Google announced the launch of two new APIs for organizations who want to build their own location-enabled apps: the Google Maps Tracks API and the Google Maps Geolocation API.
The Google Maps Tracks API lets organizations build apps that can store, display and analyze GPS data on a map. It's built on top of Google's cloud infrastructure, and includes geo-fencing, or a virtual perimeter representing a geographic region.
The Google Maps Geolocation API lets organizations build apps or devices that determine their own location without the use of GPS, by looking up the locations of nearby wifi access points and cell towers. This can save battery life for devices, by limiting GPS usage, and it lets the device work indoors and in remote areas, according to Google.
"The Google Maps Tracks and Geolocation APIs allow an organization to develop customized location-based applications to meet specific business needs," says Google Maps product manager Nabil Naghdy. "The Google Maps Tracks API, for example, can provide a fleet management company with tools for analyzing data from past and present deliveries. By seeing routing information on a familiar Google Map, they can determine which routes can save time and fuel. Using the Google Maps Geolocation API, the fleet management company can equip its vehicles with advanced positioning capabilities. Even in dense city blocks where GPS dropout is common, a dispatcher can still locate its fleet."
"The Google Maps Tracks API allows businesses to take advantage of a technique called geo-fencing, where a company can create a virtual region on a map to notify a device when it enters or exits a predefined area," adds Naghdy. "For example, the same fleet management company could set up notifications that would automatically alert drivers whenever they were 10 miles outside their delivery territory and need to turn around. Automated notifications could reduce dependence on a central dispatcher, allowing the delivery company to use their employees more efficiently."
According to the company, over 800,000 developers use Google Maps APIs already. The new APIs will simply enable them to use rea-time location info.