Through their Google Maps Platform, Google have created an exciting opportunity for businesses to use a range of categorised and accessible Application Programming Interfaces, (or APIs), to create a diversity of innovative business solutions, apps and experiences, using the vast amount of data available through Google Maps.

In order to create our first project, we must begin by creating an API Key using the Google Cloud Platform Console. This key will act as a unique code that the API will use to identify as the calling application or user. Each time you use a Google Maps Platform product, you must include an API Key to validate your request, so let’s begin by generating your first API Key.

Where To Begin
We can gain access to Google Maps Platform on its homepage on the Google Cloud website. Begin by clicking on one of the blue “Get Started” buttons.

Access The Full Google Maps Platform
Select the Maps, Routes and Places checkboxes and press continue. These are the three categories of API the platform has to offer


Create Your First Project
If this is your first time generating an API key you will need to name your project first. Enter your chosen project name and click the next button in the bottom-right corner of the window.


Set Up A Billing Account
When the billing prompt appears, select Create Billing Account.


Choose Your Location
Select your country and click on the Continue button.

Enter Your Billing Information
Add an address for your billing account along with your organisation name, then scroll down for the payment methods and enter your preferred method.

Enable Billing
Click on Submit to enable billing on your account.

Note: Google Maps Platform offers users free use of the equivalent of $200 credit each month, which could mean the equivalent of: 28,500 Dynamic Map requests, 40,000 Directions calls or 25,000 Street View requests. Once you have exceeded your $200 credit limit you will begin to be charged. You can set daily quotas to protect yourself from unexpected increases.


Time To Create Your API Key
Now that your billing is set up, look to the API Manager menu in the sidebar and click on the Credentials option.


Create Your API Credentials
When the Credentials window appears, click on the Create Credentials button.


Generate Your Key
In the next pop-up window, click on API Key and you will see that your individual API key has been generated.


Protect Your API Key
To ensure your API Key is not misused by other parties, eating into your quota, you must restrict its access. At the bottom-right of the API Key created window, click on the Restrict Key button.


Add Your Domain As A Referrer
Start by selecting the option HTTP referrers (web sites) and then, in the box under Accept requests from these HTTP referrers (web sites), replace “yourdomain.com” with your own domain name, listing both “ *.domain.com/* ” and “ *domain.com/* ” separated by a comma, noting that this exact format must be followed or the Google Maps API will not accept what you have entered into the field. Click the Save button to save your Key Restrictions.


Access The API Functions That You Require
It is time to enable the API functions that you require for your project. Go to the API Manager sidebar menu and click on Library. Select the Google Maps JavaScript API panel.

Enable The API And You’re Good To Go
Some APIs are automatically enabled, while others need to be manually enabled. If the JavaScript API is not enabled, click Enable on the Google Maps JavaScript API window. If necessary, any API that you access in the future can be enabled in the same way.

Understanding Pricing
While developers used to be able to access Google Maps APIs without entering billing information, under the new Google Maps Platform framework users must set up billing to gain access to all that is on offer, however if their usage remains within the monthly $200 free credit given to all Google Maps Platform users, there will be no charge. For businesses keen to keep costs under control, which is most likely everyone, an in-depth guide to the API pricing structures is available on Google Cloud website. Alongside the imposable usage limits that we mentioned earlier, you can use their handy pricing calculator to assess your costs and negate any potential surprises.

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