Simple Maps via Google Static Maps

I love maps. When I first laid eyes on Google Maps I was blown away… and when I began dabbling in adding layers of topo maps, I was smitten (I suppose I should have gone into GIS). Anyhow, whenever there is the slightest reason to drop a map on a web page, I am there, Google Maps JavaScript API in hand.

So when I went to add in tracking data on the order status page at The Longboard Store, the new functionality was just screaming for a map. I mean, how cool would it be to watch your order status page, and see where your sweet new Landyahctz Longboard was at?

As such, I dove in, dropping in the JavaScript needed for a map… plopping a marker down… but it kind of dawned on me that it seemed a bit heavy for what is a very basic map. A quick search yielded a Google product that I was unaware of: Static Maps.

Simply put, the API for Static Maps simply involves a standard image tag, where some GET attributes are added into the src tag, and magically a map is shown on your page:

No loading of a JS resource needed, heck, no scripting needed at all. Just a simple url:

http://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/staticmap?center=45.5626214,-122.6591902&zoom=12&size=567x200&maptype=roadmap
&markers=color:blue%7Clabel:%7C45.5626214,-122.6591902&sensor=false