Amtrak Uses Google Maps to Build Real-time Train Maps

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2013-10-05 Print this article Print

In the future, Amtrak wants to add even more useful information to the interactive train maps, including weather information, tourist attraction details, restaurant and retail shopping ideas, hotel information and more, said Alexander. "Right now, it's focused on the train and that's the most important thing right now. We'll build upon it when we have more information to put out there."

Amtrak is getting the word out about the new service by sharing its presence on Twitter, Facebook, the train company's blog and lots of word-of-mouth discussion, said Alexander. "We're building the foundation. We're laying the groundwork for growing this out."

It took Amtrak developers about three to four months to create the code for the project, after several months of planning and research.

Google is always improving and expanding its Google Maps offerings. In July, Google Maps unveiled a new maps layer for developers so that they can better integrate their data with images in Google Maps. The innovative DynamicMapsEngineLayer gives developers the abilities to perform client-side rendering of vector data, allowing developers to dynamically restyle the vector layer in response to user interactions like hover and click, according to the company. The new maps layer makes it easier for developers to visualize and interact with data hosted in Google Maps Engine.

In June, Google for the first time released its Google Maps Engine API to developers so they can build consumer and business applications that incorporate the features and flexibility of Google Maps. With the Maps API, developers can now use Google's cloud infrastructure to add their data on top of a Google Map and share that custom mash-up with consumers, employees or other users. The API provides direct access to Maps Engine for reading and editing spatial data hosted in the cloud, according to Google.

Google unveiled innovative updates for Google Maps at its annual Google I/O Developers Conference in May, including a more interactive look and feel for Maps. The new Google Maps takes a novel approach to how people use online and mobile maps, gaining the ability to instantly respond to user inputs, making recommendations on places to visit and highlighting information that matters most during a map inquiry. The new generation of the Maps service essentially creates maps that are unique to each user and his or her needs, based on the input from the user.


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