Google Opens Up Maps API, SDK for Developers to Create Location-Based Games Like Pokemon Go


  • The rollout has been divided into three parts
  • Google Maps has collaborated with Unity for the SDK
  • The API will use Maps signals to determine game elements

Pokemon Go and other location-based games have been gaining popularity globally, with millions of users hooked on to them. Google is looking to further push the market by opening up its omnipresent Maps platform to developers to help them create these location-based games with a reliable tool. With the announcement, Google is opening up access to real-time Google Maps data, launching a Maps-oriented Software Development Kit (SDK), and unveiling a new API to help developers create relevant gameplay.

Google has divided its gaming-focused Maps platform into three parts. The first one will include providing access to real-time Google Maps data. The second part entails a new SDK in collaboration with game development platform Unity. The SDK is said to be partially self-sufficient with “no Google Maps expertise needed” for developers. And, finally, a new API has been released that will aid gameplay creation in real-world locations on Google Maps.


Google emphasises that the Unity collaboration will offer a great deal of customisation to developers as it will convert major elements such as building and roads into objects for them to tweak. This was showed off in a demo where maps were seen to be transformed into fantasy and sci-fi landscapes with dragons and other extensive elements, The Verge reports.

Apart from that, the API is expected to use Google Maps signals to determine what locations work best for the game with dynamic scenarios. It can help developers decide on placement of things like spawn spots, missions locations, and other points of interest.

According to the report, Google had received numerous requests for access to Google Maps APIs around the time Pokemon Go went viral, about a couple of years back. The company believes opening up access will help a great deal of prospective developers who are looking to create the next big location-based game.