How Google Map API And Android Based Mobile APPS Help Real Estate Industries

by Aryan Panchal, Group Head IT, Ashok Piramal Group

With a background of 18 years of experience in core IT team, Aryan has strong managerial and techno-commercial skills with an MBA, B.Com and Engineering Diploma in Computer Technology.

API stands for Application Programming Interface. It’s the interface through which one can access someone else’s coded (Programmed) functionality which is explicitly exposed by public methods and properties. It enables easy integration between 2 or more applications without re-writing functionality or without requiring to know how-to of the functionality.

Apart from many APIs available for Real Estate use, Google Maps API is almost a must to have and widely used APIs in the Android Apps. Showing rather than telling is the key to understanding real estate. Google Maps helps to visualize the real estate landscape through the use of internalized data that is already available. The Google Maps API allows us to leverage Google’s huge library of street and satellite maps for an Apps. The API is available in native Android and iOS versions as well as a cross-platform JavaScript option.

The Google Maps API power-up App with full access to Google’s worldwide database of over 100 million business listings and points of interest. Nearby restaurants, airports, supermarket, ATM and filtered list of places can be provided to users which are more relevant.

With Google’s Map API, maps can be added in the apps in a number of interesting ways"

Apart from Basic map facilities, Google offers 4 types of custom layering on top of Google maps which can be used by developers as per their Business need. Below is the Layer by layer description as to how one can utilized various layers provided by Google to display required information.

4th Layer : Property Location, offices, etc.
3rd Layer : Floor plans, development site plan
2nd Layer : Property sales data,land parcel, Real estate projects.
1st Layer : Publicly available info : crime rate,hospitals, local services Lowest layer

Some Use cases on Real Estate applications of Google Maps API

There are essentially three aspects in the concept of real estate (Henry Assael, 1984; Burnkrant, R. E. & Alain, C., 1975). First is the house’s natural quality such as the number of floors, house price, general location and so on. Second is the location in detail such as the address. Last is the property information of house, builder/owner and so on. In addition it may also include transportation, geographic placement, local school districts and other vital information. According to the housing search, decision-making of the purchasing procedure generally is decided based on the type: town house, apartment or villa, the indoor space: number of rooms (Google API layer 2), the location: urban district or suburb or with particular community (layer 1 & 4) as well as the quality: building age, bathroom, kitchen equipment, air conditioning and other factors ( layer 2 & 3) along with various other qualifications deemed fit by the developers relevancy.

Although physically verifying property and observing is the only true way of examining it, there can be obstacles in actually performing this task. First, the potential buyer may not in position to visit each and every house due to various reasons. Then both the parties must agree on particular date/time which is again difficult if not easy.

Therefore, it is important and it saves time, effort & money to get all the pertinent information before hand. This is where Google Map API helps if programmed properly taking care of above three aspects. User can shortlist properties based on above criteria and shortlist best few, which he can physically observe and finalize. This is not only beneficial to developer but also to user and best win-win scenario.

Brokers can build custom maps displaying all the listings their customers are interested in visiting. They can also internally plan itineraries on App for showing properties.

With Google’s Map API, maps can be added in  the apps in a number of interesting ways i.e. data visualization. Maps do more than let people visualize a geographic location. It’s a way in which one see data in the context of how it affects the world around us. For example only tabular report of sales - project wise or geographic location wise will make less understanding than if it is mapped on map. Immediately one can analyse which location is hit having nearby railway station, airport or major highway.

As from 22 June 2016, all calls to the Google Maps API require an API key. Two API keys required are: 1) Google Maps Android/iOS/ JavaScript API key which is used to display map. 2) Google Maps Geocoding server key, it’s necessary to translate addresses into geographical locations and vice-e-versa.

As no good things comes free, Google API is also not completely free. It comes with Free & Paid version. With free version Mobile App/Website can load up to 2500 maps/directions per day. Post this it’s chargeable. However, 2500 maps loads will be more than enough for most of the developers.

Thus we have seen that Google Maps API helps in creating remarkable applications and can address lots of practical problems, which are limited just by creativity. Using various available features, one can create new types of visualizations that makes data come alive. Users can see patterns that might have been invisible earlier and these patterns can give business a substantial edge.