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The Maps Static API returns an image (either GIF, PNG or JPEG) in response to an HTTP request via a URL. For each request, you can specify the location of the map, the size of the image, the zoom level, the type of map, and the placement of optional markers at locations on the map. You can additionally label your markers using alphanumeric characters.

A Maps Static API image is embedded within an <img> tag's src attribute, or its equivalent in other programming languages.

This document describes the required format of Maps Static API URLs and the available parameters. It also points out some tips and tricks in specifying your URLs.

Before you begin

This document is intended for website and mobile developers who want to include Maps Static API images within a webpage or mobile application. It provides an introduction to using the API and reference material on the available parameters.

Before you start developing with the Maps Static API, review the authentication requirements (you need an API key) and the API usage and billing information (you need to enable billing on your project).

URL Parameters

A Maps Static API URL must be of the following form:

If your website is accessed over HTTPS, you must load Maps Static API images over HTTPS as well in order to avoid browser security alerts. HTTPS is also recommended if your requests include sensitive user information, such as a user's location:

Whether using HTTP or HTTPS, certain URL parameters are required while some are optional. As is standard in URLs, all parameters are separated using the ampersand (&) character. The list of parameters and their possible values are enumerated in this document.

The Maps Static API defines map images using the following URL parameters:

Location parameters

  • center (required if markers not present) defines the center of the map, equidistant from all edges of the map. This parameter takes a location as either a comma-separated {latitude,longitude} pair (e.g. "40.714728,-73.998672") or a string address (e.g. "city hall, new york, ny") identifying a unique location on the face of the earth. For more information, see Locations.
  • zoom (required if markers not present) defines the zoom level of the map, which determines the magnification level of the map. This parameter takes a numerical value corresponding to the zoom level of the region desired. For more information, see Zoom levels.

Map parameters

  • size (required) defines the rectangular dimensions of the map image. This parameter takes a string of the form {horizontal_value}x{vertical_value}. For example, 500x400 defines a map 500 pixels wide by 400 pixels high. Maps smaller than 180 pixels in width will display a reduced-size Google logo. This parameter is affected by the scale parameter; the final output size is the product of the size and scale values.
  • scale (optional) affects the number of pixels that are returned. scale=2 returns twice as many pixels as scale=1 while retaining the same coverage area and level of detail (i.e. the contents of the map don't change). This is useful when developing for high-resolution displays. The default value is 1. Accepted values are 1 and 2. See Scale Values for more information.
  • format (optional) defines the format of the resulting image. By default, the Maps Static API creates PNG images. There are several possible formats including GIF, JPEG and PNG types. Which format you use depends on how you intend to present the image. JPEG typically provides greater compression, while GIF and PNG provide greater detail. For more information, see Image Formats.
  • maptype (optional) defines the type of map to construct. There are several possible maptype values, including roadmap, satellite, hybrid, and terrain. For more information, see Maps Static API Maptypes.
  • language (optional) defines the language to use for display of labels on map tiles. Note that this parameter is only supported for some country tiles; if the specific language requested is not supported for the tile set, then the default language for that tileset will be used.
  • region (optional) defines the appropriate borders to display, based on geo-political sensitivities. Accepts a region code specified as a two-character ccTLD ('top-level domain') value. See Google Maps Platform Coverage Details for supported regions.

Feature parameters

  • map_id (optional) specifies the identifier for a specific map. The Map ID associates a map with a particular style or feature, and must belong to the same project as the API key used to initialize the map. For more information, see Using Map IDs.
  • markers (optional) define one or more markers to attach to the image at specified locations. This parameter takes a single marker definition with parameters separated by the pipe character (|). Multiple markers may be placed within the same markers parameter as long as they exhibit the same style; you may add additional markers of differing styles by adding additional markers parameters. Note that if you supply markers for a map, you do not need to specify the (normally required) center and zoom parameters. For more information, see Maps Static API Markers.
  • path (optional) defines a single path of two or more connected points to overlay on the image at specified locations. This parameter takes a string of point definitions separated by the pipe character (|), or an encoded polyline using the enc: prefix within the location declaration of the path. You may supply additional paths by adding additional path parameters. Note that if you supply a path for a map, you do not need to specify the (normally required) center and zoom parameters. For more information, see Maps Static API Paths.
  • visible (optional) specifies one or more locations that should remain visible on the map, though no markers or other indicators will be displayed. Use this parameter to ensure that certain features or map locations are shown on the Maps Static API.
  • style (optional) defines a custom style to alter the presentation of a specific feature (roads, parks, and other features) of the map. This parameter takes feature and element arguments identifying the features to style, and a set of style operations to apply to the selected features. You can supply multiple styles by adding additional style parameters. For more information, see the guide to styled maps.

