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FAQ

Getting Started

Understanding the Terms of Service

Usage limits

Using the Google Maps APIs

Google Maps API Services

Getting Started

What are the Google Maps APIs?

The Google Maps APIs give developers several ways of embedding Google Maps into web pages, and allows for either simple use or extensive customization. There are now several API offerings:

Depending on your needs, you may find yourself using one or a combination of these APIs.

If you operate an enterprise or commercial website, you may also be interested in Google Maps API for Work.

Which API do I need?

For help in finding the right API based on your functional requirements, take a look at the API picker.

What countries do the Google Maps APIs cover?

The Google Maps team is constantly pushing new map data out and increasing our international coverage. Consult the Google Maps coverage data for the latest coverage information. You can filter the data with the filter box at the top of the page. Please note that coverage data can change if licensing agreements with the data providers change.

Also see:

Can I put Google Maps on my site without using the Google Maps APIs?

Yes. Google Maps now offers the ability to embed the map that you're viewing into your website or blog, without any programming or use of the Google Maps APIs. More information is available here.

How do I deliver Maps applications on mobile devices?

The Google Maps JavaScript API v3 has been developed to cater to mobile devices, and is suitable for browser applications targeted at both the desktop and devices that include a web browser with a full JavaScript implementation, such as the Apple iPhone.

For applications targeted at devices not suitable for using the JavaScript API, the Static Maps API delivers map images in GIF, JPG, and PNG formats, including markers and polylines. Note that use of the Static Maps API outside of browser based applications requires that the map image be linked to Google Maps.

To incorporate maps in an Android application, use the Android Maps External Library.

To incorporate Maps in a native iOS application, use the Google Maps SDK for iOS.

Which web browsers does the Google Maps JavaScript API support?

The Google Maps JavaScript API v3 supports the following web browsers:

  • For desktop:
    • Internet Explorer 8–11 inclusive (Windows)
    • The current and previous version of Firefox (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux)
    • The current and previous version of Chrome (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux)
    • The current and previous version of Safari (Mac OS X)
  • For Android:
    • Current version of Chrome on Android 4.1+
    • Chrome WebView on Android 4.4+
  • For iOS:
    • Mobile Safari on the current and previous major version of iOS
    • UIWebView on the current and previous major version of iOS
    • Current version of Chrome for iOS

Internet Explorer's Compatibility View is not supported.

How do I start using the Google Maps API on my site?

See the Maps Javascript API documentation for examples and details.

How can I be notified when there are changes in the Google Maps APIs?

You should subscribe to the Google Geo Developers Blog for news updates across the various Google Geo developer offerings.

Each API also has a notification group, that lets you know about changes that may affect your applications, such as new releases. These groups are all listed on the Google Maps API Support page.

Understanding the Terms of Service

What are the Terms of Service for the Google Maps API?

The Terms of Service for the Google Maps API are available at:

https://developers.google.com/maps/terms

If you are a Google Maps API for Work customer, please refer to your agreement for the terms that govern your use of the Google Maps APIs.

Does my site meet the Terms of Service for the Google Maps API?

The Maps API is available for all sites that are accessible to consumers without charge. You can use the Google Maps APIs on both commercial and non-profit websites as long as your site meets the Terms of Service.

However, there are some uses of the Google Maps APIs that we just don't want to see: maps that identify the places to buy illegal drugs in a city, for instance, or any other illegal activity. We also respect people's privacy, so the Google Maps APIs shouldn't be used to identify private information about individuals.

You should use your own counsel to determine whether your application complies with the Terms of Service before you develop and launch it. Google engineers can only offer technical assistance and are not qualified to offer legal advice. Google reserves the right to suspend or terminate your use of the service at any time, so please read the Terms of Service carefully.

If you operate an enterprise or commercial website, you may also be interested in Google Maps API for Work which has modified Terms of Service that may better suit your needs.

Can I access the Maps and Satellite images directly?

You may not access the maps or satellite images through any mechanism besides the Google Maps APIs (such as the creation of your own mapping API or the use of a bulk tile download script). Your application's access to the tiles will be blocked if it accesses them outside of the Google Maps APIs. See section 10.1.1.a of the Google Maps Terms of Service for more details.

Can I use the Google Maps API on a commercial website?

As long as your site is generally accessible to consumers without charge, you may use the Google Maps API. For example, if your website is supported by advertising, it likely falls within the Google Maps API Terms of Service. If you charge people to place information on your map (e.g. to list their homes for sale), but you display this information using the Google Maps API on a free part of your site, you'll also meet the Google Maps API Terms of Service.

