Google has released a new API for Google Maps designed to relieve developers of the burden of maintaining their own repositories for geographical data.
The Maps Data API (application programming interface) lets developers create client-side applications that tap data hosted by Google.
"You shouldn't have to worry about maintaining a data store to build a cool Google Maps mashup. Focus on building the client, and we'll provide hosting and bandwidth for free," wrote Taj Campbell, from the Google Maps Data API team, on Wednesday.
In addition, geodata stored via the Maps Data API can be accessed via a variety of devices and platforms, and is indexed and made available in Google Maps, according to the company.
The API is an early release, as indicated by Google's decision to slap a "Labs" label on it, and the company plans to significantly expand and enhance its functionality in the future.
"In the meantime, we hope you'll get an early start in developing new applications and pushing the boundaries of the API," Campbell wrote.
Applications that can take advantage of geographical data have become increasingly popular, particularly when accessed via mobile devices.
People find them useful for discovering places when they are on the road, like nearby restaurants, which is also appealing for advertisers, which can target potential customers who are in the vicinity of their establishments.