Key and signature parameters

  • key (required) allows you to monitor your application's API usage in the Google Cloud Console, and ensures that Google can contact you about your application if necessary. For more information, see Use API Keys with Maps Static API.
  • signature (recommended) is a digital signature used to verify that any site generating requests using your API key is authorized to do so. Requests without a digital signature might fail. For more information, see Use a Digital Signature.

URL size restriction

Maps Static API URLs are restricted to 16384 characters in size. In practice, you will probably not have need for URLs longer than this, unless you produce complicated maps with a high number of markers and paths.

Parameter Usage

The Maps Static API is relatively easy to use, as it consists solely of a parameterized URL. This section explains how to use these parameters to construct your URLs.

Specifying Locations

The Maps Static API must be able to precisely identify locations on the map, both to focus the map at the correct location (using the center parameter) and/or to place any optional placemarks (using the markers parameter) at locations on the map. The Maps Static API uses numbers (latitude and longitude values) or strings (addresses) to specify these locations. These values identify a geocoded location.

Several parameters (such as the markers and path parameters) take multiple locations. In those cases, the locations are separated by the pipe (|) character.

Latitudes and longitudes

Latitudes and longitudes are defined using numerals within a comma-separated text string that have a precision to 6 decimal places. For example, "40.714728,-73.998672" is a valid geocode value. Precision beyond the 6 decimal places is ignored.

Longitude values are based on their distance from Greenwich, England, home of the prime meridian. Since Greenwich is situated at 51.477222 latitude, we can enter a center value of 51.477222,0 to center the map on Greenwich:

Greenwich, England

Latitude and longitude values must correspond to a valid location on the face of the earth. Latitudes can take any value between -90 and 90 while longitude values can take any value between -180 and 180. If you specify an invalid latitude or longitude value, your request will be rejected as a bad request.


Most people don't speak in latitudes and longitudes; they denote locations using addresses. The process of turning an address into a geographic point is known as geocoding and the Maps Static API service can perform geocoding for you if you provide valid addresses.

In any parameter where you may provide a latitude/longitude, you may instead specify a string indicating an address. Google will geocode the address and provide the Maps Static API service with a latitude/longitude value to use in placing markers or specifying locations. The string should be URL-encoded, so addresses such as "City Hall, New York, NY" should be converted to "City+Hall,New+York,NY", for example.

Note that addresses may reflect either precise locations, such as street addresses, polylines such as named routes, or polygonal areas such as cities, countries, or national parks. For polylinear and polygonal results, the Maps Static API server will use the center point of the line/area as the address center. If you have doubt about how an address may geocode, you can test out the address using this Geocoding Utility.

The following example generates a static map image for Berkeley, CA:,CA&zoom=14&size=400x400&key=YOUR_API_KEY&signature=YOUR_SIGNATURE

Berkeley, CA

Zoom levels

Maps on Google Maps have an integer 'zoom level' which defines the resolution of the current view. Zoom levels between 0 (the lowest zoom level, in which the entire world can be seen on one map) and 21+ (down to streets and individual buildings) are possible within the default roadmap view. Building outlines, where available, appear on the map around zoom level 17. This value differs from area to area and can change over time as the data evolves.

Google Maps sets zoom level 0 to encompass the entire earth. Each succeeding zoom level doubles the precision in both horizontal and vertical dimensions. More information on how this is done is available in the Google Maps JavaScript API documentation.

Note: not all zoom levels appear at all locations on the earth. Zoom levels vary depending on location, as data in some parts of the globe is more granular than in other locations.

If you send a request for a zoom level in which no map tiles exist, the Maps Static API will return a blank image instead.

