As you may well be aware Google is now charging its users for the Google Maps API. As of 11 June, 2018 users are now potentially charged or at the very least need to create a Google Cloud billing account and share their credit card details to access Google Maps APIs. This is applicable to any business who currently has a simple map embedded on their business website. Businesses who use Google Maps may now be wondering how it affects their business whether the owner, marketing manager or web-developer.

 

Image showing example of Google Maps message

An example of the message Google Maps applies to a website using Google Maps that has not created a Google Cloud billing account

Alternate options to Google Maps

There are many alternatives to Google Maps currently available. Here are some useful options to consider when planning how to direct clients to your business.

If you’re a GB-based business

Ordnance Survey (OS) released a zoomstack version in June 2018 of its popular open data set. This means you can have a clean slate map to work with if you’re based in Great Britain. The downside to this is if you’re in Northern Ireland or the Isle of Man these areas are not covered. The upside is there will be no competing businesses on your map and you can use the OS-provided styling or create your own to match your brand identity style guidelines. We are currently working on a zoomstack for a charitable organisation to make use of this new development.

 

Image showing an example of OS zoomstack

Example of Ordnance Survey (OS) Open Zoomstack

If you’re an international business

OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a great alternative to Google Maps. Not only is it free to use, but it has worldwide coverage. It is a volunteer-led map, where anyone can add new data. We use data from OSM and contribute new data to the map via Missing Maps. The Missing Maps campaign is an excellent way to volunteer your time to create better mapping for war-torn or disaster hit areas. The downside is there maybe too much information on your area, or maybe too little, depending on the contributions to the map. We’ve investigated maps and routes for charitable organisations in Haiti as well as contributing to running sessions for Missing Maps.

 

Image showing an example of OpenStreetMap

Example of OpenStreetMap (OSM)

 

If you’re a developer

Creating maps for multiple sites can get expensive if you’re a web-developer and mapping may be something that you’re going to have to charge for. So, what is the best bang for your buck? HERE maps are hoping to convert many developers to its platform. As a user HERE maps are great for downloading and putting on your phone when travelling. We use it all the time. As a developer, the freemium plan doesn’t require a credit card and you can get 250,000 transactions per month as opposed to Google Maps 14,000 views. As with any online platform these costs are subject to change, so do check before you commit.

 

Example of HERE map on mobile device

Example of HERE map on mobile device

If you’re looking for a unique map

Creating a bespoke map provides another option and avoids the need to create an account with an external company such as Google Maps. A unique map incorporating brand guidelines will complement the pages across a businesses website, whilst providing a functional tool with directions, making sure clients can easily locate your business premises.

A map showing directions to Clear Mapping Co

Directions to Clear Mapping Co used on our website as an alternate to Google Maps

 

If you require any guidance with updating maps on your website give us a call on 01326 337072 or email us at hello@clearmapping.co.uk

Further reading:
[1] https://cloud.google.com/maps-platform/
[2] https://manifesto.co.uk/google-maps-api-pricing-changes/
[3] https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/blog/2018/07/join-os-open-zoomstack-trial/
[4] https://www.openstreetmap.org
[5] https://www.guidingtech.com/google-maps-vs-here-wego/
[6] https://360.here.com/announcing-freemium-off-the-chart-location-technology-for-free
[7] https://developer.here.com/
[8] We provide consultancy