Google Maps

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Google Maps
Google Maps Logo.svg
description Spatial data management
Registration Google account optional (for additional functions)
languages German and others
owner Google LLC
Published February 8, 2005
programming language C ++ (back end), JavaScript , XML , Ajax

Google Maps is an online map service from the US company Google LLC . The earth's surface can be viewed as a road map or as an aerial or satellite image , with the locations of institutions or known objects also being displayed.


On February 8, 2005, Google Maps was launched as a desktop version in the USA . In April 2006, Google made high-resolution images available for most of Germany. Shortly afterwards, the German web service went into operation. It was in beta until September 2007 . Locations were added to the high-resolution image inventory approximately every two months, and approximately every four months since the end of December 2007.

The Maps service has been personalized since April 2007. Maps can now be saved and released. You can easily create your own overlays. The "My location" function determines your own location.

On September 28, 2007, Google Maps appears as a mobile version for ( Android ).

In October 2009 the navigation was integrated. This made Google Maps a full-fledged navigation system .

With the help of the German Bicycle Club (ADFC), Google Maps received extensive bicycle route data in May 2013.

In 2015, the user interface received widgets , full-screen mode and better route guidance. This allows you to visually compare the modes of transport motor vehicle , footpath , bicycle , train and plane , for example in order to choose the variant with the fewest changes. If you use a Google account , the card is personalized and z. B. Calendar entries from Google Calendar are displayed. There is also an offline mode for Google Maps.

Since March 2017, Google Maps has been offering real-time information about your own location (i.e. your mobile phone). You can specify whether, when and which friends can follow the location live on the map. GPS as well as the reception strength of cell phone masts and of WLAN and Bluetooth networks are used for mobile phone location . In autumn 2019, this led to an erroneous traffic jam report for cars on a street in Berlin because two Berliners carried 99 switched-on smartphones in a handcart.

The map display was changed in August 2018. The earth is shown as a globe if you zoom out far enough. This represents size relations on earth more realistically. For the time being, this is limited to the desktop version of Maps available in the web browser .

In August 2019, the app version of Google Maps introduced the augmented reality mode Live View (named after the live view camera technology ) and some functions were taken over from the Google Trips app, which was no longer developed at the same time , such as: B. suggesting excursion destinations or restaurants.


You can choose between a map display, a satellite image and a view in which streets, paths and border lines are sketchily drawn in the satellite image and labels are taken from the map. Navigation elements and a zoom function make it possible to move around on map or image sections without a search term.


The map service contains a navigation function that calculates routes using various means of transport. For car journeys, real-time traffic data on traffic jams is taken into account and displayed in red. Google does not receive traffic jam and accident reports via radio signals, but rather through crowdsourcing : Location information from driving Google users is processed immediately in order to identify traffic jams and slow traffic.

Mobile apps

Google Maps can also be used on mobile phones . Google Maps is preinstalled on many mobile devices. An app is available for iOS and Android .

Since October 27, 2007, your own location has been determined without GPS using GSM radio cell queries. Google calls this function My Location .

When Apple no longer delivered Google Maps preinstalled (with iOS 6), many users reacted horrified, as Apple's own map app was not rated positively by either users or the specialist press. Since December 13, 2012, Google Maps for iOS has been available again for free in the Apple App Store . However, Apple is still considering the delivery of its own maps service. With Google Transit, Google Maps also provides connections with public transport and with Google Street View views of streets in the app. The appearance of the app differs from other iOS software and is similar to Google Maps for Android. The app quickly became one of the most popular on the App Store.

Since September 2018, Google Maps has also been available for Apple CarPlay .

Satellite images

Depending on the region, Google Maps offers up to 21 zoom levels, each of which offers different content. Many street names are only visible at high levels, while main roads or highways are visible beforehand and are labeled from a certain level. For larger cities, a resolution is achieved in which individual people or details of cars can be recognized. Polar regions from 85.05113 ° latitude are not available. Since August 2018, Google Maps' database no longer shows the images with the criticized Mercator projection , which depicts areas near the equator smaller than areas near the poles , but rather on a round globe.


If you search for an industry or a search term with regional reference (e.g. "Restaurants in Berlin" ) in the input field on Google - this can be a zip code, a district, a city, region or a state - the search engine checks whether regional hits are displayed by Google Maps next to the organic search hits. Google Maps adds the content of local companies or branches to the organic search, while websites are listed in the organic search. A commercial entry on Google Maps is therefore also possible without your own homepage.

Street View

Google Street View is a supplementary service to Google's map service “Google Maps” and the geoprogram “Google Earth” that was introduced in 2007. Views are shown in 360 ° panoramic images from a street perspective. In contrast to many countries, Street View in Germany only shows large cities due to data protection concerns.

