Using XML to Hack Google Maps

Google Maps is an online mapping tool that is without a doubt one of the coolest online resources I've ever used. Online map services aren't really new but Google Maps is so unique in its map interface that it is truly a ground breaking application. Google Maps provides both a traditional vector map view along with a satellite photography view and even a hybrid view that overlays vector street information onto the photographic satellite map.

One of the features that makes Google Maps so interesting is the fact that it is customizable via a programming interface that Google has made available to web developers. And as you might be guessing, XML factors heavily into Google Maps and how you go about customizing it. This tutorial introduces you to the inner workings of Google Maps and guides you through a complete XML-based map customization example.

In this tutorial, you'll learn

  • What Google Maps is and why it is so interesting
  • The basics of the Google Maps API and how to obtain an API key to access it
  • How to convert a physical address into geocoordinates for mapping purposes
  • How to create a complete XML-based custom Google Maps application