The buzz of all things Google continues at the Google I/O conference, meaning there are some announcements that may trigger the interest of Google Maps API users.
Unlike the image icons currently used for marking locations on a map, a Symbol is defined as a vector shape. The size, stroke width, color, and opacity of the shape, are all set by the Maps API application and can be dynamically modified. A small number of shapes, such as a circle, are provided by the Maps API, and custom shapes can be expressed as an SVG path.
Below's an example of Symbols at work, this one illustrating how Walmart slowly colonized the southern United States in its early stages of retail domination.
If you want to indicate any kind of directional flow on a map, Symbols can also be used to spruce up polylines on a map:
Finally, if the symbol method isn't how you'd like to represent your data on a Google Map, developers now have the option of representing data as a heatmap. Using the same data about Walmart's conquest of the United States retail landscape, below you can see the information represented differently with the heatmap:
The full Google Maps presentation at Google I/O can be watched below:
Concerning the lead image of the article, that was an example that Google Maps VP Brian McClendon used to explain how Google confirms users' additions from Google Mapmaker and how, sometimes, the Google Powers That Be can't really fix everything that people submit.
Perhaps, in other words, some things are better left "unfixed." But any rate, just for the sake of being clear, there is not a Google Maps layer to show you where to find the nearest marijuana farms.