: In the project drop-down menu, be sure to select the project created for you when you purchased the Premium Plan.*

Alternatively, follow these steps to see your URL signing secret:

  1. Go to the Google API Console.
  2. From the Project drop-down menu, select the Google Maps Premium project.*
  3. From the APIs list on the Dashboard page, click the name of the Google Static Maps API. The API details display, with the Overview tab open.
  4. Click the URL signing secret tab.

To get a new URL signing secret, click Regenerate secret. The previous secret expires 24 hours after you've generated a new one. After the 24 hours have passed, requests containing the old secret no longer work.

* 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 or Google Maps. Important: If you have a previous Maps API for Business license, you must use a client ID, not an API key.

Generate a digital signature, for use with API keys

To create a digital signature for your request, follow the steps outlined below.


Using a client ID and signature

To authenticate the Static Maps 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 before loading the API. The API will fail to load if both a client ID and an API key are included.

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.

    <img src="https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/staticmap
      ?center=-15.800513,-47.91378
      &zoom=11
      &size=300x300
      &client=YOUR_CLIENT_ID
      &signature=SIGNATURE">

If you have lost your client ID or private cryptographic key, you can recover it by logging in to the Google Cloud 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, for Premium Plan customers using a client ID

Requests to the Static Maps API using the client parameter also 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 API Console.

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

Generate a digital signature, for use with client IDs

To create a digital signature for your request, follow the steps outlined below.

Generate a digital signature

Generate a digital signature, for use with API keys

Follow these steps to create a digital signature for your request (to be used in combination with an API key). These instructions apply to the use of the standard API as well as Premium Plan customers authenticating with an API key:

  1. Construct the request URL without the signature, making sure to include your API key in the key parameter. Note that you must URL-encode any non-standard characters. For example:

    https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/staticmap?center=40.714%2c%20-73.998&zoom=12&size=400x400&key=YOUR_API_KEY

    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/staticmap?center=40.714%2c%20-73.998&zoom=12&size=400x400&key=YOUR_API_KEY

  3. Retrieve your URL signing secret, which is encoded in a modified Base64 for URLs, and sign the above URL above using the HMAC-SHA1 algorithm.

    You may need to decode your secret into its original binary format. Note that in most cryptographic libraries, the resulting signature is in binary format.

  4. 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.

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

  6. Add the resulting signature to the request URL within a signature parameter. For example:

    https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/staticmap?center=40.714%2c%20-73.998&zoom=12&size=400x400&key=YOUR_API_KEY&signature=BASE64_SIGNATURE

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.


Generate a digital signature, for use with client IDs

Attempting to access the Static Maps 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/staticmap?center=40.714%2c%20-73.998&zoom=12&size=400x400&client=YOUR_CLIENT_ID

    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/staticmap?center=40.714%2c%20-73.998&zoom=12&size=400x400&client=YOUR_CLIENT_ID

  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/staticmap?center=40.714%2c%20-73.998&zoom=12&size=400x400&client=YOUR_CLIENT_ID&signature=BASE64_SIGNATURE

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.)

#!/usr/bin/python
# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-
""" Signs a URL using a URL signing secret """

import hashlib
import hmac
import base64
import urlparse

def sign_url(input_url=None, secret=None):
  """ Sign a request URL with a URL signing secret.

      Usage:
      from urlsigner import sign_url

      signed_url = sign_url(input_url=my_url, secret=SECRET)

      Args:
      input_url - The URL to sign
      secret    - Your URL signing secret

      Returns:
      The signed request URL
  """

  if not input_url or not secret:
    raise Exception("Both input_url and secret are required")

  url = urlparse.urlparse(input_url)

  # We only need to sign the path+query part of the string
  url_to_sign = url.path + "?" + url.query

  # Decode the private key into its binary format
  # We need to decode the URL-encoded private key
  decoded_key = base64.urlsafe_b64decode(secret)

  # Create a signature using the private key and the URL-encoded
  # string using HMAC SHA1. This signature will be binary.
  signature = hmac.new(decoded_key, url_to_sign, hashlib.sha1)

  # Encode the binary signature into base64 for use within a URL
  encoded_signature = base64.urlsafe_b64encode(signature.digest())

  original_url = url.scheme + "://" + url.netloc + url.path + "?" + url.query

  # Return signed URL
  return original_url + "&signature=" + encoded_signature

if __name__ == "__main__":
  input_url = raw_input("URL to Sign: ")
  secret = raw_input("URL signing secret: ")
  print "Signed URL: " + sign_url(input_url, secret)

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.)

import java.io.IOException;
import java.io.UnsupportedEncodingException;
import java.net.URI;
import java.net.URISyntaxException;
import java.security.InvalidKeyException;
import java.security.NoSuchAlgorithmException;
import java.util.Base64;  // JDK 1.8 only - older versions may need to use Apache Commons or similar.
import javax.crypto.Mac;
import javax.crypto.spec.SecretKeySpec;
import java.net.URL;
import java.io.BufferedReader;
import java.io.InputStreamReader;

public class UrlSigner {

  // Note: Generally, you should store your private key someplace safe
  // and read them into your code

  private static String keyString = "YOUR_PRIVATE_KEY";
  
