Friday, November 7, 2008

Google Maps and ASP.NET

What makes the service even better is the availability of the Google Maps API (Application Programming Interface) as a free Beta service. The API allows developers to embed Google Maps in their custom applications. It also allows them to overlay information on the map and customize the map to their needs. As I write this article there are quite a few sites that utilize Google Maps, and more and more of them are appearing by the day.

The API by itself is pretty straightforward and easy to use; however, it requires the developer to have a good command of JavaScript because it extensively relies on client-side Java scripting. In this article we will be looking at building a custom ASP.NET server control that would allow a .NET developer to harness the power of Google Maps in the code-behind model. We will see how to accomplish most of the functionality exposed by Google Maps using this control, and we'll also see how to data bind the control, thereby allowing developers to easily build data-driven custom ASP.NET Web applications. The control would eliminate the need for the developer to write any JavaScript to accomplish most of the Google Map functionality.

Some Google Maps Basics
Before we get into the details of the ASP.NET control, let's look at the basics of the Google Maps API. A detailed description of the API can be found at www.google.com/apis/maps/documentation/. The first step before using Google Maps is to register for a key with Google (www.google.com/apis/maps/signup.html). This is absolutely free and hardly takes a few minutes. Each Web site that uses Google Maps has to have its own key. Make sure that you go through Google's Terms of Use (www.google.com/apis/maps/terms.html) before you start using Google Maps in your application.

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2 comments:

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