Google Maps is a free (for non-commercial use) web mapping service application and technology provided by Google, that powers many map-based services, including the Google Maps website, Google Ride Finder, Google Transit and maps embedded on third-party websites via the Google Maps API.
Google Maps contain many features, offering street maps, a route planner for traveling by foot, car, bike, kayak,or public transport as well as an urban business locator for numerous countries around the world.
In June of 2001 Google launched Google Maps API which allows developers to integrate Google maps into their websites. Google Maps API makes it possible to embed a Google Maps site into an external website, on to which site specific data (placemarkers, information boxes, etc.) can be overlaid.
Google Maps is one of the most popular and effective ways for a website to provide geographical data to its visitors. According to the site BuiltWith, almost 800,000 sites are currently using Google Maps. They are used on all kinds of sites including business, education, government, travel, real estate, reference and others.
There are a number of plugins available on WordPress that allow developers to create and manage Google Maps on their sites; here are a few of them:
1. Basic Google Maps Placemarks
Developer: Ian Dunn
Last Updated: January 13, 2012
Basic Google Maps Placemarks allows users to create and manage the embedded Google maps on their websites, providing several options for setting the map type (street, satellite, etc), center location, size, zoom level, and navigation controls, to name a few.
Users can insert markers with unique custom icons, shared common custom icons, or default icons. Placemarks can be assigned to different categories, with different categories displayed on different maps. Basic Google Maps Placemarks is compatible with WordPress MultiSite and comes with many filters that allow users to customize and extend the plugin, as well as extra shortcode to output a text-based list of markers for mobile devices, search engines, etc.
2. Comprehensive Google Map Plugin
Developer: Alexander Zagniotov
Last Updated: April 1, 2012
The Comprehensive Google Map Plugin is a fully documented Google map plugin that installs as a widget and a short code. With an intuitive and user friendly Facebook style interactive interface, this plugin makes it easy to configure any Google map and manage multiple map markers.
The Comprehensive Google Map Plugin features over 250 custom marker icons to choose from and allows users to aggregate all their post markers in one map. Users can insert Google-like directions into their maps – driving and walking, distance shown in miles or KM, where to avoid tolls and highways options.
The plugin auto generates a unique ID for each map and offers extensive configuration options for Google map marker, controls, size, KML files, location by latitude/longitude, and location by address, info windows with custom text, traffic/bike lanes and more.
3. Effortless Google Maps
Developer: cyber sprocket
Last Updated: February 05, 2012
Effortless Google Maps makes putting Google Maps into your posts and pages…well, effortless.
Focusing on ease of use, Effortless Google Maps lets users add a map to a post or page using a simple shortcode. Users can modify the look with a few simple added attributes. Effortless Google Maps works on all modern web browsers and uses Google Maps V3 (no API key required). Widgets are provided.
Multiple plugin themes are available that allow users to adjust the look, position, and other style attributes of the “map box” without affecting the rest of the site. Users can also create their own custom plugin themes as well.
4. Google Maps Made Simple
Developer: Matthew Schwartz/ WP-G-Mappity
Last Updated: March 27, 2011
Need to build a Google Map outside of WordPress? No problem: Google Map Builder by WPGMappity.
The current release of this plugin allows users to add Markers with custom icon graphics; add routes; select map type, size and zoom levels; and insert clickable markers to open a Google Maps HTML window with text and links.
5. WP Google Maps
Last Updated: March 05, 2012
WP Google Maps gives users the ability to create a custom Google Map pinned high quality markers that contain locations, descriptions, images and links. Users can quickly and easily add their customized maps to WordPress posts and/or pages with the provided shortcode.
With WP Google Maps users can create as many map markers as they need by simply typing in the address or dragging the markers to an exact location. Markers can be edited with the click of a button
This plugin uses the Latest Google Maps API (V3), is Google Streetview supported and lets users choose from four different map types: roadmap, terrain, satellite or hybrid.
6. XML Google Maps
Last Updated: August 18, 2011
The XML Google Maps plugin allows users to easily insert Google Map or Google Earth Plugin Maps into their pages. This plugin provides users with a multitude of features including: automatically converting GPX or KML file links into a Google Map; geocoded NextGEN Gallery pictures can be integrated with the aid of a simple parameter this plugin reads the EXIF data of NextGEN Gallery images and then displays them on a map; it supports the new Google Earth Browser Plugin feature of the Google Maps API as well as Open Street Map and Open Cycle Map map types. The XML Google Maps plugin is available in English and German versions.
In addition to Google Maps, plugins can extend WordPress to do almost anything you can imagine. For more information about Google Maps and other WordPress plugins, visit http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins.
Check out our previous articles!
- 13 Complete WordPress Theme Management Plugins
- 25+ Lively WordPress Plugins for an Interactive Blog
- Your Definitive Guide To Free WordPress Themes For Photography
- Top 10 WordPress Upgrades, Plugins, and Themes for Photographers
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