  // The URL shown in these examples is a static URL which should already
  // be URL-encoded. In practice, you will likely have code
  // which assembles your URL from user or web service input
  // and plugs those values into its parameters.
  private static String urlString = "YOUR_URL_TO_SIGN";

  // This variable stores the binary key, which is computed from the string (Base64) key
  private static byte[] key;
  
  public static void main(String[] args) throws IOException,
    InvalidKeyException, NoSuchAlgorithmException, URISyntaxException {
    
    BufferedReader input = new BufferedReader(new InputStreamReader(System.in));
    
    String inputUrl, inputKey = null;

    // For testing purposes, allow user input for the URL.
    // If no input is entered, use the static URL defined above.    
    System.out.println("Enter the URL (must be URL-encoded) to sign: ");
    inputUrl = input.readLine();
    if (inputUrl.equals("")) {
      inputUrl = urlString;
    }
    
    // Convert the string to a URL so we can parse it
    URL url = new URL(inputUrl);
 
    // For testing purposes, allow user input for the private key.
    // If no input is entered, use the static key defined above.   
    System.out.println("Enter the Private key to sign the URL: ");
    inputKey = input.readLine();
    if (inputKey.equals("")) {
      inputKey = keyString;
    }
    
    UrlSigner signer = new UrlSigner(inputKey);
    String request = signer.signRequest(url.getPath(),url.getQuery());
    
    System.out.println("Signed URL :" + url.getProtocol() + "://" + url.getHost() + request);
  }
  
  public UrlSigner(String keyString) throws IOException {
    // Convert the key from 'web safe' base 64 to binary
    keyString = keyString.replace('-', '+');
    keyString = keyString.replace('_', '/');
    System.out.println("Key: " + keyString);
    // Base64 is JDK 1.8 only - older versions may need to use Apache Commons or similar.
    this.key = Base64.getDecoder().decode(keyString);
  }

  public String signRequest(String path, String query) throws NoSuchAlgorithmException,
    InvalidKeyException, UnsupportedEncodingException, URISyntaxException {
    
    // Retrieve the proper URL components to sign
    String resource = path + '?' + query;
    
    // Get an HMAC-SHA1 signing key from the raw key bytes
    SecretKeySpec sha1Key = new SecretKeySpec(key, "HmacSHA1");

    // Get an HMAC-SHA1 Mac instance and initialize it with the HMAC-SHA1 key
    Mac mac = Mac.getInstance("HmacSHA1");
    mac.init(sha1Key);

    // compute the binary signature for the request
    byte[] sigBytes = mac.doFinal(resource.getBytes());

    // base 64 encode the binary signature
    // Base64 is JDK 1.8 only - older versions may need to use Apache Commons or similar.
    String signature = Base64.getEncoder().encodeToString(sigBytes);
    
    // convert the signature to 'web safe' base 64
    signature = signature.replace('+', '-');
    signature = signature.replace('/', '_');
    
    return resource + "&signature=" + signature;
  }
}

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.)

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Security.Cryptography;
using System.Text;
using System.Text.RegularExpressions;
using System.Web;

namespace SignUrl {

  public struct GoogleSignedUrl {

    public static string Sign(string url, string keyString) {
      ASCIIEncoding encoding = new ASCIIEncoding();

      // converting key to bytes will throw an exception, need to replace '-' and '_' characters first.
      string usablePrivateKey = keyString.Replace("-", "+").Replace("_", "/");
      byte[] privateKeyBytes = Convert.FromBase64String(usablePrivateKey);

      Uri uri = new Uri(url);
      byte[] encodedPathAndQueryBytes = encoding.GetBytes(uri.LocalPath + uri.Query);

      // compute the hash
      HMACSHA1 algorithm = new HMACSHA1(privateKeyBytes);
      byte[] hash = algorithm.ComputeHash(encodedPathAndQueryBytes);

      // convert the bytes to string and make url-safe by replacing '+' and '/' characters
      string signature = Convert.ToBase64String(hash).Replace("+", "-").Replace("/", "_");
            
      // Add the signature to the existing URI.
      return uri.Scheme+"://"+uri.Host+uri.LocalPath + uri.Query +"&signature=" + signature;
    }
  }

  class Program {

    static void Main() {
    
      // Note: Generally, you should store your private key someplace safe
      // and read them into your code

      const string keyString = "YOUR_PRIVATE_KEY";
  
      // The URL shown in these examples is a static URL which should already
      // be URL-encoded. In practice, you will likely have code
      // which assembles your URL from user or web service input
      // and plugs those values into its parameters.
      const  string urlString = "YOUR_URL_TO_SIGN";
      
      string inputUrl = null;
      string inputKey = null;
    
      Console.WriteLine("Enter the URL (must be URL-encoded) to sign: ");
      inputUrl = Console.ReadLine();
      if (inputUrl.Length == 0) {
        inputUrl = urlString;
      }     
    
      Console.WriteLine("Enter the Private key to sign the URL: ");
      inputKey = Console.ReadLine();
      if (inputKey.Length == 0) {
        inputKey = keyString;
      }
      
      Console.WriteLine(GoogleSignedUrl.Sign(inputUrl,inputKey));
    }
  }
}

Troubleshooting authentication issues

If your request is malformed or supplies an invalid signature, the Google Static Maps 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 Cloud 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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