Top 10 Tips on GMP: Implement & Monitor Your Google Maps Platform Services Diligently

Many changes have been happening in 2023, and businesses should start thinking about new resolutions – that also means it’s an opportunity to take stock of your Google Maps Platform implementations and integrations to make sure you’ve got the latest and greatest updates, security access, and reporting in place.

Today we’re going to review our top 10 tips for ensuring your current Google Maps Platform implementations are optimized.

Tip #10 – Review Access on Google Maps Platform

Make sure the right people own your resources, so that your company retains access as people switch roles, and the right people can create support cases.

As you add team members or as people leave your organization, make sure the current contacts are kept up to date to not only reduce risk but also ensure that important notifications go to the appropriate Essential Contacts.

To customize which team members receive these Google Maps Platform notifications in the near future, you can set your Essential Contacts in the Google Cloud Console by providing your own list of contacts. You can add individuals as well as group aliases to make sure you’re preemptively reducing the impact of personnel changes.

Master Concept - Google maps platform
Fig.1 – Enable Essential Contacts API and grant access to the project

Tip #  9 – Check Your Quotas on Google Maps Platform

It’s important to review your Google Maps Platform API usage and quotas on a regular basis.

Quotas set limits on the number of requests your project can make to the APIs. Requests can be limited in three ways:

  • Per day
  • Per minute
  • Per user per minute (where available)

Only successful requests and requests that cause server errors count against quota. Requests that fail authentication do not count against the quota.

Master Concept - Google maps platform
Fig.2 – Quota usage is displayed in graphs on the Quotas report page in the Cloud Console

Tip #  8 – New Granular Usage Reporting Functionality

Now Google Maps Platform enables users to access more granular usage reporting capabilities.  This includes the ability to slice your reports by platform types such as Android, iOS, and web and domain so you can determine which website traffic is originating from.

Master Concept - Google maps platform
Fig.3 – Filter and slice usage reports by platform type

These granular usage reports can help you answer questions like these:

  • How many API calls are coming from Android for the Places API?
  • What are my top domains by usage across all Google Maps Platform APIs?
  • From which platforms are my customers visiting most frequently?

Tip #  7 – Check Billing Reports

The Cloud Console Billing reports providing billing and related cost information for the project you have selected.

The Cloud Billing Reports page lets you view your Google Cloud Platform usage costs for all projects linked to a Cloud Billing account. To help you view the cost trends that are important to you, you can select a data range, specify a time range, configure the chart filters, and group by project, service, SKU, or location.

Fig.4 – Billing Report

Cloud Billing reports can help you answer questions like these:

  • How is my current month’s Google Cloud Platform spending trending?
  • What project cost the most last month?
  • What are my forecasted future costs based on historical trends?
  • How much am I spending by region?

Tip #  6 – Make Sure You’re Using the Latest APIs & SDKs

If you use Google Maps Platform, then it’s likely you are using the Maps JavaScript API or one of Google mobile SDKs for iOS and Android to add Google Maps’ features to your apps. 

Make sure you’re using the most up-to-date versions of Maps JavaScript API and Mobile SDKs by subscribing to the RSS feeds for the release notes, which you can do by following the link at the top of the docs for each SDK.

Fig.5 – Subscribe RSS feeds for the release notes
Fig.6 – List of RSS feeds for the release notes

Tip #  5 – Future-Proof Apps by migrating to Kotlin and Jetpack Compose

Future-Proofing your Android apps by migrating to Koltin and Jetpack Compose using Google’s open source libraries is the next tip. Kotlin is a programming language that is becoming popular among Android developers. It helps improve productivity, developer satisfaction, and code safety. Besides, Jetpack Compose is the Android’s modern UI toolkit built on Kotlin, allowing you to create UI quickly with powerful and intuitive APIs, and less code. 

Maps Android Kotlin extensions (KTX) is a collection of open-source Kotlin extensions for the Maps SDK for Android and the Maps SDK for Android Utility Library. These extensions provide Kotlin language features, enabling you to write succinct and natural Kotlin when developing the Maps SDK for Android.

The Maps Compose Library for the Maps SDK is also open-source, and it provides a set of composable functions and data types that enables you to use Jetpack Compose to develop your Android apps.  Less code is used for adding a map with different properties and styles in the apps (Fig.7). It is simple to maintain as it does more with less code and avoids entire classes of bugs.