Maps 3D

With Maps 3D, Google calculates realistic and detailed 3D images from aerial images. In contrast to Street View , there are no data protection objections here. Maps 3D is currently only available in the desktop version of Google Maps and in the mobile application Google Earth.

Maps indoor

Since 2011, Google has been providing its map service with information about certain buildings so that they can also be navigated through. As soon as the zoom factor of a building has reached a certain threshold, a view of all corridors and rooms appears automatically. Google Maps Indoor is available in selected countries and buildings. Germany has been part of it since December 2012, and the German Museum in Munich was available at the start.

Google transit

Google Transit was developed in 2005 by Google employees Avichal Garg and Chris Harrelson. They used the 20 percent of their working time that Google employees were allowed to use for their own projects at the time.

In 2007, the service from Google Labs was added to Google Maps. According to its own information, the company has been in negotiations with many cities since 2005 to be able to use public transport data in Google Maps. Google Transit initially only supported the city of Portland (Oregon) , later other transport companies worldwide followed . The Deutsche Bahn timetables have been integrated into Google Transit since September 2012, and the local transport timetables for Münster and Munich were added in November of the same year . Almost all major cities in Germany support Google Transit. Since 2015, Google Maps has been showing real-time data for buses and trains in some cities.

Google invented the General Transit Feed Specification data format (formerly Google Transit Feed Specification , GTFS for short) to exchange data between transport companies. Google needs GTFS data to display routes based on the actual timetables.

With GTFS real time , the company aims to also display delays in a comprehensive manner. Vehicle positions and schedule deviations (failures, diversions, unforeseen events) are required for this.

Google Map Maker

From 2008 to March 2017, every user was able to update Google Maps with the Map Maker service . From spring 2013 to March 2017 this was also possible in Germany , Switzerland and Austria .

Moon, mars and starry sky

Since August 2014, the moon and Mars can be explored using the 3D surface of Google Maps. The two offers Google Moon and Google Mars in 2D are still available. Since 2009, both celestial bodies can also be explored in 3D using Google Earth. The starry sky is available in the 2D view on Google Sky .

Programming interface

Google offers programming interfaces with which you can integrate Google Maps into your own pages. API calls can be used to configure maps on your own pages, and markers can be placed on maps. The 18 APIs of the Google Maps Platform include the areas Maps, Routes and Places.

An API key is required for integration, which authorizes your own pages to send requests to Google Maps servers. The standard and premium versions of Maps available until 2018 have been combined so that an API call requires a payment profile - even if you only use the free contingent. Each API call is chargeable, but Google grants a credit of $ 200 per user for each month. Basic functions like embedding cards remain free regardless of how often you use them. Google provides embeddable HTML code for this. The pixel dimensions of the representations can be defined in the code. This means that larger maps can be created with Google Maps than in the standard view.

Live view

At the beginning of August 2019, Google Maps activated the augmented reality mode Live View . In addition to the location view, information and suggestions about the viewed location are also available on a smartphone or tablet. For this purpose z. B. arrows, markings, map overlays or info boxes are displayed. This requires for devices with Android the app Arcore and IOS app Arkit .

Differences to Google Earth

With Google Earth, Google is expanding the functions of Google Maps. A pure map display as with Google Maps is not possible with Google Earth. As of version 4.1, Google Earth has a function with which you can display the area under consideration in Google Maps. Google Earth is offered free of charge for Windows, macOS, Linux and as a mobile app for Android and iOS. The raster data are based on satellite images of different "generations". At the highest zoom level, very different qualities can be seen. The rural regions in particular, which do not belong to the “western world”, are usually very roughly resolved.

A Google Earth function has been built into Google Maps since April 27, 2010. It is displayed in the browser. The user can tilt and rotate the images and dive in the water.

Boundary information

In the summer of 2010, in response to criticism, Google admitted that it did not always accurately reflect the course of state borders. In over 60 countries and regions they wanted to check and adjust the curves. For example, in February 2010 the Cambodian government complained that Google incorrectly states the border with Thailand on its maps. In early November 2010, a Nicaraguan military commander caused a serious interstate conflict with neighboring Costa Rica when he occupied land with troops on the Río San Juan , citing Google Maps . The US Department of State, which had moved the border by around 2.7 kilometers, was considered the source of the map data. During the Crimean crisis in 2014, the Russian version of Google Maps showed the Crimean peninsula with a border line separated from the Ukraine. The Ukrainian version represented Crimea as part of Ukraine.

License terms

There are copyright notices in the images in the form of digital watermarks . The ability to print satellite images directly was removed on July 21, 2006. Since then, when you click the print button, the underlying overview map appears in a new window, on which no detailed information is displayed for many areas. As with any website, however, data can be printed out as a screen copy.

