It's not free, but it's very easy to use and the pricing is roughly 1/10th of Google's when you get past the free tier: https://www.mapbox.com/pricing/
Mapzen used to be an alternative but sadly they shut down. However many of their products live on in open source or paid-hosted alternatives. See https://www.nextzen.org/ for a start.
Note - I work at Mapbox
We offer geocoding, especially autocomplete, with much more liberal usage restrictions than either Mapquest or Google, and some pretty powerful features like address interpolation.
As we're still really getting the platform around the geocoder off the ground, we don't have a permanent free tier, but I'd be happy to set anyone up with a demo key if they are looking for something new.
Google's pricing is insane after this change -- $7 per 1000 map views!?!?! Did they add an extra zero accidentally?
So, here we have people who built around Google Maps wishing the prices were only tripled. I'm not yet sure what we will do, but we'll try to improvise something from less-featureful maps before we'll build a nest out on a Google branch and dare them to cut it off. I'm glad I learned my lesson from the experiences of others before this even happened. This is a great reminder about the hazards of designing around single-source, critical inputs.
I was a Mapzen customer, their pricing model was great, very sorry to see it go.
Does any such general navigation app using Mapbox exist? Basically a vector OpenStreetMap with good search and routing.
As you see, it's not exactly built for this type of usage, but it is supported and the app is generally considered as the best alternative out there, so it might be worth a try!
So the other option is to self-host tools using OpenStreetMap data. Some pointers:
* Raster tiled maps: the canonical instructions are at switch2osm.org; put it on commodity hardware such as Hetzner/OVH.
* Vector maps: a lot of development in this area at the moment and you could happily lose yourself for days among all the emerging solutions, but probably the easiest out-of-the-box solution is openmaptiles.org.
* Geocoding: Photon (https://github.com/komoot/photon) is the easiest to set up because it comes with precompiled indexes - no need to generate your own. Based on ElasticSearch, needs SSD for reasonable performance.
* Routing: OSRM (Mapbox's routing engine) and Graphhopper are both self-hostable. OSRM is very RAM-hungry, but blazingly fast.
This is just a start - there are many more options available, not least the whole stack developed by Mapzen before they shut down. The raw OSM data is downloadable from planet.openstreetmap.org (full dump) or http://download.geofabrik.de/ (regional extracts).
Worth noting as well that there are a few well-established and competitively priced indie providers based on OSM: Thunderforest (http://thunderforest.com/), Geofabrik (http://geofabrik.de/), Graphhopper (https://www.graphhopper.com/).
Valhalla was nice in that it could preprocess and serve results with only a few GB of RAM, but it could only handle <1rps as the end was more than a few miles from the start since it doesn’t use contraction hierarchies.
OSRM was super fast, especially for very short routes (>1k rps on a single core) but it requires 300+GB of RAM to preprocess the world and 64GB of RAM to serve direction requests which gets a bit too expensive for me.
Graphhopper was nearly as fast as OSRM for short routes, but just as fast for longer routes. It can preprocess the world with only 64GB of RAM, and can serve direction requests happily on machine with only 16GB of RAM.
I ended up going with Graphhopper, but still may need to shut down my site...
For resources to preprocess the world I ran Valhalla on my laptop and it preprocessed the world overnight. For graphhopper I kept running it on bigger and bigger digitalocean droplets until it just barely finished on their $640/month 64gb cpu-optimized droplet in about 12h. I didn’t even try osrm after reading that it needed about 300gb of ram.
Let me know if you have any better findings!
We’re a new startup this year, and one of our goals is transparent and reasonable pricing.
Since google admits that 98% of current users will continue to incur 0 cost this is simply a blatant way of getting a real name associated with their user data.
> this is simply a blatant way of getting a real name associated with their user data
Or maybe it's a way to control access to their systems in a more reasonable and auditable way, and prevent some abuse too.
Disclosure: I work in Google Cloud, not on this
Back before github and dropbox took off, anyway.