Fig.7 – Comparison between after and before using Jetpack Compose

Tip #  4 – Preview Google Maps Platform Solution Templates & Code Sample

It will be useful for you to view the solution examples on the Google Maps Platform (Fig.8). There are lots of verticals including retail, real estate, travel, and so on. Hence, you can interact with them and review their output.

Fig.8 – GMP Solution Templates

You can just copy the templates and code samples into your own project as a starting point of building new functions for your apps. 

Fig.9 – Export code based on the templates

Tip #  3 – Ensure Your API Keys are Secure

API keys are required for apps and projects that use the Google Maps Platform APIs and SDKs. Now is the time to revisit all your API keys to make sure your usage of Google Maps Platform is secure and manageable. You could make an inventory of all your API keys in your projects, and delete any API key which is unused and superfluous. Before the unneeded API keys are deleted, you should make sure that it is not used in production.

Furthermore, it is suggested to restrict all remaining keys for maximum security and minimal effort. Make sure your API keys are only used in your intended apps. Restricting API Keys is an essential security step you should take so that an abuser cannot generate unexpected spending on your account if your key is compromised. You can restrict them with an application restriction, and one or more API restrictions. Application restrictions limit an API key’s usage to a specific platform (Android or iOS) or specific sites (public IP address and website), when 

API restrictions limit the usage of API keys to one or more Google Maps Platform APIs or SDKs. 

Fig.10 – API keys restriction

If you’re restricting API keys after they’ve been created, check the API key usage to make sure that the restrictions won’t break any of your existing apps.

Using separate API keys for each of your apps and projects is another way to strengthen the security and manageability of your Google Maps Platform usage. It allows you to easily rotate API keys throughout the years as well as better understand your usage at a more granular level by looking at your usage metrics by key.  

Tip #  2 – Check Out the Latest Features of Google Maps Platform

Google Maps Platform has been continuously providing new features, and improving efficiency and quality, to create better real-world and real-time experiences for users. Google Maps Platform launched numerous new features and products along with some useful updates this past year.

Data-driven styling enables you to style your maps to visually convey key information to your users using your proprietary data or publicly available data. Geographical boundaries can be highlighted on a map with customized style and specific areas based on different boundary data across various industries. Fig.11 shows an example of Data-Driven Styling that shows delivery charges to different Berlin postal codes.

Fig.11 –  Example of Data-driven styling 

Advanced Markers enable you to change the color, background, icon, and outline of the pin directly in your code. Your own image can also be used for personalizing the markers on the map.

Address Validation lets you validate and correct address inputs with place data that can improve checkout and delivery with reliable addresses. It enables you to verify address existence, flag incomplete inputs and format the address for delivery. It helps improve delivery success and reduces costly errors.

Fig.12 –  Address Validation

Routes API, including Eco-friendly routes, are new mobility services features. Routing calculates the ideal path between two locations or for a matrix of origin and destination locations and returns distances and travel times. Routes API is a performance-optimized version of the existing Directions API and Distance Matrix API with additional new capabilities. Moreover, Eco-friendly routes allow you to add the most fuel-efficient route to your products and apps. It will show the most fuel- or energy-efficient route based on the vehicle’s engine type user. The more fuel or energy-efficient the route, the lower your car’s fuel/energy usage and CO2 emissions.

Last Mile Fleet Solution (LMFS) helps fleet operators create exceptional delivery experiences, from e-commerce orders to doorstep delivery. It is a development toolkit for building applications to power first and last-mile delivery fleets. The solution includes a variety of APIs and SDKs that you integrate into your applications for mapping, routing, and places functionality. It also includes a backend service to help orchestrate delivery journeys across drivers, consumers, and fleet operations teams. It enables you to visualize your fleet in real-time, including shipment status and route progress, helping you keep fleet performance at its peak.

Tip #  1 – Stay Up-to-Date in Google Maps Platform

Last but not the least, you are also suggested to stay up to date with technical updates about Google Maps platform products, outage notifications,s and feature announcements. You can get updates straight to your inbox by subscribing to Google’s email notification. You can also check out our Public Status Dashboard (Fig.13) to view and report bugs.

Fig.13 – Public Status Dashboard

As a premier partner of Google Maps Platform for over a decade, Master Concept is possessed with extensive professional knowledge and practical experience with Google Maps. With our in-depth understanding of the industry, we have helped numerous transportation operators in the Asia Pacific region to achieve intelligent logistics by optimizing their transport routes, cargo tracking, and customer service levels through Google Maps Platform. Read the Smart Mobility Whitepaper to learn more about how you can leverage Google Maps Platform for better logistic and fleet management!

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