In contrast to services such as Open Streetmap, maps and images from Google Maps are subject to Google's license terms. Companies as well as private individuals are bound by Google's license terms. Everyone who uses an image or a section from Google Maps or Google Earth must leave the Google logo in the image. In addition, a permit is required in the vast majority of cases.

The use of Google Maps in a commercial context is generally only permitted via the Google Maps API. Separate general terms and conditions apply to these . Copyright notices, trademarks or other proprietary information may not be removed from the map material.


  • Martin C. Brown: Hacking Google Maps and Google Earth . Wiley, Hoboken, NJ 2006, ISBN 978-0-471-79009-9
  • Rich Gibson, Schuyler Erle: Google Maps Hacks. O'Reilly, February 2006, ISBN 0-596-10161-9
  • Kathrin Kirchner, Peter Bens: Google Maps. Insert and expand web maps . Dpunkt-Verlag, Heidelberg 2010, ISBN 978-3-89864-568-3
  • Michael Purvis, Jeffrey Sambells, Cameron Turner: Google Maps Application Development. Apress, August 2006, ISBN 1-59059-707-9
  • Jiang Yu Zheng, Xiaölong Wang, Min Shi: Streaming Route Panoramas for Large Area Visualization. IEEE Sixth International Symposium on Multimedia Software Engineering (ISMSE'04), 2004, doi: 10.1109 / MMSE.2004.78
  • David Jahn, Julia Striezel: Google Street View is watching you , in: Kommunikation und Recht (K & R) 2009, pp. 753–758

Web links

Commons : Google Maps  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

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  3. Daniel Resnick: Share your location and travel history in real time via Google Maps. In: The official Google Product Blog. Google, March 22, 2017, accessed April 22, 2017 .
  4. Information from Apple on GPS and location services
  5. Max Polonyi, DER SPIEGEL: How two Berliners tricked Google Maps - DER SPIEGEL - Politics. Retrieved April 9, 2020 .
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  8. Info - Google Maps
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  10. Google Maps for Mobile adds 'My Location' feature
  11. Andreas Floemer: Google Maps for iOS published - the long-awaited alternative for Apple Maps is here. In: t3n magazine . December 13, 2012, archived from the original on December 14, 2012 ; Retrieved December 14, 2012 .
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  13. Yvonne Ortmann: Google Maps is the most popular free app in the App Store after only 7 hours. In: t3n magazine . December 14, 2012, archived from the original on December 17, 2012 ; Retrieved December 14, 2012 .
  14. 5 ways to use Google Maps on Apple CarPlay . In: Google . September 18, 2018 ( [accessed September 24, 2018]).
  15. c't issue 21 of September 19, 2015, page 176, web tip "", also online at [1]
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  17. Konstantinos Mitsis: And you are powerless: Google Maps makes pixelated houses visible again . In: CHIP Online . ( [accessed on March 25, 2018]).
  18. Moritz Stückler: Google Maps: Indoor navigation now also in Germany. In: t3n magazine . December 4, 2012, accessed December 6, 2012 .
  19. Kim Rixecker: Google Maps 2.0: iOS app brings some new features. In: t3n magazine . July 18, 2013, archived from the original on August 22, 2014 ; Retrieved May 26, 2014 .
  20. Google Transit Expands to New York. Retrieved May 31, 2011 .
  21. ^ Google Transit Graduates from Labs. Retrieved May 31, 2011 .
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  27. from Google: Overview of GTFS Realtime feeds , accessed on October 17, 2018
  28. Lars Budde: Google Map Maker: Interactive map starts in Germany. In: t3n magazine. April 23, 2013, accessed April 23, 2013 .
  29. Jens Minor: Google Maps Earth View: Moon and Mars now also in 3D - GWB. In: August 6, 2014, accessed December 11, 2019 .
  33. Introducing Google Maps Platform , May 2, 2018
  34. Create huge map posters with Google Maps - in:, August 13, 2009
  35. Hans-Peter Schüler: Google Maps learns 3D . In: heise-online, accessed on May 18, 2010.
  36. Google statement on quality assurance measures
  37. Reuters of February 5, 2010: Cambodia blasts Google map of disputed Thai border .
  38. Google Maps draws wrong borders , heise, accessed on November 19, 2010.
  39. Alex Hern: Google Maps Russia claims Crimea for the federation . In: The Guardian , April 22, 2014. Retrieved April 28, 2014. 
  40. Out-of-the-air peepers fall into the warning trap - article by Spiegel Online , February 29, 2008
  41. Google Permits - Google Page
  42. ^ RA Max-Lion Keller: Google Maps on the website - what is allowed, what is not? In: March 3, 2010, accessed July 22, 2012 .