Google Maps is making it easier for businesses to use online maps to attract customers and new revenue through its new Google Maps Engine Pro capabilities, which are accompanied by a related slew of Google Maps Engine updates.
The new capabilities and features were unveiled by Brian McClendon of the Google Maps team in an Oct. 21 post on the Google Lat Long Blog.
"Maps are a part of our daily lives—from finding the best local Italian restaurant to planning a trip abroad," wrote McClendon. "Maps are also a valuable tool in the workplace. Businesses use maps to help customers easily find their store locations or help travelers get to their final destination."
With that in mind, Google's new professional mapping tool, Google Maps Engine Pro, will let businesses visualize their huge amounts of critical data on maps so they can take advantage of the new resources the data provides, wrote McClendon. "By importing data like addresses, names, office locations and sales leads from various file formats onto a map, businesses can edit, analyze and share their information in a simple format. Google Maps Engine Pro can be as easy to use as creating a document and it gives businesses an added productivity tool to help make decisions, organize information, and plan operations using Google Maps."
By using data on Google Maps, businesses will be able to "visualize it on a map and share it across multiple devices," he wrote.
"Google Maps Engine Pro was built as an application on top of the Google Maps Engine platform, which provides businesses with cloud based technology to help them organize large datasets and create more complex maps," wrote McClendon.
As part of the new offering, the Google Maps Engine is also receiving several new features, including a new mobile app that allows individuals to access their maps created in Google Maps Engine, Maps Engine Pro and Maps Engine Lite, he wrote. That shared information can then be accessed by users anywhere from any Android device.
Also being offered are new connector tools that make it easier for users to migrate data from legacy systems, such as SAP, into Google Maps Engine, wrote McClendon. The new connector tool is available as a free downloaded, which also includes more than 300 business and geospatial applications. The Maps Engine also now features an ESRI Toolbar that lets users transfer ArcGIS maps directly into Maps Engine.
Google is now offering free introductory accounts to give businesses the opportunity to test out Google Maps Engine for their operations, according to McClendon. "The free account supports the product's full platform capabilities, including API access, but limits the number of map queries per day."
Earlier in October, Google Maps reintroduced the multiple destinations feature that was removed from the service after the Maps platform was updated earlier this summer. The multiple destinations capability that was in earlier versions of Google Maps allowed users to plan a trip from point A to point B, then add a point C in as well, making it a fabulous tool for planning a trip to a string of destinations. It helped users plan distances, routes and stops along the way, and its disappearance from the reworked Google Maps earlier this summer was panned by many users on Google+ comment pages.
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.