However, not all commercial uses are allowed. For example, if your site meets any of the following criteria you must purchase the appropriate Google Maps API for Work license:

  • Your site is only available to paying customers.
  • Your site is only accessible within your company or on your intranet.
  • Your application relates to enterprise dispatch, fleet management, business asset tracking, or similar applications.

Remember, Google reserves the right to suspend or terminate your use of the Google Maps API at any time, so please ensure that you read the Terms of Service carefully.

Can I use the Google Maps APIs for tracking applications?

There is no restriction on displaying real-time data (tracking) with the Google Maps APIs provided that the application is publicly available without charge and otherwise complies with the Terms of Service. For internal-only applications, Google Maps API for Work must be used. See Section 10.9 of the Terms of Service for more information.

Can I use Google Maps in my non-Web application?

Yes, the Google Maps APIs can now be used in Desktop applications, provided that they adhere to the other restrictions of the Terms of Service. Note that in order for a desktop application to be deemed "publicly accessible", there must be a publicly accessible webpage from which it can be downloaded. See Section 9.1 of the Terms of Service for more information.

The Google Maps JavaScript API is only supported when run in one of the supported browsers.

Can I use the Google Maps APIs on a site that is password protected?

Yes, you can, though you should consult the Terms of Service before using the Google Maps APIs on a password protected website. If consumers can easily sign up for a password without charge or if the purpose of the password protected map is to enhance the publicly available map (ie. administration), then your site is likely within the Terms of Service. If this is not the case, you will need to use Google Maps API for Work.

Can I use screen shots of a Google Maps API application in printed materials or offline media?

Use of Google Maps imagery in printed materials and offline media is subject to the Permission Guidelines published at:

http://www.google.com/permissions/geoguidelines.html

How can I opt out of including my content in Google search results?

We are no longer collecting this data. The use of the indexing parameter has been deprecated and has no effect. You no longer need to opt out explicitly, but we encourage you to remove this parameter at your earliest convenience.

To remove your page or site from search results, follow the instructions provided in our webmaster help center.

What information is sent to Google when I use the JavaScript Maps API?

When using the JavaScript Maps API, the following information is sent to Google:

  • Map size and location for retrieving map tiles and copyrights
  • Addresses for geocoding
  • Direction and Elevation requests
  • Locations around which to search for Places
  • KML when using KmlLayer
Can I generate a map image using the Google Static Maps API which I store and serve from my website?

You may not store and serve copies of images generated using the Google Static Maps API from your website. All web pages that require static map images must link the src attribute of an HTML img tag or the CSS background-image attribute of an HTML div tag directly to the Google Static Maps API so that all map images are displayed within the HTML content of the web page and served directly to end users by Google.

Usage limits

What usage limits apply to the Maps API?

Most websites and applications may use the Google Maps API free of charge. However, if you consistently generate a high amount of traffic, usage limits apply and you will need to pay for extra usage. If your site or application generates 25 000 map loads or more each day, for more than 90 consecutive days, we’ll attempt to get in touch with you to talk about payment. Don’t worry, if you go over the limits, we won't immediately shut off your API access or display error messages on your site.

If you think your website or application will generate high map loads consistently in the long term, you should consider one of the following options:

Note: Applications deemed in the public interest (as determined by Google at its discretion) are not subject to these usage limits. For example, a disaster relief map is not subject to the usage limits even if it has been developed and/or is hosted by a commercial entity. In addition, qualifying nonprofit organizations who demonstrate a need for increased geocoding limits or internal usage of the Google Maps API may apply for a Google Maps API for Work license through the Google Earth Outreach grants program.

Please refer to specific questions for a precise definition of what constitutes a 'map load' and for details on pricing.

Which Maps API services are affected by the usage limits?

The Maps API usage limits apply only to the following Maps API services:

The Google Earth API, and native Maps APIs for mobile platforms such as Android and iOS are not affected. Use of the embed feature of Google Maps, and other Google products that offer an embed feature that includes a map, are not affected by these limits.

My site gets a lot of traffic. Can I use the Maps API?

Yes. However we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the Maps API usage limits and the daily limits for any of the Google Maps API Web Services that your application relies on.

You can greatly reduce the risk of being affected by the web service limits by using the relevant JavaScript class for the service concerned where appropriate. For more information, see the article on Geocoding Strategies.

What constitutes a 'map load' in the context of the usage limits that apply to the Maps API?

A single map load occurs when:

  1. a map is displayed using the Maps JavaScript API v3 when loaded by a web page or application;
  2. a Street View panorama is displayed using the Maps JavaScript API v3 by a web page or application that has not also displayed a map;
  3. a single request is made for a map image from the Static Maps API; or
  4. a single request is made for a panorama image from the Street View Image API.

