Google Maps Reintroduces Multiple Destination Feature

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

The new features are part of a string of improvements that Google is always working on to expand its Google Maps offerings.

Earlier in October, Google and Amtrak unveiled a new service that uses Google Maps to offer Amtrak customers their first-ever real-time, interactive train locator maps for mobile users so they can check train arrival and departure times on the run. So far, the early version of the maps Website is aimed at Android and iPad tablet users because of the larger screens on those devices, but smartphone-based versions are expected in the future.

Amtrak serves some 31 million passengers a year, while running about 300 trains a day across the country to and from some 500 stations. The new maps site lets customers see exactly how the trains are doing on their routes. That's useful information for travelers who are heading to Amtrak stations to catch their trains or for visitors who are picking people up on arriving trains.

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 Maps got a preview of its new look in May at the annual Google I/O Developers Conference, including a more interactive look and feel. 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 next generation of the Maps service essentially will create a map that is unique to each user and his or her needs, based on the input from the user.


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