Last year, Google introduced an easy way to add local information to your maps: Local Context. A combination of the best from Maps, Routes, and Places, Local Context allows you to customize your maps to give your users the best opportunities to explore the local area.
Google recently shared the most commonly asked questions about Local Context, and in this blog, we answer them for you.
Is it possible to exclude certain specific locations - for example my competitors?
While it is possible to exclude specific place types, you will not be able to exclude specific locations such as your competitors or other less desirable locations. As an example, you can remove a place type such as restaurants from the map, but you cannot only choose to exclude the specific restaurant just across the street from your own.
Can Local Context be customized to let the user choose only what they need?
Yes. Besides customizing your map to only show place types that you deem useful to your users, you can choose to enable or disable other features of the Local Context layer. This includes allowing users the option to select place types they want to explore around the neighborhood of your business. Maybe they’re considering booking a room in a hotel, but would like to find out if its location is close to tourist attractions or night clubs? With this type of customization, the user will be able to control what’s important to them.
Will the Local Context layer reload when zooming in on or panning the map?
By default, the Local Context layer does not reload when zooming or panning the map. However, Google Maps recently added a feature that allows the layer to reload either automatically or based on the user’s own inputs.
What are the bounds of a Local Context layer? Is the Local Context layer based on a geography or bounding box?
Local Context will by default use the Map’s viewport as the location data boundary. If you wish to provide your own location data boundary, Local Context can be configured to use that instead of its own default. You are able to define yourself whether the Local Context later should be based on a geography or bounding box, which can be configured at load time.
Can I integrate the Local Context layer in a react JS project?
Right now, there are no React components that support Local Context. However, if you use vanilla JS to customize the load script URL while using the Local Context classes, you should be able to mix it into your React project.
Which types of travel does Local Context support?
For now, Local Context is only available for walking directions. Google states that support for other travel modes are currently being explored and that news regarding this can hopefully be shared soon.
Can I configure and customize the Local Context Map like the regular Dynamic Map?
Yes. The Local Context Map can be configured and styled the same way as you can with a regular Dynamic Map. The Local Context Map comes with a default style and configuration, but it supports the same type of map options as the Dynamic Map.
Where is the Local Context layer available?
The Local Context layer is available and can surface local information all over the world thanks for Google Maps Platform global coverage. Google Maps’ data has information from more than 200M places and is based on more than 25 million data refreshes every day.
Are you interested in the Local Context layer and want to know more? Our Google Maps experts are always ready to help you out, so don’t hesitate to reach out.