The following list shows the approximate level of detail you can expect to see at each zoom level:

  • 1: World
  • 5: Landmass/continent
  • 10: City
  • 15: Streets
  • 20: Buildings

This example requests two maps of Manhattan at the same center value but at zoom levels 12 and 14, respectively:,-73.998672&zoom=12&size=400x400&key=YOUR_API_KEY&signature=YOUR_SIGNATURE,-73.998672&zoom=14&size=400x400&key=YOUR_API_KEY&signature=YOUR_SIGNATURE

Manhattan Faraway  Manhattan Up Close

Image sizes

The size parameter, in conjunction with center, defines the coverage area of a map. It also defines the output size of the map in pixels, when multiplied with the scale value (which is 1 by default).

This table shows the maximum allowable values for the size parameter at each scale value.

scale=1 scale=2
640x640 640x640 (returns 1280x1280 pixels)

This example requests a "slice" of the earth at the equator at zoom level 1:,0&zoom=1&size=400x50&key=YOUR_API_KEY&signature=YOUR_SIGNATURE


This example requests a small map, of size 100 x 100 pixels centered on the same region. Note the smaller Google logo:,0&zoom=1&size=100x100&key=YOUR_API_KEY&signature=YOUR_SIGNATURE

Small Equator Map

Scale values

The size parameter of the Maps Static API defines the size of a map in pixels, so that a map with size=200x200 will be returned as 200 pixels by 200 pixels. On an LCD computer monitor, which typically displays about 100 pixels per inch (ppi), a 200x200 map will be about 2 inches in each dimension.

However, mobile devices increasingly include high resolution screens with pixel densities over 300ppi, which either:

  • Reduce the size of a 200x200 pixel image to only 0.7 of an inch, rendering labels and icons too small to read; or
  • Scale (zoom) the image to improve legibility, resulting in a fuzzy or pixelated image.
Too small Too fuzzy

When developing for mobile devices, you can use the API's scale parameter to return higher-resolution map images that solve the issues above. The scale value is multiplied with the size to determine the actual output size of the image in pixels, without changing the coverage area of the map. Default scale value is 1; accepted values are 1 and 2.

For example, a scale value of 2 will return the same map coverage area as a request with no scale specified, but with twice as many pixels in each dimension. This includes roads and labels, so that they're legible on high resolution, small size screens, as well as when scaled by the browser.

150x150 150x150&scale=2

Such an image will also perform well on desktop browsers, when inserted into an img or div tag with the height and width set using CSS. The browser will downsize the image to the correct size, without loss of quality.

This table shows three different image requests.

  • The first is for a 100x100 image, with no scale value specified. It displays properly on the desktop, but is too small to read on a mobile device.
  • The second doubles the map size. On the desktop, the CSS fits it into the specified 100x100 img element, but in downsizing the image, roads and labels become too small. On the mobile device, the image is the right size, but again, roads and labels are illegible.
  • The third request is for a 100x100 map with scale=2. The image is returned with 200px of detail; the desktop scales it down perfectly, so that it's indistinguishable from the original 100x100 request, while the mobile browser benefits from the additional resolution returned by the API.
Image requests
Device 100x100 200x200 100x100&scale=2
(with height="100px" and
width="100px" on the
img tag)
High Resolution

For more information about developing for mobile and high resolution displays, the following reading is recommended:

Image formats

Images may be returned in several common web graphics formats: GIF, JPEG and PNG. The format parameter takes one of the following values:

  • png8 or png (default) specifies the 8-bit PNG format.
  • png32 specifies the 32-bit PNG format.
  • gif specifies the GIF format.
  • jpg specifies the JPEG compression format.
  • jpg-baseline specifies a non-progressive JPEG compression format.

These examples request maps in gif and png formats:,-73.998672&format=gif&zoom=14&size=400x400&key=YOUR_API_KEY&signature=YOUR_SIGNATURE,-73.998672&format=png&&zoom=14&size=400x400&key=YOUR_API_KEY&signature=YOUR_SIGNATURE

jpg and jpg-baseline typically provide the smallest image size, though they do so through "lossy" compression which may degrade the image. gif, png8 and png32 provide lossless compression.

Most JPEG images are progressive, meaning that they load a coarser image earlier and refine the image resolution as more data arrives. This allows images to be loaded quickly in webpages and is the most widespread use of JPEG currently. However, some uses of JPEG require non-progressive (baseline) images. In such cases, you may want to use the jpg-baseline format, which is non-progressive.

