Google Map Direction API

GOAL: Make a call to Google Map API to get the duration time of a transit travel between two geolocations

I’ve been working on making adding a feature to Rideminder – having an estimated time to double check along with the distance. I want to do this so I’m not solely dependent on Firebase and if Firebase goes down for a bit, I have a back up.

So I started with research on how to make Google Map Direction API calls. It turns out I can get a response in either XML or Json and since I used XML already in my project, I thought that Json would be fun to learn.

docsThe docs are super simple and I went straight to the tab for “travel time.” It had a great example of how to make the API call and what actually comes out from that. The example in the docs had actual addresses, so I had to google what it would look like with geolocation, which wasn’t difficult.

I wrote a quick script using these libraries:

  • simplejson – this will encode and decode json using python
  • urllib – this will get the data from the internet and lets you “open” it
  • json – this also encode and decodes json, but it different methods, I used the json.loads method
  • pprint – this makes it easier to read the json object, it gives it nice spaces

jsonpprintI was able to make the API call and I got back a beautiful json object with all the data! YEAH! So I ran it in python -i (which makes it interactive) and I played around calling my json to be able to pull out just the duration time. So my example has a duration of “22 mins.” I split it up so now I have u’22.playingwithjson
So I think I’ll use milliseconds for my timestamp so I can add the duration time in milliseconds to the current time so I can get do time.time which gives me the seconds since the epoch as a floating point number.

milliseconds*NOTE: make sure you change your split[0] list into an int so you can actually get the milliseconds vs getting whatever number you have printed out 6000 times*

Once I was able to get the duration time into milliseconds and add it to the current time, I was done. I spent some time modularizing my code so it can be more generic.

Ta da!


Click to get my working script


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