I am working on a local design project and need to determine if someone is local to my area to allow them to participate. Local, as defined by the group, means that the person is within 2 hr driving time based on Google Maps to 32 Vassar St., Cambridge, MA.

While I can figure out how to get travel times from point to point, I cannot seem to figure out if there is a way to create a polygon that displays the region which we consider local.

Any ideas on how to do this using Google tools?

  • That is an interesting problem, but would be time consuming and costly to determine every possible result. Why not create a buffer? Jul 23, 2010 at 22:29

7 Answers 7


Google's tools do not provide any way to do this kind of thing built in. While you might be able to do this by routing to a sufficient number of locations and checking the time, another tool that you might be interested in is Graphserver. GraphServer is a multimodal trip planner, which can take data from OpenStreetMap and other data sources. Some of the gallery images show growing shortest-path distance routing, and this is based on a similar metric.

The Google Group would be the appropriate place to discuss the possibilities of using this tool.

Note that this is not a pre-baked tool; it will likely require some investigation and work to get it to solve your problem, but the tool can be used to do it.

  • Thanks for the useful information. I figured that this was not possible, but it was worth asking to be sure.
    – GuidoS
    Jul 26, 2010 at 3:23

Take a look at the Mapnificent API.

Mapnificent provides dynamic public transport travel time maps for many cities in the US and some world wide. You can use the Mapnificent API to augment your Google Maps application with public transport travel time overlays.overlays.

Take a look at London here. alt text


Have you tried the Route360°-API? It can be used to display a layer of travel time polygons on Google maps and it is free. There is a short tutorial on how to use the API. Maybe that helps.

enter image description here


Disclaimer: I work for iGeolise (creators of the API).

Without sending a lot of API calls to the Google API this will be difficult to do. You can use the TravelTime platform API to create drive time polygons on a map. I've attached an example of 2 hour drive time from Central London (we used Leaflet for the map, but it can be applied to any map)

Depending on how detailed you need the map to be, there's a free map generator tool that allows you to request a map or just contact the main page for an API key.

London drive times

  • 1
    Central London to Coventry? This must be in a Ferrari on christmas day :-) Still, cool tool. Apr 8, 2016 at 13:39
  • Hi John - great spot and you're right, getting from Central London to Coventry at certain times of day is impossible! This particular map was made assuming the driver left at 3pm on a Wednesday using average traffic levels. The shape would get considerably smaller during rush hour periods. Jun 15, 2016 at 10:15

ESRI has published a geoprocessing sample server that produces "Drive time polygons".

It's got Cambridge MA roads, so you could probably take this:


And mash it into what you need.


Here's something that might work: http://www.freemaptools.com/how-far-can-i-travel.htm

  • Anyone has any idea what libraries / tools they used to implement their system?
    – ejel
    Feb 25, 2011 at 16:33

We finally gave up trying to find something on the web and went ahead and built our own drive time polygon service using OSM road network data and POSTGIS. I am happy to share details of how we built it if you message me direct. Also here is how we packaged it up with Google Maps premium extension to give you idea:


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.