Map types

The Maps Static API creates maps in several formats, listed below:

  • roadmap (default) specifies a standard roadmap image, as is normally shown on the Google Maps website. If no maptype value is specified, the Maps Static API serves roadmap tiles by default.
  • satellite specifies a satellite image.
  • terrain specifies a physical relief map image, showing terrain and vegetation.
  • hybrid specifies a hybrid of the satellite and roadmap image, showing a transparent layer of major streets and place names on the satellite image.

You can see the difference between roadmap and terrain types in this code example.,-73.998672&zoom=12&size=400x400&maptype=roadmap&key=YOUR_API_KEY&signature=YOUR_SIGNATURE,-73.998672&zoom=12&size=400x400&maptype=terrain&key=YOUR_API_KEY&signature=YOUR_SIGNATURE

Manhattan Normal Map  Manhattan Terrain Map

Hybrid maps use satellite images and prominent roadmap features to create a combination map. The following examples show satellite and hybrid map types:,-73.998672&zoom=12&size=400x400&maptype=satellite&key=YOUR_API_KEY&signature=YOUR_SIGNATURE,-73.998672&zoom=12&size=400x400&maptype=hybrid&key=YOUR_API_KEY&signature=YOUR_SIGNATURE

Manhattan Satellite Map  Manhattan Terrain Map

Styled maps

Customize the presentation of the standard Google map by applying your own styles. See the guide to styled maps.


The markers parameter defines a set of one or more markers (map pins) at a set of locations. Each marker defined within a single markers declaration must exhibit the same visual style; if you wish to display markers with different styles, you will need to supply multiple markers parameters with separate style information.

The markers parameter takes set of value assignments (marker descriptors) of the following format:

markers=markerStyles|markerLocation1| markerLocation2|... etc.

The set of markerStyles is declared at the beginning of the markers declaration and consists of zero or more style descriptors separated by the pipe character (|), followed by a set of one or more locations also separated by the pipe character (|).

Because both style information and location information is delimited via the pipe character, style information must appear first in any marker descriptor. Once the Maps Static API server encounters a location in the marker descriptor, all other marker parameters are assumed to be locations as well.

Marker styles

The set of marker style descriptors is a series of value assignments separated by the pipe (|) character. This style descriptor defines the visual attributes to use when displaying the markers within this marker descriptor. These style descriptors contain the following key/value assignments:

  • size: (optional) specifies the size of marker from the set {tiny, mid, small}. If no size parameter is set, the marker will appear in its default (normal) size.
  • color: (optional) specifies a 24-bit color (example: color=0xFFFFCC) or a predefined color from the set {black, brown, green, purple, yellow, blue, gray, orange, red, white}.

    Note that transparencies (specified using 32-bit hex color values) are not supported in markers, though they are supported for paths.

  • label: (optional) specifies a single uppercase alphanumeric character from the set {A-Z, 0-9}. (The requirement for uppercase characters is new to this version of the API.) Note that default and mid sized markers are the only markers capable of displaying an alphanumeric-character parameter. tiny and small markers are not capable of displaying an alphanumeric-character.

Marker scaling

The scale value is multiplied with the marker image size to produce the actual output size of the marker in pixels. Default scale value is 1; accepted values are 1, 2, and 4.

The pixel size limit on images applies after scaling is applied. For example, if the marker is set to scale:2, then the marker can be larger than the maximum size of 4096 pixels, as long as it reduces to less than 4096 pixels after scaling. Use marker scaling in conjunction with map scaling when displaying higher-resolution maps.

Marker locations

Each marker descriptor must contain a set of one or more locations defining where to place the marker on the map. These locations may be either specified as latitude/longitude values or as addresses. These locations are separated using the pipe character (|).

Note: If you choose to specify marker locations using a method that requires geocoding, such as human-readable address strings or polylines, the request is limited to a maximum of 15 markers. This limit applies only to marker locations that require geocoding. It does not apply to marker locations specified with latitude/longitude coordinates.

The location parameters define the marker's location on the map. If the location is off the map, that marker will not appear in the constructed image provided that center and zoom parameters are supplied. However, if these parameters are not supplied, the Maps Static API server will automatically construct an image which contains the supplied markers. (See Implicit positioning.)