The degree to which a user interacts with a map once it has been loaded has no impact on the usage limits. Note that the display of a Street View panorama using the JavaScript Maps API v3 by an application that has already displayed a Map using the Maps API on the same page does not incur an additional map load.

Google Maps API for Work applications are limited by page views, which are slightly different than map loads. Please refer to the Google Maps API for Work FAQ for more information.

No. Your maps will continue to function. In order to accommodate sites that experience short term spikes in usage (eg. a news gathering organisation or a site that briefly goes viral), the usage limits will only apply to a site once that site has exceeded the usage limits for 90 consecutive days.

How will excess usage by a site be calculated and billed?

Excess usage over the usage limit for each Maps API service is calculated at the end of each day. If your site generates excess usage every day for 90 consecutive days we will notify you that you need to respond in one of the following ways:

  • Modify your Maps API application such that the number of map loads generated per day is below the usage limit for each Maps API service that your application uses;
  • Enroll for automated billing of excess map loads in the Google Developers Console; or
  • Purchase a Google Maps API for Work license

If you chose to enable billing you will need to provide your credit card details. Your excess usage will continue to be calculated at the end of each day, and the total charged to the credit card provided at the end of every month, priced as given below.

How much will excess map loads purchased online cost?

Applications generating map load volumes below the usage limits can use the Maps API at no cost providing the application meets the requirements of the Google Maps API Terms of Service.

If your use of a Maps API service exceeds the usage limits for 90 consecutive days, and you choose to purchase excess map loads online using the Google APIs Console, your excess usage will be charged at the rates shown below for the service concerned. Note that if your site consistently generates a high volume of map loads per day a Google Maps API for Work license may be more cost effective and we recommend that you contact the Google Maps API for Work Sales team for more information.

Service Usage limit
(per day)
1000 excess map loads
(in U.S. dollars)
JavaScript Maps API v3 25 000 $0.50
Static Maps API 25 000 $0.50
Street View Image API 25 000 $0.50

Note that the purchase of excess map loads online does not confer any additional rights or benefits other than the right to continue using the Maps API under the existing Terms of Service.

Is pricing available in other currencies?

Pricing is currently only available in U.S. dollars.

How do I avoid a large bill if my usage unexpectedly increases?

The Maps API usage limits do not take effect until a site has exceeded the limits for 90 consecutive days. If your site has met this requirement and you are purchasing excess map loads online, the Google APIs Console allows a cap on usage to be set on a project to protect against unexpected increases in use after billing has begun. See the Google APIs Console Help for more details.

Can I use more than one API key to increase my available usage over the documented limits?

Google reserves the right to withhold access to the Maps API from any site that attempts to use more than the permitted number of map loads of the Maps API without permission, and fails to respond when contacted by Google.

Is there a limit to the number of geocode requests I can submit?

The documentation for the Maps API Geocoding Web Service documents the Usage Limits that apply to the service. For more detailed information, including recommendations on how to reduce the risk of being affected by these limits, please see the article on Geocoding Strategies.

Using the Google Maps APIs

What keys or identifiers should I use for different Maps products?

The Maps family of APIs uses various identifiers that must be passed when loading or using certain products. The identifier to use varies by product.

  • An API key is obtained from the Google Developers Console. Google Maps API for Work users must make sure to select the project that was generated for them upon signup. This project will include the word Business or Work in the name.
  • A client ID is given to you when you sign up as a Google Maps API for Work customer.
  • A digital signature is used only by Google Maps API for Work customers. It must be generated using a cryptographic key provided to you by Google. For more information, please read the Google Maps API for Work Web Services document.

The tables below indicate which key should be used with each Maps product.

Google Maps API
API Console Key No Key
Example &key=AIzaSyBjsI
NSH5x39Ks6c0_Co
S1yr1Mb3cB3cVo
Javascript API v3 ✔ (recommended)
Earth API ✔
Static Maps API v2 ✔ (recommended)
Street View Image API ✔ (recommended)
Geocoding API v3 ✔ (recommended) ✔
Geolocation ✔
Time Zone ✔ (recommended) ✔
Directions API ✔ (recommended) ✔
Elevation API ✔ (recommended) ✔
Distance Matrix API ✔ (recommended) ✔
Roads API ✔
Places API ✔

Google Maps API for Work
Client ID API Console Key (Business project) Digital Signature
Example &client=
gme-companyname
&key=AIzaSyBjsI
NSH5x39Ks6c0_Co
S1yr1Mb3cB3cVo
Javascript API v3 ✔
Earth API ✔
Static Maps API v2 ✔ ✔
Street View Image API ✔ ✔
Geocoding API v3 ✔ ✔
Geolocation ✔
Time Zone ✔ ✔
Directions API ✔ ✔
Elevation API ✔ ✔
Distance Matrix API ✔ ✔
Roads API ✔
Places API ✔
How can I find out the changes introduced in each version of the Google Maps APIs?

