Google Maps API or the VirtualEarth API? From a developer’s viewpoint
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.
- The TileOverlay feature in Google Maps is present in the form of a custom tile layer in VirtualEarth. The GroundOverlay feature in the Google Maps API is absent in VirtualEarth. Wouldn’t this feature come in handy?
- The Google Maps API exposes their shape drawing and editing API but VirtualEarth doesn’t. This is a BIG one for me. Almost a MUST have. I don’t understand why the shape drawing and editing functionality available in live maps is not exposed in the API. I also love the vertex editing functionality and its usability especially how easy it is to insert a new vertex in a polygon.
- The latitude/longitude encoding feature in the Google Maps API is a nice to have feature and will help save bandwidth. The GPolyline factory method helps create geometry overlays straight from the encoded string. Try out the encoding here.
- The getLength and getArea functions on GPolyline and GPolygon are good enough for most cases where accuracy is not real important.
- Google maps API provides static methods to handle XML documents and fragments (GXml) and methods to apply Xslt to Xml (GXslt). The VirtualEarth API doesn’t contain any such equivalents.
- The geo-coding functionality in Google Maps also has added functionality like
- A useful set of utility libraries for the Google maps API.
- The StreetView is currently only available in google maps
Did I miss anything else either with the Google Maps API or the VirtualEarth API?