A sample marker declaration is shown here. Note that we define one set of styles and three locations:,Brooklyn,NY&zoom=13&size=400x400&

Three Brooklyn Zipcodes

To define markers with differing styles, we need to supply multiple markers parameters. This set of markers parameters defines three markers: one blue marker labeled "S" at 62.107733, -145.5419, one tiny green marker at "Delta Junction, AK", and one mid-sized yellow marker labeled "C" at "Tok, AK". These markers are shown in this example:,-144.667969&zoom=6&size=400x400

Three Alaska Towns, Different Markers

Custom icons

Rather than use Google's marker icons, you are free to use your own custom icons instead. Custom icons are specified using the icon descriptor in the markers parameter. For example:


Specify the icon using a URL (which should be URL-encoded). You can use URLs created by URL-shortening services such as Most URL-shortening services have the advantage of automatically encoding URLs.

You may specify an anchor point for the custom icon. The anchor point sets how the icon is placed in relation to the specified markers locations. By default, the anchor point of a custom icon is the bottom center of the icon image. You can specify a different anchor point using the anchor descriptor in conjunction with your icon. Set the anchor as an x,y point of the icon (such as 10,5), or as a predefined alignment using one of the following values: top, bottom, left, right, center, topleft, topright, bottomleft, or bottomright. For example:


You can use up to five unique custom icons per request. This limitation does not mean that you are limited to only 5 marked locations on your map. Each unique icon may be used with more than one markers location on your map.

Icon format:

  • Icon images may be in PNG, JPEG or GIF formats, though PNG is recommended.
  • Icons may be up to 4096 pixels maximum size (64x64 for square images).
Custom icon examples

Example 1 creates custom icons and positions the icons using anchors.

Three Australian towns, different custom icons positioned with anchors.

Example 2 creates the same custom icons as example 1, but does not set the icon positions using anchors, relying on the default anchor of bottom center.

Three Australian towns, different custom icons with default positioning.

Maps Static API paths

The path parameter defines a set of one or more locations connected by a path to overlay on the map image. The path parameter takes set of value assignments (path descriptors) of the following format:

path=pathStyles|pathLocation1|pathLocation2|... etc.

Note that both path points are separated from each other using the pipe character (|). Because both style information and point information is delimited via the pipe character, style information must appear first in any path descriptor. Once the Maps Static API server encounters a location in the path descriptor, all other path parameters are assumed to be locations as well.

Path styles

The set of path style descriptors is a series of value assignments separated by the pipe (|) character. This style descriptor defines the visual attributes to use when displaying the path. These style descriptors contain the following key/value assignments:

  • weight: (optional) specifies the thickness of the path in pixels. If no weight parameter is set, the path will appear in its default thickness (5 pixels).
  • color: (optional) specifies a color either as a 24-bit (example: color=0xFFFFCC) or 32-bit hexadecimal value (example: color=0xFFFFCCFF), or from the set {black, brown, green, purple, yellow, blue, gray, orange, red, white}.

    When a 32-bit hex value is specified, the last two characters specify the 8-bit alpha transparency value. This value varies between 00 (completely transparent) and FF (completely opaque). Note that transparencies are supported in paths, though they are not supported for markers.

  • fillcolor: (optional) indicates both that the path marks off a polygonal area and specifies the fill color to use as an overlay within that area. The set of locations following need not be a "closed" loop; the Maps Static API server will automatically join the first and last points. Note, however, that any stroke on the exterior of the filled area will not be closed unless you specifically provide the same beginning and end location.
  • geodesic: (optional) indicates that the requested path should be interpreted as a geodesic line that follows the curvature of the earth. When false, the path is rendered as a straight line in screen space. Defaults to false.

Some example path definitions:

  • Thin blue line, 50% opacity: path=color:0x0000ff80|weight:1
  • Solid red line: path=color:0xff0000ff|weight:5
  • Solid thick white line: path=color:0xffffffff|weight:10

These path styles are optional. If default attributes are desired, you may skip defining the path attributes; in that case, the path descriptor's first "argument" will consist instead of the first declared point (location).

Path points

In order to draw a path, the path parameter must also be passed two or more points. The Maps Static API will then connect the path along those points, in the specified order. Each pathPoint is denoted in the pathDescriptor separated by the | (pipe) character.

