Blog | Steps to Generate Your Google API Key

Updated on December 21, 2018

As of June 11, 2018, Google implemented new pricing guidelines for their various services related to Google Earth. Users of Virtual CRASH 4 prior to May 2018 likely received an email from Google with subject “[Action Required] Changes to your Google Maps APIs account” where these changes were announced. Users must now create a billing account with an associated credit card number to use Google API services. While Virtual CRASH 4 users are unlikely to accrue any charges from Google, as it would require creating nearly 1000 150x150 Google terrain elevation maps per month (see:, users must still associate a credit card number with their Google Cloud Platform account to continue using the Google Earth API services. This blog post reviews the steps involved to create a Google API key. The interface depicted below is as of August 2018

It is important to carefully follow the steps exactly as shown below. Note, Google’s API & services interface may change from time to time, but the process of enabling the required APIs should look approximately the same as depicted below.

You can access the Google Earth feature by going to Create > Google > Google Maps.

Next, you should see the “Google Settings” pop up box appear.

If you do not see the “Google Settings” pop up box, you can access it by pressing the Google icon button in the upper right corner of the Google Earth window. Note, if you see a Google Earth image displayed with the words “For development purposes only”, this is an indication that your API key is not working or needs to be input into the API key field of the “Google Settings” pop up box. Again, you can access the “Google Settings” pop up box by pressing the Google icon in the upper right corner.

If you already have an API key, enter it into the “API key” field and press “OK”. If you do not have an API key, press the “Get API key” button in the Google settings prompt:

This will automatically launch your web browser and take you to the Google Cloud Platform login screen. You can simply login using your existing Google account, or make a new Google account specifically for this purpose if you wish. 

Left-click on the “Sign In” button. 

Sign in to your Google account. If you don’t already have a Google account, you will need to create one.

Left-click on the “Go to Console” button.

Agree to the terms of service.

Left-click on the “Select a project” dropdown menu button.

Left-click on “New Project”.

Name your project. If you have an organization associated with your Google account, you can also associate the project with your organization; otherwise, leave this as “No organization”. Left-click on “Create”. 

Use the project selection dropdown menu to select your new project. Here our project is named “My Project”. Left-click on the navigation menu icon in the upper left. Next, left-click on “APIs & Services” then “Dashboard”. 

The dashboard is essentially the homepage for all of your API services. For example, you can monitor the number of times you request map data from Google. You can also use the dashboard to verify that the required APIs have been enabled. You will see by default, you have API services already populating the dashboard. Don’t be concerned with these.

Next, left-click on “Library”. This will take you to the API library. 

This will take you to the API library.

In the search field, type “Maps JavaScript API”. You should see the box appear for this API. Left-click on the box. 

Next, left-click on “Enable”. 

Go back to the API library again. 

Now search for “Maps Static API”. Left-click on the corresponding box.

Again, press “Enable”. 

Again, return to the library. 

Finally, search for “Maps Elevation API”. Left-click on the corresponding box. 

Left-click on “Enable”. 

Return to the dashboard.

Scroll down to confirm the three APIs have been enabled. 

As of December 2018, you will also need to add the Geocoding API.

Note, setting up the API key setup process requires you to enable:

(1) Maps JavaScript API, (2) Static Maps API, (3) Maps Elevation API, and (4) Geocoding API

Failing to enable one of these will likely result in a JavaScript error reported in the Google Earth import tool. If you see an error, carefully repeat the steps shown above.

Obtaining the API Key

Next, left-click on “Credentials”. 

Left-click on the “Create credentials” dropdown menu and left-click “API key”. 

Copy the API key by left-clicking on the “Copy” button. 

Paste the Key into the Google Settings window and press “OK”. 

Set up a Billing Account

At this stage, you will likely see a “Oops! Something went wrong” error. This is because we need to associate a billing account to the project. Users who have set up API keys in the past may also see this error if billing hasn’t been set up.

Left-click on the navigation menu icon in the upper left, then left-click on “Billing”. 

Left-click on “Link a billing account”. 

Next, left-click on “Create a billing account”. 

Agree to the terms of service.

Enter your billing information.

After you’ve confirmed your payment information left-click on “Start my free trial”. A new screen should appear. 

Left-click on “Go to linked billing account”. 

Left-click on “Confirm”. 

Finally, after verifying all of your information, left-click on “Submit and enable billing”. 

Once this is done, after about one minute or so, the Google Maps feature in Virtual CRASH 4 should work. Re-start Virtual CRASH 4 and try the feature again.