Not assuming the worst as default will only make matters worse. Even if Google has very good and honest intentions with gathering this information at this time, you have to assume the inevitability of that changing in future, either under duress of corporate existence or being compelled by larger more powerful actors.
Have I read the above 5 years ago I would have rolled my eyes at yet another privacy nut raving on the internets.
If the worst isn't part of the strategy, they should explicitly forbid themselves from doing the worst in their Terms of Service. Or at least publicly advertised in a legally enforceable manner. The fact that they don't is pretty good red flag that they either are doing it or want to leave the door open to doing it later.
I'd imagine it's more a way to make sure the remaining 2% don't just spin up a new account every time they hit a limit.
I was able to get on a desktop and find the pricing page. Here's a link:
From memory, in Safari, tap share, then scroll across to desktop view. I don't have an iDevice with me at moment, but it should work.
However I have found that it is quite unreliable at working. Not sure if it's just changing the viewport for CSS, or the user-agent, or what. But it frequently doesn't work.
I wonder if the perception would be different if Google Maps were a standalone startup developing a world class mapping product. Where the common manta would be along the lines of double your pricing.
I think Mapbox has a very different reputation for this reason (also they contribute back to OpenStreetMap).
When I used Google Apps for business (not overly cheap)they were using more of our data than we were.
Of course, maps API might be different, but would love a source.
Good grief, that's totally impractical to have website administrators, my clients, to do that, even I as a seasoned developer hate trying to navigate around the complex labyrinth that is the Google developer console stuff.
It's all so complicated. I just want a page I can point my customer to, "go here, type in your domain name, enter your credit card number in case you need to be billed by Google for usage, and tell me the API key it spits out".
On top of that, it's still of course totally open to abuse and quota theft, referer checking is not security. I can see a burgeoning black market in api keys forming.
I also experienced similar issues when I was still freelancing and managed the hosting for some clients.
I wanted to host clients on Google Cloud or AWS but letting clients make an account they are unable to manage looked like a bad idea to me. If their website gets a lot of unexpected (maybe unwanted) traffic, they get a large bill which they blame me for. Because of this reason I had to go with shared hosting for small clients, and Heroku for companies that cared about uptime so everyone always knew what the costs are.
Something like billing limits would fix this. So freelancers could host their clients websites on their own account (or using AWS organizations) and charge their clients the billing limit for a year upfront.
We plan to eventually support automatic spinning off of domains into their own account (e.g., for your clients after you're finished with a project). But for now, they could set up their own account with their domain and it would just work for you as a dev.
If you're curious: https://stadiamaps.com.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested.
Time to find a different solution! GULP!
I'm an ex-Mapzen teammember, and we've set up a new, paid, geocoding service called https://geocode.earth. I suspect we can give you what you need around geocoding, especially autocomplete, for much less than Google. Feel free to request an invite or reach out to me personally.
This change will affect all apps that have any sort of actual user base. I think you may be underestimating the how quickly you can go through API calls even without many users.
While I understand they want to make money, giving developers 30 days to now pay 40x what they paid before is ridiculous.
For a B2B product where every user/visitor pays a high fee, sure. However, for a consumer website that is either ad-supported, or where a small percentage of visitors pays a low fee, this is definitely not true. The new pricing is insanely expensive.
Currently I'm using it to search and add points on a map, it seems like it could really add up
arcgis has a free place suggestions API: https://developers.arcgis.com/rest/geocode/api-reference/geo...
OpenCageData is pretty good for geocoding with a good free tier.
My company https://stadiamaps.com does map tiles at very generous tiers.
We do map tiles and static maps, along with basic routing.
It's a good motivation to improve our usage of their APIs and I'm sure that I can bring down those cost estimates (by reducing API usage overall and by switching some to use the static map API - although the caps on resolution gave us problems with that in the past).
We have a lot of customers in real estate, and would love to set you up with something that would be significantly less than $25k. These situations are why we started the company. :)
I think our tiers work very well for the real estate space overall.
Initial work on reducing load looks very promising though (lazy loading only when users scroll as far as the map on property pages, pooling map instances/dom elements and reusing them across a React app so that they're not recreated) - both things I really should have been doing already anyway. I guess that's part of the motivation for the change - even if I don't pay anything, I'm now costing Google less.
