Example Google Maps JSON File

Michael Wanyoike
Michael Wanyoike
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This article series was rewritten in mid 2017 with up-to-date information and fresh examples.

Google Maps is an online mapping service launched in 2005 by Google. It offers several services which include route planning, satellite imagery, real-time traffic updates and many others. Personally, I use it often to find directions to meeting locations.

In the mobile phone sector, Google Maps has become one of the most popular smartphone apps and was named number one in 2013 according to a survey conducted by GlobalWebIndex. It also has an API that allows developers embed it on their websites.

In this example, I’ll show you how to set up multiple markers on a Google Map. We can use the following JSON format to supply marker information to Google Maps via its API. This data can be stored in a file that can be accessed remotely, or stored in a database which can be retrieved via a local API service.

Markers JSON Data:

{
  "markers": [
    {
      "name": "Rixos The Palm Dubai",
      "position": [25.1212, 55.1535],
    },
    {
      "name": "Shangri-La Hotel",
      "location": [25.2084, 55.2719]
    },
    {
      "name": "Grand Hyatt",
      "location": [25.2285, 55.3273]
    }
  ]
}

If you are implementing a long-term solution, you will need an API key. Once you have that, you can use it in your code like this:

API Key usage:

<script async defer
  src="https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/js?key=YOUR_API_KEY&callback=loadMap">
</script>

For this example, we’ll get away with accessing Google Maps API without a key. Expect to get a warning (in the console) about this. For simplicity sake, I’ll show you the entire working code in a single HTML file.

HTML + JavaScript:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
  <head>
   <title>Dubai Hotels</title>
  </head>

  <body onload = "loadMap()">
    <h2>Dubai Hotels</h2>
    <div id = "map" style = "width:640px; height:480px;"></div>
      <script>

        // fake JSON call
        function getJSONMarkers() {
          const markers = [
            {
              name:  "Rixos The Palm",
              location: [25.1212, 55.1535]
            },
            {
              name: "Shangri-La Hotel",
              location: [25.2084, 55.2719]
            },
            {
              name: "Grand Hyatt",
              location: [25.2285, 55.3273]
            }
          ];
          return markers;
        }

        function loadMap() {
          // Initialize Google Maps
          const mapOptions = {
            center:new google.maps.LatLng(25.2048, 55.2708),
            zoom: 11
          }
          const map = new google.maps.Map(document.getElementById("map"), mapOptions);

          // Load JSON Data
          const hotelMarkers = getJSONMarkers();

          // Initialize Google Markers
          for(hotel of hotelMarkers) {
            let marker = new google.maps.Marker({
              map: map,
              position: new google.maps.LatLng(hotel.location[0], hotel.location[1]),
              title: hotel.name
            })
          }
        }
      </script>
      <script src = "https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/js"></script>
  </body>
</html>

To learn more about the Google Map classes that have been used here, you can check out the reference manuals for the following:

If you dig in the documentation a little bit, you can learn how to add animations and custom icons to you Google Map markers. To learn more, check out the tutorials Working with Geolocation & Google Maps API and Google Maps Made Easy with GMaps.

Here are the other examples in this series:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Google Maps JSON File

What is a Google Maps JSON file and why is it important?

A Google Maps JSON file is a JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) file that is used to store simple data structures and objects in a format that is easy to read and write. It is important because it allows developers to customize the appearance of Google Maps to match the look and feel of their websites or applications. This includes changing the color of roads, landmarks, and water, hiding or showing specific features, and much more.

How can I create a Google Maps JSON file?

Creating a Google Maps JSON file involves writing a series of instructions in JSON format that define how different elements of the map should appear. These instructions are written as key-value pairs, with the key representing the feature to be customized and the value representing the desired appearance. You can use any text editor to create a JSON file, but there are also online tools available that can help you generate the file more easily.

How do I import a JSON file into Google Maps?

To import a JSON file into Google Maps, you need to use the Google Maps JavaScript API. This involves writing a script that loads the JSON file and applies its instructions to a Google Map. The script should be included in the HTML of your webpage, and it should be executed when the page loads.

Can I use a Google Maps JSON file to customize the appearance of a map on my website?

Yes, you can use a Google Maps JSON file to customize the appearance of a map on your website. This is one of the main uses of Google Maps JSON files. By customizing the appearance of the map, you can make it blend seamlessly with the rest of your website, enhancing the overall user experience.

What are some common issues that can occur when working with Google Maps JSON files?

Some common issues that can occur when working with Google Maps JSON files include syntax errors in the JSON file, problems with the Google Maps JavaScript API, and issues with the way the map is displayed on the webpage. These issues can usually be resolved by checking the JSON file for errors, ensuring that the API is being used correctly, and adjusting the CSS of the webpage.

How can I troubleshoot problems with my Google Maps JSON file?

Troubleshooting problems with your Google Maps JSON file can involve several steps. First, check the JSON file for syntax errors. Next, ensure that the Google Maps JavaScript API is being used correctly. If the map is not displaying correctly on the webpage, you may need to adjust the CSS. There are also online tools available that can help you validate your JSON file and identify any errors.

Can I use a Google Maps JSON file to add custom features to a map?

Yes, you can use a Google Maps JSON file to add custom features to a map. This can include adding custom markers, shapes, and overlays, as well as customizing the appearance of existing features. This allows you to create a map that is tailored to your specific needs and preferences.

How can I learn more about working with Google Maps JSON files?

There are many resources available online that can help you learn more about working with Google Maps JSON files. This includes the official Google Maps documentation, online tutorials, and forums where you can ask questions and get help from other developers.

What are some best practices for working with Google Maps JSON files?

Some best practices for working with Google Maps JSON files include keeping the file as simple as possible, validating the file to ensure it is free of errors, and testing the file thoroughly before deploying it. It’s also a good idea to keep a backup of the original file in case you need to revert to it.

Can I use a Google Maps JSON file to create a map for a mobile app?

Yes, you can use a Google Maps JSON file to create a map for a mobile app. The process is similar to creating a map for a website, but there may be some additional considerations to take into account, such as the size and resolution of the map, and the way it interacts with the rest of the app.