May 18, 2023

WebGL: Bringing Maps to Life for Delightful Experiences

WebGL is a JavaScript API for interactive 2D and 3D graphics rendering in web browsers. It enables fast rendering of complex scenes with real-time lighting, shadows, and reflections, directly within the browser, without the need for plugins.

With WebGL, developers can create maps that include dynamic animations, complex data visualisations, and custom 3D models. This allows for more engaging and interactive map experiences that provide users with a better understanding of their data and surroundings.


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This set of new WebGL-powered maps features for the Maps JavaScript API give you unprecedented control of the vector basemap, as part of the customization and styling options available with Cloud-based maps styling. Some of the features it includes are:

  • Tilt and Rotation, which lets you and your users move the map in three dimensions
  • Move Camera, which gives you the ability to control the perspective of the viewpoint, as well as create smooth camera animations
  • WebGL Overlay View, which exposes direct hooks into the lifecycle of the WebGL rendering context of the map, so you can render 2D and 3D objects directly on the map with depth and occlusion

To sum up, WebGL is a powerful technology that enables developers to create high-performance and visually stunning maps on the web.

You can give it a try by loading the API from the beta channel, or accessing the new codelab, and documentation with all the details, as well as sample code and end-to-end example apps to help you get started. Also, be sure to check out the Google Maps Platform feature tour and travel demos to learn more and play with a real implementation of these features.

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