Definitely let us know if we can help in any way. We're more than happy to build out any missing functionality you might need to make a transition.
So, Amazon did the smart thing and simply partnered instead of reinventing that wheel so they could have a maps solution for their Android fork and not depend on Google Maps while still implementing the relevant APIs for app compatibility. Here is in fact using AWS so that ticks that box ...
OSM is nice but entrenched in licensing issues that are preventing adoption by big corporations. That's the reason that you'll be hard pressed to find anything but niche products for navigation based on OSM. It's a great solution if you are not mixing your own data sources with what OSM provides but that is not an option for most commercial players and OSM licensing is all about preventing exactly that. Microsoft had OSM maps for a while on Bing but they couldn't do any fancy features based on their own data on top of it so it got scrapped.
To the inevitable takes on this, no, it's not just a matter of downloading OpenStreetMap or any other data source.
disclosure: former Mapbox person.
With services like openmaptiles.com, why not?
From some basic OSM v Google tests, OSM coverage was much lower for things like place names or speed limits.
As you say, the infrastructure requirements for this seem massive, though perhaps getting better as GIS info become easier to gather.
In which region did you test? The local mapping community can make a night and day difference.
In Africa there are places almost in unmapped on Google that are extensively mapped on OSM (Google doesn't give a damn if there isn't money to be made). In western Europe it's pretty good, especially in the Netherlands and Germany (that I know of at least, perhaps other countries too). America, from what I've seen (I've never been there so never needed to use it) it can be either reasonably comprehensive or a total mess depending on the city or state or something.
I'm currently evaluating US coverage and this has been my experience, though even cases with better coverage it still fell short of Google Maps.
It's a tough problem in the sense that people have generally gotten used to the excellent coverage of Google Maps, so anything deviating in even a minor way is seen as noticeably inferior.
I'd love to know if others are running into similar issues in the US.
What it amounts to is that there aren't any openly licensed business geodatabases and there aren't really that many people working on OSM in the US, especially commercial POIs (where people buy data from Yelp or Foursquare or Factual or whatever instead).
Definitely curious since they (obviously) have the technical ability to offer this service over the web but choose not to.
"The Amazon Maps API is a programming interface that enables you to add mapping capabilities to your app on Fire phone and most Fire tablets."
"The Amazon Maps API v2 is compatible with Fire OS 4.5.1 and higher, which is available on 3rd and 4th generation Fire tablets, and Fire phone. The Amazon Maps API v1 is compatible with the Fire phone and all Fire tablets except Kindle Fire (1st Generation)."
They would essentially be asking Amazon retail to share proprietary data with AWS, which would then allow someone like FedEx to start using AWS to get that proprietary data.
That data is probably much more valuable to Amazon retail hidden then it would ever be to AWS exposed.
We’re going to continue having a no-credit-card-required 2,500/day free limit, as well as the most affordable pricing, without restrictions. Including a plan that allows for unlimited geocoding. https://geocod.io/pricing
Full disclaimer: I’m one of the Geocodio founders.
But with OSM you can self host and get the same as what's on osm.org
Later edit: I've found the answer to my first question, as in yes, the "$200 monthly free credit" acts like a voucher, sort of:
> Can I still use Google Maps Platform for free? Yes. Starting June 11, 2018, when you enable billing, you get $200 free usage every month for Maps, Routes, or Places. Based on the millions of users using our APIs today, around 98% of them can continue to use Google Maps Platform for free with this credit.
Still don't know the details of how to set up things so that I'll never surpass that traffic quota of theirs.
I'm part of that 98% they mention with a couple of small personal websites that aren't intended to bring any revenue, I'm not that hyped with giving Google my billing details.
Later later edit:
It seems that it's possible not to give them your billing details so that they'll automatically "degrade" your API calls once the traffic quota is reached without billing you. I guess that's the route I will take, it's the least amount of effort and seeing as my projects won't reach those quotas it also makes sense not to worry about API calls "degradation".
