How Do I Create a Heat Map in Google Maps?

A heat map is a visualization technique that shows the density of data at geographical points. Most mapping programs offer a heat map tool as a function of their analysis features. Unfortunately, Google Maps does not have a heat map feature built into its functionality. However, you can create a heat map layer on your Google Map using the Maps JavaScript API.

The Maps JavaScript API makes it possible for you to customize a Google Map using JavaScript programming. Naturally, therefore, you need to be familiar with this method of coding.


Create a Heat Map in Google Maps with JavaScript API

Create a Heat Map in Google Maps with JavaScript API

To create a heat map in Google Maps, you will need to build a Heatmap Layer. When this layer is enabled, a colored overlay will appear on top of the map. The default appearance of the Heatmap Layer shows areas of higher intensity in red and areas of lower intensity in green.

Step 1:

The Heatmap Layer is found in the google.maps.visualization library. It is not loaded by default. This library is self-contained and, therefore, separate from the main Maps JavaScript API code. Therefore, to employ this functionality, you need to load it first with the libraries parameter in the Maps JavaScript API bootstrap URL:

<script async

src=”https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/js?key=YOUR_API_KEY&libraries=visualization&callback=initMap”>

</script>

Step 2:

The next step is to add a Heatmap Layer to your map. To do this, you first need to create a new HeatmapLayer object and give it some geographic data in the form of an MVCArray[] object or an array. The data can be either a WeightedLocation object or a LatLng object. Once you’ve created the HeatmapLayer object, you need to add it to the map through the setMap() method.

The following example shows how to add 14 data points to a map of San Francisco. However, you could also create zip code heat maps by replacing the LatLng with WeightedLocation and including zip code information.

/* Data points defined as an array of LatLng objects */

var heatmapData = [

new google.maps.LatLng(37.782, -122.447),

new google.maps.LatLng(37.782, -122.445),

new google.maps.LatLng(37.782, -122.443),

new google.maps.LatLng(37.782, -122.441),

new google.maps.LatLng(37.782, -122.439),

new google.maps.LatLng(37.782, -122.437),

new google.maps.LatLng(37.782, -122.435),

new google.maps.LatLng(37.785, -122.447),

new google.maps.LatLng(37.785, -122.445),

new google.maps.LatLng(37.785, -122.443),

new google.maps.LatLng(37.785, -122.441),

new google.maps.LatLng(37.785, -122.439),

new google.maps.LatLng(37.785, -122.437),

new google.maps.LatLng(37.785, -122.435)

];

var sanFrancisco = new google.maps.LatLng(37.774546, -122.433523);

map = new google.maps.Map(document.getElementById(‘map'), {

center: sanFrancisco,

zoom: 13,

mapTypeId: ‘satellite'

});

var heatmap = new google.maps.visualization.HeatmapLayer({

data: heatmapData

});

heatmap.setMap(map);

Step 3:

There are several options for customizing your heatmap. They are:

  • gradient:You can customize the color gradient of the heat map by specifying the array of CSS color strings.
  • radius:You can add the radius of influence for every data point.
  • maxIntensity:You can set the maximum intensity of your heatmap by modifying the default heatmap colors.
  • opacity:You can customize the opacity of the heatmap by expressing it as a number between 0 and 1.

Alternatives to JavaScript API

Alternatives to JavaScript API

If you absolutely want to create a heat map in Google Maps, and you don’t want to learn JavaScript API, you can search for a mapping program that uses Google Maps and features a heat mapping tool. These programs will let you create a map and then employ their heat map function to the map data.

Some examples of mapping software applications with heat mapping tools include:

  • Maptive
  • Maptitude
  • EasyMapMaker
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