FileMaker and Google Maps are both incredible platforms, and a full integration offers amazing possibilities. Doing it properly is very difficult.
There are many FileMaker solutions that involve waypoints – service calls, inspections, deliveries, etc. FileMaker is a great platform for managing this kind of data.
Google Maps is an outstanding tool for visualizing that data (by displaying those waypoints on a map) optimizing it (organizing the stops into the quickest possible route) and calculating times, distances, etc.
There are tremendous benefits to integrating a FileMaker solution with the Google Maps platform. A database that keeps track of service calls or deliveries could feed the waypoint data into Google Maps and get back an optimized list, times, etc.
And doing it isn't very hard – the waypoint data can simply be sent into a FileMaker web viewer, and Google Maps does the rest. There are a number of approaches and products for this, all designed to make getting the waypoint data into Google Maps easier.
There is also a lot of room for improvement. A big part of that is getting data back from the map. Sending data from FileMaker to Google Maps is relatively easy, getting it back is much harder.
Why would you even want to get data from Google Maps back into a FileMaker solution? Imagine the goal of the solution was to optimize a list of deliveries (organize them into the shortest, fastest, most efficient route).... fairly easy. Just send the delivery data into Google Maps and it will do the rest.
But it would be even better if you could then sort the FileMaker records according to this new optimization order. You might even want to go one step further and get projected distances and times into the FileMaker records. That means getting data from Google Maps back into FileMaker, and this is much more difficult.
Another very important consideration is what Google calls page loads. You are only allowed so many of these, and using more starts to get very expensive.
For a traditional web app, where the map is embedded onto a page viewed through a browser, this isn't an issue. When the visitor first gets to that page it's one page load. The visitor then interacts with the data (adding waypoints, etc.)in that window. This does not involve additional page loads.
the FileMaker web viewer is very different because, by default, it triggers a new page load each time it pushes a change to the Google map. Imagine a FileMaker solution with a portal of deliveries. The user toggles these in/out of a Google Map where they are optimized.
Each and every time FileMaker pushes that change to Google Maps it is considered a new page load. This impacts performance, and can greatly increase costs.
Delfs Engineering is renowned FileMaker development and consulting company. They are often considered a "developer's developer" meaning that other FileMaker developers hire them to solve the problems that they can't.
In this role Delfs recently solved all of the problems above. They have a unique approach to FileMaker/Google Maps Integration that minimizes page loads (and the associated costs) and facilitates two-way communication between FileMaker and Google Maps. It's the kind of full-featured and cost-aware Google Maps integration FileMaker developers have been waiting for.