> Is a credit card or billing account required?
Even though your first $200 of monthly usage is free, all Google Cloud Platform services require a credit card and billing account, to cover any amount you spend over this free credit. If you are billed, we'll credit your account for the first $200 of monthly usage. If you choose not to add a billing account, there is a risk that if your usage exceeds $200 in a given month, your Maps API implementation will be degraded or other API requests will return an error. If your estimated usage will be above $200 a month and you don't have a credit or debit card to set up a billing account, a local Google Maps Partner may be able to help.
It's still not clear whether you have to give them your CC details or not. I once made this mistake and gave Google my CC details for Adwords, and I regretted it. I found the hard way they will run the ads for quite some time after I stopped the ads and charged me. Of course it was difficult to contact a human and ever if I managed to do it, it wouldn't help. One experience smarter and I only use bank transfer, thereby setting a true hard limit and making sure a stop means a stop.
"In addition, this change will require you to enable billing and associate it with all of your Google Maps Platform projects. Creating a billing account helps us better understand your usage so we can continue developing helpful products."
If you don't add a billing account it:
"will return low-resolution maps watermarked with “for development purposes only.”"
"All Google Cloud Platform services require a credit card and billing account... If you choose not to add a billing account..."
So is it not actually required? Or is maps not considered a "Google Cloud Platform service"?
I have no idea what's going on with the pricing page. What's the difference between "embed" and "embed advanced" maps? (other than 1.4¢ per load). I'm assuming that 'native' means mobile, but I'm not really sure. I'm currently using the JS API, which I think is equivalent to 'dynamic maps'.
Billing models have become a new competitive frontier and lead funnel strategy in Saas. All but the most cursory usage has become "Enterprise" and begets a sales call.
> your first $200 of monthly usage is free, and you can set usage caps to ensure you don’t go over this amount.
Is there a documentation somehere describing which requests will degrade and how?
At least this way there's not a huge cliff between the free product and a contract for larger volumes.
(disclaimer: In case of geocoding Google is a competitor, we run https://geocoder.opencagedata.com/)
Previously, when google made the initial shift in this direction a few years ago, it seemed like there was a brief period when more people were considering alternatives, but since most people were able to continue using the free tier this tapered off pretty quickly.
You mean leaflet.js?
I see that the limit you mention is for dynamic maps. Somewhere else, they say "Requests for Dynamic Maps and Dynamic Street View (Street View Panoramas) will be billed at a higher rate than requests for Static Maps and Static Street View. Dynamic Maps and Street View images respond to user input; the Static versions do not."
I imagine that this is an incentive for developers to use static maps (which you could replace with dynamic ones when the user clicks or hovers on them). If you used static maps alone, that's 300K loads per month, or $480. You would deduct the $200 credit, for a $280 bill, but then pay full price for all the other services. I can see how that adds up quickly...
That being said, I don't know of a similarly easy to use editor on Android for simple things like adding opening hours or addresses.
Oh cool. Will you work for me for free as well? I have a lot for you to do.
There is some kind of trust I have/had in cloud providers to be fair when it comes down to vendor lock-in. One of the things I expect a cloud provider to do is not suddenly increase prices and instead give their clients a reasonable period (a year would be perfect, but I think 6 months is a reasonable period) so they can change their usage to minimize their new costs according to the new pricing or transfer to another provider if the costs are too high.
But Google just proved that they don’t really care about their clients.
If you made an app that heavily relied on the Google Maps API, and you spend $3K a month now, you just received a mail that your costs might be increasing to $60K a month and you might need to drop all your current projects/tasks to migrate the app to another service.
Now I’d just need to find a suitable replacement for map tiles, place search, elevation api, and rewrite the app.
Where did you find your monthly API calls? I can't seem to get any numbers other than daily for the last week
For me looks like I went from basically free to $600/mo just for map views. I have no idea how much more I'll have to pay for API calls because they completely obfuscate the data.
Now we have 30 days to figure out how to make the money work or find another solution. Pretty crappy of an API provider (let alone Google) to do this. At least now we know not to trust our apps / sites infrastructure to Google... they aren't the same "do no evil" company they used to be.
