Vishful thinking…

Google Maps API or the VirtualEarth API? From a developer’s viewpoint

Posted in Uncategorized by viswaug on December 16, 2008

I came across an interesting blog post by the Redfin developers about their experience with moving from the VirtualEarth API to the Google Maps API. That got me thinking about my experiences with both the APIs. I am not going to be talking about whose imagery looks better or has a higher resolution here. But, as a developer, I should say that I actually prefer the Google Maps API over the VirtualEarth API. For most cases, both the APIs are really to use and are comparable in their feature sets. But here are something in the Google Maps API that I miss in the VirtualEarth API.

Did I miss anything else either with the Google Maps API or the VirtualEarth API?

7 Responses

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  1. Adam said, on December 16, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    I tend to agree that Google has quite a few more features than Virtual earth, but here are 2 in the other direction:

    Virtual Earth has multipoint routing, Google does not.

    Virtual Earth has the Bird’s Eye View. (Same goal as the street view, entirely different, perhaps inferior, approach)

  2. […] does a great job of listing what he is missing from the Virtual Earth API.  Many ESRI users are exposed to these differences in the ArcGIS […]

  3. Roman N said, on December 16, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    Adam, actually the Google Maps API does have multi-point directions (GDirections.loadFromWaypoints)

  4. Adam said, on December 17, 2008 at 12:59 am

    I stand corrected, thanks for the info.

  5. abhi said, on December 17, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    I agree that Gmap has more features than VE…

    Did you ever test your 10000 lat/long points to overlay …..

    I believe, you would give up on Gmap…. VE is an excellent solution, in terms of showing large datasets ….

    None of the Gmap functions are really super helpful except methods like GXml …..

  6. viswaug said, on December 17, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    Abhi – I don’t believe that VE handles large datasets better than google does. VE may be marginally better but the differene is not considerable at all. And I have found that adding > 200 points to any map canvas makes the map unusable. If do have the need to show large number of points, i either cluster them on the server-side and show only some of them on the client or add them to the map as a tile overlay (the ground overlay can also be used if needed).

    Vish

  7. Pamela Fox said, on December 17, 2008 at 11:07 pm

    FYI-

    Our default marker class (GMarker) is designed so that it works well across-browsers, has hot spot shape, can be draggable, has a shadow, prints well in any browser, etc. It is not optimized for performance.

    Developers who wish to overlay many markers (and not invest in clustering – which I agree increases usability) can create a custom overlay. There’s an example that compares performance here:
    http://gmaps-samples.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/manymarkers/randommarkers.html


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