How was Google Maps developed?

Before jumping into the “how was Google Maps developed” discussion, it is interesting to note that maps, in general, had a crucial role in our world since ancient times. As we know, their main goal was to help us navigate through the world and depict it. In fact, the history of cartography or “mapping” can be traced to more than 5000 years ago.

Needless to say, we need maps. But we live in a digital world, so we need more than a paper map, that you unfold a hundred times and spend 20 minutes figuring out where you are and then another 20 understanding where you are going. Which is one of the reasons we have GPSs.

However, we needed a map that is as easy to use as a GPS, but a bit more complex yet. And this is where apps such as Google Maps come into play.

These applications have become the de facto interface between the physical and the digital world, meaning people will never be lost again – even if they don’t have any sense of direction whatsoever.

So, let’s talk about how Google Maps was developed, how did it come into our lives and how did it become such an indispensable part of our daily commute?

How was Google Maps developed?

Not surprisingly, the technology behind Google maps is actually coming from the shipping and transportation industry. It is being developed largely in-house, and it’s a very strong and popular part of the Google service suit. It started with something called, “red points”, which eventually took the name of the entity, “Google“.

Today, the business has offices located in California, United States of America, and it is estimated to be around receivables and plug-ins related to the travel and railroads within the greater Los Angeles area, in California.

Early stages

Google Maps started out just as any genius tool, by existing under the form of a thought. And this thought belonged to the Australian software engineer Noel Gordon, who later began the process of transforming his thought into a reality. 

However, the first “iteration” of Google Maps certainly does not look like any of your expectations. But there is logic behind madness, and as it is with most ideas, Google Maps’ first “faze” was represented by certain annotations that to the untrained eye.

Google Maps - 15th Birthday

These annotations were written and rewritten for a period of three weeks in 2004 during which Noel Gordon and the Where 2’s owners saw the opportunity to negotiate this idea with Google’s co-founder Lary Page. 

Where 2’s mapping technology started as an application called Expedition. It was designed to be downloaded and installed, much like most of the software at the time. But to have Google’s attention on his project, Gordon along with the other Where 2 co-founders had to get their idea working on a web browser.

In August 2004, Where 2 became Google’s second-ever acquisition. In the “pre-Google Maps” era, the online maps market was dominated by MapQuest, a clunky scion of an analog cartographic business, later purchased by AOL. Google Maps was based on a group of web technologies that is today widely known as Ajax.

After the deal was made, the entire team behind the future Google Maps – which consisted of Noel Gordon, Stephen Ma, and the Danish-born Rasmussen brothers Lars and Jens – became Google employees. 

When first released, Google’s first mapping app was in the beta version 2.0, comprising a Plains database. In the years since it was developed, Google has released numerous updates to the software, in addition to introducing various tools to users.

For example, Google Earth is used by people all over the world, particularly in disaster rescue and emergency response situations, and its functionality is unparalleled. On the other hand, Google Maps can be for anything from just a quick view of a map to finding a specific type of business by a certain zip code.

Luckily, Google Maps is easy to use and extremely intuitive, especially with the comprehensive and easy-to-understand instructions provided in the user guide book.

Needed components in the creation of Google Maps


Without imagery, Google would not be able to situate roads, buildings, and businesses all around the world. It would also not be possible to situate other relevant spacial makers like business names and speed limits. So imagery plays a crucial role in Google Maps creation.

Nowadays we can easily access various parts of the world from the comfort of our homes thanks to the Street View that was launched back in 2007. 

Craziest Google Street View Trekkers

Street View has proved to be one of Google Map’s most controversial but popular features. Launched for select US cities in 2006, and rolled out to Europe, Japan, and Australia in 2008, the service relied on building up pictures of every street in the city using a specially equipped camera mounted on a car.

There are over 170 billion images collected in 87 countries and high-quality imagery that offers context to the lines drawn on 2D maps. In 2006, Google used high-resolution satellite imagery to map 37% of the world’s population. Later on, in 2012 they had achieved a result of 75%.

During those years, the company’s main focus was on the world’s population centers. Nowadays, their reach has extended beyond human settlements. In the Google Maps Street View feature, you have the possibility to observe penguins in Antarctica or Himalayan base camps. 

Adding data

Unfortunately, it is not possible to create a map with images alone. The next step after imagery is adding the right quantitative data. This information can be in the form of distances, road lengths, or terrain. Combined with images, this data forms a layered and detailed map. 

Popular among analysts is the Citabon Active Web Device Tracking, in which it is literally able to monitor each keypress on a keyboard to allow businesses to target ads and determine when employees are not using their allotted areas.

Open Data Portal

Google Maps has around 1000 third-party sources from around the world in order to collect the necessary data to create the most accurate maps. In addition to that, governments are able to upload new data directly to Google Maps, meaning that the information you see is constantly updated.

Google Maps is one of the Google applications that make it possible for businesses to run graphical maps on the Internet, even in offline mode, without needing a client-server environment or other technology that is not supported by Google’s servers. 

Mapping is available to the public for free, from Google Maps. In the United States, Google Maps are integrated with Google Maps Download, which simplifies the process of obtaining driving directions to the user’s location.

Drivers can be provided with driving directions from major cities or regions to the nearest or closest urban areas such as boonies and streams. Google’s Earth application is useful for Migration Monitoring and Citapri Activate, Tablet mapping, bookmarks, directions, driving times, economic metrics, and so on.

Checking the information

With the right data and imagery, it seems that maps should be complete, right? Not quite so. These technological tools are of crucial importance, however, they cannot process the human factors that constantly influence the evolution of maps, leaving a margin of possible errors. 

