This tutorial took you on a journey through one of the most interesting and compelling tools in the online world, Google Maps. I realize at times I probably sounded like a cheerleader for Google Maps but the reality is that I've personally found it to be incredibly handy for all kinds of different things. Yes, I've used it for common mapping tasks such as helping with driving directions and finding landmarks when traveling, but I've also used it to gain a unique perspective on the world around me. Who would've thought a few years ago that the Web would make it possible to view up-to-date crime statistics on a map of where they occurred? Or what about tracking taxicabs live as they drive through major cities? These are the tip of the iceberg in terms of how an application such as Google Maps can improve our interactions with the world. And thanks to Google opening up its API to developers, you can be a part of it all.

This tutorial not only taught you how Google Maps works from a programming perspective but it also showed you how to take advantage of Google Maps to construct your own unique mapping applications. Granted, creating a Google Maps application requires a mixture of several web development disciplines such as JavaScript and XSLT. Even so, you found out how a solid understanding of XML can go a long way toward helping you roll out your own custom maps.


I tried to open the example condomap.html web page and it won't work. What's the problem?

Google has strict rules about how you use Google Maps, and one of these rules has to do with only hosting maps on servers for which you've obtained an API key. This means that a page can only be hosted from a server associated with the API key in the document. Because the API key in the sample document is one that I obtained to use on a server that I use, it won't work when opened from anywhere else, including from your local hard drive. You'll need to obtain your own API key from Google at http://www.google.com/apis/maps/signup.html, and then host the example map on your own server. I know that's a pain but it's the way Google has it set up.

Can I use another online mapping service such as MapQuest to create custom maps?

Yes, but MapQuest appears to only make its programming interface available to businesses that are interested in partnering with MapQuest. At least for now, Google Maps is much friendlier to the hobbyist and small-time web developer who want to experiment with creating custom mapping applications. For this reason alone Google Maps is a better option than MapQuest for creating XML-based mapping applications. That Google Maps is a more interesting technology outside of custom maps is just icing on the cake.

Can I use Google Maps to beat a speeding ticket in court?

Absolutely! I recently read a story about a guy who was pulled over for running a red light. In court, the policeman explained how the driver ran the red light while turning onto a one-way street. The driver countered by explaining that the only reason he ran the light was because of a rapidly approaching oncoming vehicle that he had to wait on before continuing through the intersection. The judge challenged the driver's assertion that the street was a two-way street. Thanks to a notebook computer and a sketchy Wi-Fi connection, the driver quickly launched Google Maps in the courtroom and zoomed in on the intersection in question. Indeed, Google Maps revealed a two-way street, confirming the driver's assertion. Google Maps 1, Police 0.

Is the moon really made of cheese?

Visit http://moon.google.com/ and find out for yourselfmake sure you zoom in on the map.