Admittedly I have completely missed the boat on blogging about the Google Static Maps API which was launched back in February, but I was reminded of them the other day whilst working on a site admin panel.
This is where the static maps prove very useful and are an easy and quick addition to any web page, whether or not you use Google’s static map wizard.
Static maps are displayed as images and are configured by a number of parameters sent as part of the image source in the http request, for example:
To use the static maps you are required to sign up for a Google Maps API key which can be obtained from here, although if you already have a JS API key this can be used.
When it comes to road map views the static maps provide you with many of the features available in the JS version, including but not limited to zoom levels, markers and polyline paths.
One downside I encountered was that static maps does not provide the ability to display satellite or hybrid imagery, or at least as far as I am aware.
There is also a query limit of 1000 unique (different) image requests per viewer per day, but a quick browse at the Google Group for the Maps API highlighted a few posts encouraging people to cache their results.
Since originally posting this, Google have announced the new static map features on the Google Maps API Blog, bringing to our attention the introduction of the new marker styles, paths, map image formats and the ability to translate labels into a number of languages. Read the full post here.