Thus, Google Maps disposes of a worldwide data operations team that makes sure the information brought in is accurate. They also correct any possible mistakes and improve the whole process. 

Google Maps is a good example of a platform for enabling people to launch satellites and then send data from them back to Google’s servers. Google partners with various companies, such as satellite industries, government institutions, airlines, etc., to provide Automatic Updates and other features.

Google partners are expected to deliver the latest and best technologies, so Google Earth must surely be the best mapping application available on the market today.

Google Earth is not only a useful application but a must-have for anyone who wants to create professional 3D aerial photo maps that can be easily accessed via the Internet by simply copying and pasting the address of a city or region into the search box.

Machine Learning

The final step to an even better Google Maps is machine learning. Machine learning automates mapping processes and at the same time maintains a high level of accuracy. Concretely, that means that buildings appear sharper on the map, resulting in clearer landmarks and spatial recognizers.

Machine learning combines the human skill to create processes and the technological ease of reproducing them on a large scale.

Google has received clearance from the Federal Communication Commission to build a fiber network as part of the company’s Google Voice project. The company claims the new system will improve voice switching, call management, and reception with support facilities such as speech accelerators, call screening, call waiting, and Codecs.

Typically, a customer will be allowed to choose from three different cell phone platforms, including Android, Windows Mobile, and iOS. Reports say it is currently planned to offer the service in 30 to 40 countries.

How Google Maps works

Behind every map provided by Google, there is another map hidden from your view. This map is much more complex and it is the key to your queries. It contains information such as no-left-turns and freeway on-ramps, speed limits, and traffic conditions. This is the data that you’re drawing from when you ask Google to navigate you from point A to point B.

The program uses 3D computer technology to implement the program. The software is implemented as software on a standard computer. All the image locater are provided by Google Maps. Below are some examples of features one can find on Google Maps:

• Types of View: Standard, zoom, and overview.

• Tips: Service and send us your advice or suggestions.

• Address formats: house number, street, town, city.

• Whereabouts of the file is absolutely reliable.

• Its accuracy is very high and it provides you with date information.

• User friendly and it is developed in such a way that it can be used by any person having knowledge about the computer.

• It provides you the ability to zoom in and out and by connecting the mouse to the Internet browser, you can pan around the map.

• You can send an exact copy of your location to a GPS server.

• With the Internet browser, you can zoom in and out by making use of the toolbars or buttons.

• It also provides you a panoramic view.

• It is also used for the creating of maps.

• It can be used if you are interested in exact travel routes.

• It can also be used for the creating of maps officious locations.

• It can also be used to find names or appropriate keywords to target.

• One can also find places that are close to the location of a search.

• The features of Google Maps can also be customized. Google Map is developed as one big coordinate system.

It has centralized entities which make it more popular as well. Google Map is implemented with different types of servers, which are capable to process the requests of any specific destination. It is a server-based application and also developed in multi-language interfaces. Google Map is an online map service.

Google Map street view is based on the GL network. It displays manually branded layers of information from layers. The layers are coded so that the operating system can access them directly.

Google Maps API

Google Maps API which is now called Google Maps Platform currently hosts around 17 various API’s which are grouped under the following categories: maps, places, and routes. Google Maps API was launched by Google in 2005 in order to give developers the opportunity to integrate Google Maps into their websites.

Until June 2018, this feature was free and did not require an API key. On July 16, the changes were announced and an API key was linked to Google Cloud account with billing enabled. Using Google Maps API allows you to incorporate Google Maps into an external website on which site-specific data can be overlaid.

The Google Maps API is free for commercial use, provided that the site on which it is being used is publicly accessible and does not charge for access, and is not generating more than 25,000 maps accesses a day. Sites that do not meet these requirements can purchase the Google Maps API for Business.

Technology behind Google Maps

Obviously, when talking about Google Maps, we are talking about an incredible amount of data that is sitting behind on huge servers. The data in the Google Maps case is called GIS data ( Geographic Information System)  and is managed by a GIS system.

A geographic information system is a framework that gives you the ability to capture and analyze in detail spatial and geographic data.

GIS applications or GIS apps are computer-based tools used to create interactive queries, store and edit spatial and non-spatial data, analyze spatial information output, and visually share the results of these operations by presenting them as maps.

GIS is a full-fledged branch of computing and there are many companies that have specialized software for that purpose but Google is believed to have its own GIS technology.

In order to create this GIS technology for Google Maps the company had to make sure they fulfilled a small list of requirements:

  • A huge Data storage and management for GIS data
  • A reliable and fast GIS server, that makes sure the user just gets a peek at the Data and not the data itself.
  • The Client app that we use on our computers ( only this much can be called an app)


Google Maps is a layered solution to help you make sense of the world, and of course, give you directions and help you discover new places no matter where you are. Though there are 220 countries and territories mapped to date, there is always room for improvement, and Google Maps continuously works at being better to make your life just a little easier.

When we think of Google Maps – the navigation, the pinned services – it is very often an older version of the app that springs to mind. Google Maps has evolved, and with it are a host of new features that many users have failed to explore.

The world of digital mapping is constantly evolving along with Google Maps. The tool keeps generating new features such as the ability to direct message the businesses that feature on Google Maps, as long as they utilize Google’s ‘My Business’ function.

It is also believed that users will be able to interact with places around them, providing a more relevant experience in terms of the details maps provide. But all we can do now is wait and see what the future holds for Google Maps.

Until then, if you have a great idea or you were inspired by the story of how Google Maps was developed, don’t hesitate to contact us. Together we can build a digital solution that will change the world forever!

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