The whole thing smacks of 90-00's era Microsoft 'wizards'.
You can construct API keys that are restricted to an Android signing key, use it for the duration of the class, and then revoke it after the course work is done.
Mapbox also has Android implementations, not sure if you can sign up without a credit card though.
Note - I work at Mapbox, on accounts
I'm an ex-Mapzen alum who runs https://geocode.earth. We don't have a permanent free tier at the moment (our geocoder is solid but the service is new!), but we want to find ways to contribute to the community where we can. I would be happy to set up a temporary free tier on our service for one of your classes.
Shoot me an email, julian at geocode dot earth and we can figure something out
Open source idea: Google Maps -> MapBox shim layer
From what I can find the "dashboard" only shows the highly variable "per day" numbers so you can't even see how many calls you're doing per month... which is pretty shady
For a company that touts "do no evil" they are going to hurt a lot of free websites and small businesses / projects with basically no notice.
Not affiliated with any of the providers listed and mainly based on this thread, just added there pricing information, free tier limits and reference.
We'd be happy to talk about a much more reasonable cost. :)
Please email if you're interested: email@example.com or take a look at our website https://stadiamaps.com
They attempted to shoehorn me onto the premium plan but many aspects of it are geared toward larger entities - very steep initial cost (per map load) with discounts for huge volumes.
Did anyone actually get this mail? I am using a key and even got a receipt yesterday but did not get this mail about pricing changes (user from Germany).
Edit: Wow. I am currently using Places Radarsearch for a side project which currently has a (generous) free limit of 150.000 calls per day. If I read the pricing table correctly, I am now getting 5000 calls per month on the free tier (which also has to suffice for all other maps API calls). That's a 900-fold reduction..
1.7 million dollars
So, I suppose you still might get one - it seems clear that they didn't all go out on May 1st.
1. To avoid making a loss due to map costs, sites may have to create a source of revenue which scales in proportion to the amount of maps used. Advertising? Google Advertising?
2. It seems quite easy to attack someone by linking to their map content on social media. Loads of traffic = loads of cost. So sites may need to consider devising a 'mapping cost defense' of some sort.
Unless lots of people are going to your actual site, of course.
Do they share anything common (many x.mycompany.com)? You can use wildcards.
Usage: 10000 requests / day
(3600000 - (28000free * 12)) / 1000 * 7 = 22848 $ per year
360000 rubles or 5600$ per year, but much cheaper for higher volumes than 10000/day
(3600000 - (50000free * 12)) / 1000 * 0.5 + (fix 500 * 12) = 7500 $ per year
No pricing on website, need to contact support
it seems their pricing is quite comparable with mapbox. more here :
We'll keep your maps on and send you a note letting you know you're over the limit. At the end of your billing cycle we'll invoice you for anything you use beyond the limit and, once the invoice is out, you'll have a ten day grace period to add your card.
Or is this already a thing?
EDIT: This looks exactly like what they are doing with that little rating icon above the building...
I built a tool awhile back to visualize commute ranges. It’d be nice to move this off Google Maps API.
60 requests per minute is not very many.
Sadly I’m not sure any service will be able to do what I want at an affordable rate. :(
Note: I work for TomTom
Check out Mapbox for a nice alternative.
It's affordable and uses live and predictive traffic
Often the google-places-API returns something like this:
> "types" : [ "point_of_interest", "establishment" ]
This is not exact enough. Is there a possibility to gain better information of a company by API? Thanks a lot.
 https://developers.google.com/maps/terms see section 10.5.d
Happy to answer any questions.
Disclaimer: I work at Mapbox.
Their routing engine updates more frequently than the rendering data.
This is the coverage per region: https://www.mapbox.com/geocoding/#coverage
Free evaluations and the pricing is pretty straightforward, no subscriptions, no limits, no ads.
E.g many people use Apple maps just because it is there by default on IOS.
All I can see is that this is for those on Premium Plans only which is a "Contact Sales" only tier.