We maintain a list of changes between JavaScript Maps API v3 versions at:

http://code.google.com/p/gmaps-api-issues/wiki/JavascriptMapsAPIv3Changelog

You can also check which version of the Google Maps API a particular bug was introduced and fixed in using the Google Maps API Issue Tracker at:

http://code.google.com/p/gmaps-api-issues/issues/list

How can I load the API into a page asynchronously after the page has loaded?

Just specify the callback parameter when loading the API. More information and sample code can be found in the Getting Started chapter of the Maps API documentation.

How can I get the Google Maps APIs to display in a language other than English?

By default the API will attempt to load the most appropriate language based on the users location or browser settings. Some APIs allow you to explicitely set a language when you make a request. More information on how to set the language is available in the documentation for each API:

Supported Languages
Language Code Language Language Code Language
ar Arabic kn Kannada
bg Bulgarian ko Korean
bn Bengali lt Lithuanian
ca Catalan lv Latvian
cs Czech ml Malayalam
da Danish mr Marathi
de German nl Dutch
el Greek no Norwegian
en English pl Polish
en-AU English (Australian) pt Portuguese
en-GB English (Great Britain) pt-BR Portuguese (Brazil)
es Spanish pt-PT Portuguese (Portugal)
eu Basque ro Romanian
eu Basque ru Russian
fa Farsi sk Slovak
fi Finnish sl Slovenian
fil Filipino sr Serbian
fr French sv Swedish
gl Galician ta Tamil
gu Gujarati te Telugu
hi Hindi th Thai
hr Croatian tl Tagalog
hu Hungarian tr Turkish
id Indonesian uk Ukrainian
it Italian vi Vietnamese
iw Hebrew zh-CN Chinese (Simplified)
ja Japanese zh-TW Chinese (Traditional)

You can see what the map will look like in your language in this sample application.

Can the Google Maps APIs be accessed over SSL (HTTPS)?

The Google Maps JavaScript API v3, Google Static Maps API, and Google Maps API Web Services can be accessed over secure (HTTPS) connections by developers using either the free version of these APIs or Google Maps API for Work. Please see the documentation for the API concerned for information on how to access the API over SSL.

How do I report a bug or request a new feature in the Google Maps APIs?

If you experience behavior that you believe may be a bug, please begin by raising it in the relevant forum. This will allow other developers to validate the bug, and rule out any potential issues with your code.

If you wish to request a feature, please also first raise it in the relevant forum to confirm that a solution that meets your requirements is not already available.

Once you have confirmed that you have identified a new bug, or that your requirements can not be met by the existing functionality of the Google Maps APIs, please report your bug or feature request using the Google Maps API Issue Tracker.

Before adding a bug or feature request to the Issue Tracker please be sure to check that the bug or feature concerned has not already been added. If it has, you can star the issue to register your interest and be notified of updates.

What does this error mean?

If you encounter an error while loading the Google Maps JavaScript v3 API, please see Error Messages to find explanations for the error codes.

I have a different question/problem. Who should I contact?

Google's Developer Relations team maintains a presence on Stack Overflow — a collaboratively-edited question and answer site for programmers. It's a great place to ask technical questions about developing and maintaining Google Maps applications. More information about asking questions on Stack Overflow is available on the Support page.

For best results when requesting help, please keep the following in mind:

  • Search the current discussions. Chances are someone else has experienced a similar issue and found a fix.
  • Submit a link to your site if possible. Only post code snippets if the code is not easily viewable online.
  • Provide all relevant information including browser versions, errors, and all other facts that may be useful in troubleshooting this problem.

Google Maps API for Work customers may also contact Google for Work Support.

Google Maps API Services

I need to convert addresses to latitude/longitude pairs. Can I do that with the Google Maps APIs?

Yes, this process is called "geocoding." each of the Google Maps APIs includes a class for performing geocoding. The classes are:

Alternatively Google also provides a Geocoding Web Service, which offers a REST interface that can respond in JSON and XML formats.

Please be aware of the usage limits that apply to geocoder requests, and note that use of the geocoder for any purpose other than obtaining locations that will be displayed using the Google Maps APIs is a violation of the Terms of Service. You may use the HTTP geocoder to geocode addresses outside of your Google Maps API application so that they may be cached and later displayed using one of the Google Maps APIs, but locations obtained using the Geocoding Web Service may not be used by any other application, distributed by other means, or resold.

