Google Maps Static Image API


Small, but relevant news this morning (and I’m not talking about that second Asus Eee PC I’ve seen in the wild on the Subway today – but that’s pretty cool too): Read on my feeds that Google has released the Static Maps API last week. It’s a very simple API that delivers a statically rendered Google Map (complete with differently colored markers if you want them) as an image file in response to an HTTP request.

What’s so great about it? Well, it’s an easy way to integrate map images in any environment that does not speak JavaScript. Like, let’s say a J2ME application on a GPS-enabled phone, a Symbian application on a GPS-enabled phone, a .NET Compact application on a GPS-enabled device,…

Yahoo has had their Yahoo Map Image API for years (erm… for more than one year at least) and I used it extensively for work and play. About time Google provided the same service! Nice: as an acceptable excuse (I guess) for their delay they provided a “mobile” option in their API which contains larger features and text fonts for easier reading on small screens.

5 Responses to “Google Maps Static Image API”

  1. 1 Venkat R. prasad

    Hi, Simon,

    This is really informative. Can you plz explain how the static Google Map be integrated in a .Net Compact API on a Windows Mobile 6 device…

    Thanks in advance,
    Venkat Renuka Prasad.

  2. Hi!

    I haven’t done too much work in .NET CF, but it’s pretty straight-forward. All you need to know is how to handle elementary bitmap graphic drawing (for displaying the image on the screen) and HTTP networking (for loading the map image).

    Just search the Web for code samples on how to use the System.Drawing assembly and the HttpWebRequest in the System.Net namespace. This should get you started!

  3. 3 Kevin Wenrick


    I’m doing some research on Google map/earth static images. The static maps get me closer to what I need but I’m really looking for a static satellite view and possibly even static street view image capability.

    Have you heard of anything like this on the horizon (or available now)?
    Thank you,

  4. Hi Kevin!

    Haven’t heard about static streetview images yet. But the Google API definitely has static satellite, terrain and hybrid imagery as well:

    There’s now also a service for static maps from OpenStreetMap BTW:


  5. 5 Kevin Wenrick

    Thanks Ranier, I appreciate the feedback and your link references show exactly what I am looking for. You’ve given me a great headstart on my research.


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