The following example defines a blue path with default 50% opacity from Union Square NY to Times Square, NY.

Path from Union Sq to Times Sq

The specifics of the path parameter are:


The following example defines the same path instead defining a solid red line with 100% opacity:

Path from Union Sq to Times Sq

The specifics of this path parameter are:


The next example defines a polygonal area within Manhattan, passed a series of intersections as locations:

Path from Union Sq to Times Sq

The specifics of this path parameter are:


Note that we set the path itself to be invisible and the polygonal area to have a 15% opacity.

Encoded polylines

Instead of a series of locations, you may instead declare a path as an encoded polyline by using the enc: prefix within the location declaration of the path.

The following example outlines the course of the Alaska Highway from Dawson Creek, BC to Delta Junction, AK with an encoded polyline:

Alaska Highway

As with standard paths, encoded polyline paths may also demarcate polygonal areas if a fillcolor argument is passed to the path parameter.

The following example outlines a polygonal area for Brooklyn, NY:
&path=fillcolor:0xAA000033%7Ccolor:0xFFFFFF00%7Cenc:}zswFtikbMjJzZ%7CRdPfZ}DxWvBjWpF~IvJnEvBrMvIvUpGtQpFhOQdKpz@bIx{A%7CPfYlvApz@bl@tcAdTpGpVwQtX}i@%7CGen@lCeAda@bjA%60q@v}@rfAbjA%7CEwBpbAd_@he@hDbu@uIzWcWtZoTdImTdIwu@tDaOXw_@fc@st@~VgQ%7C[uPzNtA%60LlEvHiYyLs^nPhCpG}SzCNwHpz@cEvXg@bWdG%60]lL~MdTmEnCwJ[iJhOae@nCm[%60Aq]qE_pAaNiyBuDurAuB }}Ay%60@%7CEKv_@?%7C[qGji@lAhYyH%60@Xiw@tBerAs@q]jHohAYkSmW?aNoaAbR}LnPqNtMtIbRyRuDef@eT_z@mW_Nm%7CB~j@zC~hAyUyJ_U{Z??cPvg@}s@sHsc@_z@cj@kp@YePoNyYyb@_iAyb@gBw^bOokArcA}GwJuzBre@i\tf@sZnd@oElb@hStW{]vv@??kz@~vAcj@zKa%60Atf@uQj_Aee@pU_UrcA

Brooklyn Encoded Polyline with signature


Images may specify a viewport by specifying visible locations using the visible parameter. The visible parameter instructs the Maps Static API service to construct a map such that the existing locations remain visible. (This parameter may be combined with existing markers or paths to define a visible region as well.) Defining a viewport in this manner obviates the need to specify an exact zoom level.

The next example requests a map centered on Boston, MA containing both MIT and Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA:,MA

Cambridge Map

Implicit positioning of the map

Normally, you need to specify center and zoom URL parameters to define the location and zoom level of your generated map. However, if you supply markers, path, or visible parameters, you can instead let the Maps Static API determine the correct center and zoom level implicitly, based on evaluation of the position of these elements.

If supplying two or more elements, the Maps Static API will determine a proper center and zoom level, providing generous margins for the elements contained. This example displays a map containing San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, CA:\

Road Map

Larger image sizes

If you need images with sizes larger than 640 x 640 pixels (or 1280 x 1280 pixels with a scale value of 2), please contact the support team and provide the following information:

  1. Your use case and why you need large size images.
  2. Whether you considered using other Google Maps Platform APIs (Maps JavaScript API, Maps Embed API, Maps SDK for Android, or Maps SDK for iOS) and why don't they meet your needs.
  3. Screenshots, mocks, or samples of how you will use large size images.
  4. Your estimated monthly usage for large size images.

We will review your request based on the information you provide and determine if your use case complies with Google Maps Platform Terms of Service.

The maximum size we can provide is 2048 x 2048 pixels.

Troubleshooting and support

For more information on using the Maps Static API, take a look at the support page.

The Maps Static API may issue an error or warning when something goes wrong. You should check for warnings in particular if you notice that something is missing from the map. It's also a good idea to check for warnings before launching a new application. Note that the warnings may not be immediately apparent because they appear in the HTTP header. For more information, see the guide to errors and warnings.