I need to find out the limitation of working with the Google Maps API, and the possible solutions for doing semi-complex spatial comparisons.

What I'm looking to achieve is a system of comparison that will allow the querying of overlapping user-defined spatial polygons upon a given point (A residential address).

Basically, a restaurant will have a given delivery area who's parameter will be defined by X geo-coordinates. An address is represented by a single point (x, y).

I've been advised that the best back-end for these type of spatial comparisons is postGIS; however, upon reviewing the terms and condition set by the Google Maps API, it is not clear if you are allowed to store the geocoordinate response Google provides.


10.1.3 - For example, you must not use the Content to create an independent database of “places.” ... yet,

..except that you may store: (i) limited amounts of Content for the purpose of improving the performance of your Maps API Implementation if you do so temporarily, securely, and in a manner that does not permit use of the Content outside of the Service

My question(s) are:

Has anyone had any experience working with spatial polygons and Google Fusion Tables?

Has anyone had experience working with the Google Places API, does it enable these types of comparisons?

Because the geo coordinates are being captured when a Google Map is displayed, and then being stored to be used in conjunction with more complete Google Map, does this fall within the 'terms of use' laid out by Google?

I'm very keen on using Google Maps, with the prospect of subscribing to the premium service given the success of my application. Has anyone else had experience with these types of calculations, is there something that I'm missing?

  • 1
    I like the completeness of your question. +1
    – Brad Nesom
    Oct 31, 2011 at 22:06

1 Answer 1


I don't have experience with the Google Places API, but I do have some experience with the Google Maps API and Google Fusion Tables.

When you upload a table to a Fusion Table, it can include tables with a spatial (geometry) element like KMLs or shapefiles (although, you do have to use a conversion to get a shapefile directly into a Fusion Table). Once there, you can assign symbologies and pop-up features. Fusion Tables support points, lines, and polygons.

Fusion Table layers are brought into the Google Maps API by javascript commands. You can also setup query functions for Fusion Tables using javascript. You can query pretty much any of the fields found in a Fusion Table. For example, you can have an html table of contents in which you select a query on a specific Fusion Table layer and then display the results of that query.

If you plan on creating/drawing features dynamically on a Google Maps API, I'm not sure how you will need to write your javascript to have it extract or interact with Fusion Table layers.

I'm also not sure if what you want to accomplish in some way violates the terms of use. It sounds like you want to use Google's geocoding service, but I don't know about the limitations there.

Anyway, I hope this helps to answer some of your questions. Hopefully, some others who are more familiar with the other questions can answer more fully.

Edit: Just found this link/discussion of querying Fusion Tables that may useful.


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