Does Google Maps Include Time Zone Changes?

by Serm Murmson

Google Maps does not present its user with visual time zone boundaries. This can lead to confusion, especially in the event of planning a trip. Thankfully, time zone data does exist within the Google Maps Application Programming Interface. You can request any location's time zone data through the Google Maps API. In order to do this, you must understand the structure of these API requests. If you have precise knowledge of time zone borders, you can make your own time zone map using Google Map Maker.

Google Maps API

Like other APIs, the Google Maps API is a series of commands and data transfer standards. Time zone data is stored in the Google Maps API database, and can be accessed via an HTTPS request. The HTTPS request must take the following form: https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/timezone/outputFormat?parameters. For example, the request https://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/timezone/json?location=36.4072,-105.5725&timestamp=1371946476&sensor=false uses the latitude and longitude of Taos, New Mexico with a timestamp of June 22, 2013.

Formats of Google Maps API Time Zone Requests

The two possible data formats for Google Maps API requests are Javascript Object Notation and XML. Depending on a programmer's coding approach, data stored in JSON format can be easier to integrate with other programming languages. XML, on the other hand, is extensible. This means that new tags and attributes are allowed. Depending on the nature of your data processing, you may or may not have a clear preference for one language over the other when making a time zone request.

Time Zone Request Parameters and Response

The three required parameters that you must send with your request are location, timestamp and sensor. The location parameter includes the latitude and longitude of the location in question. The timestamp parameter describes the time, in seconds, from midnight on January 1, 1970. The sensor parameter describes whether GPS is involved for describing the location of the user. The response to the request will include, among other data, the timeZoneName, which conveys the official time zone of the desired location.

Overlays and Map Maker

Independent of making individual API requests for specific coordinate pairs, you can create your own time zone maps using Google Map Maker. Map Maker supports drawing lines and paths. Therefore, you can create and label time zone lines on a custom map. Then, you can save your map both for either public or private use.

About the Author

Serm Murmson is a writer, thinker, musician and many other things. He has a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of Chicago. His concerns include such things as categories, language, descriptions, representation, criticism and labor. He has been writing professionally since 2008.

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