What countries is geocoding available in?

To see countries currently supported by the Google Maps APIs geocoders, please consult the Google Maps coverage data.

The accuracy of geocoded locations may vary per country, so you should consider using the returned location_type field to determine if a good enough match has been found for the purposes of your application. Please note that the availability of geocoding data depends on our contacts with data providers, so it is subject to change.

For geocoding in countries not currently supported by the Google Maps APIs, please browse this list of other geocoding services.

Why do the Google Maps APIs Geocoders provide different locations than Google Maps?

The API geocoder and Google Maps geocoder sometimes use different data sets (depending on the country). The API geocoder occasionally gets updated with new data, so you can expect to see results changing or improving over time.

How should I format my geocoder queries to maximise the number of successful requests?

The geocoder is designed to map street addresses to geographical coordinates. We therefore recommend that you format geocoder requests in accordance with the following guidelines to maximise the likelihood of a successful query:

  • Specify addresses in accordance with the format used by the national postal service of the country concerned.
  • Do not specify additional address elements such as business names, unit numbers, floor numbers, or suite numbers that are not included in the address as defined by the postal service of the country concerned.
  • Use the street number of a premise in preference to the building name where possible.
  • Use street number addressing in preference to specifying cross streets where possible.
  • Do not provide 'hints' such as nearby landmarks.

How should I format a U.S. address on a numbered highway for geocoding?

The Google Maps APIs geocoder requires that U.S. numbered highways be specified in addresses as follows:

  • County Roads: "Co Road NNN" where NNN is the road number. eg. "Co Road 82"
  • State Highways: "State NNN" where State is the full name of the state and NNN is the highway number. eg. "California 82"
  • U.S. Highways: "U.S. NNN" where NNN is the highway number. eg. "U.S. 101"
  • U.S. Interstates: "Interstate NNN" where NNN is the interstate number. eg. "Interstate 280"

When should I use an API geocoder class and when should I use the HTTP Geocoding Service?

See the article: Geocoding Strategies, which details the pros and cons of different geocoding strategies.

How do I provide driving directions with the Google Maps APIs?

The Google Maps Javascript API allows you to provide driving directions via the google.maps.DirectionsService class. This class provides you with step-by-step access to basic and multi-point driving directions. The DirectionsRenderer class can automatically create the overlays and directions panel for you. Additional examples are provided in the documentation.

You can also easily link to Google Maps for driving directions. We suggest you use the following format for driving directions on Google Maps:

http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr={start_address}&daddr={destination_address}

What countries is driving directions available in?

To see countries currently supported by Driving Directions in the Maps API, consult the Google Maps coverage data. Please note that the availability of driving directions data depends on our contacts with data providers, and is subject to change.

In which countries are transit directions available?

The Google Maps Directions Service supports all of the transit providers listed in the Transit Coverage List, except for those in Japan.

What features of KML & GeoRSS are supported in the Google Maps Javascript API?

The KmlLayer class in the Javascript API enables developers to overlay KML/KMZ and GeoRSS files on top of the map. Examples are here.

The KML features currently supported by the KmlLayer class are documented at:

https://developers.google.com/kml/documentation/mapsSupport

What are the limits on the size and complexity of KML that can be displayed using the KmlLayer class of the Google Maps Javascript API?

The size and complexity limits on the display of KML using the KmlLayer class are documented at:

https://developers.google.com/kml/documentation/mapsSupport

What is the maximum number of markers or path vertices supported by the Google Static Maps API?

There is no limit to the number of markers or path vertices supported by the Google Static Maps API. When using custom icons, up to five unique icons can be specified per request, but each can be used multiple times within the map.

Note that Static Maps API URLs can contain a maximum of approximately 2,000 characters which constrains the number of markers and path vertices that can be specified based on the number of decimal places used when specifying each latitude/longitude pair. For information on how the number of decimal places used relates to the accuracy on the Earth see the Wikipedia article on Decimal Degrees.

Why can't I access Google Maps APIs from China?

The Google Maps APIs are served within China from the domain maps.google.cn. This domain does not support https. When making requests to the Google Maps APIs from China, please replace https://maps.googleapis.com with http://maps.google.cn.

For example:

https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/geocode/json?address=1600+Amphitheatre+Parkway,+Mountain+View,+CA

would become:

http://maps.google.cn/maps/api/geocode/json?address=1600+Amphitheatre+Parkway,+Mountain+View,+CA

The Google Maps JavaScript API can be loaded with the following bootstrap:

<script src="http://maps.google.cn/maps/api/js?key=API_KEY"
type="text/javascript">
</script>

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