Thursday, October 27, 2011

Google Maps API - Usage Limits Now Apply


Google Maps API applications that now load more than 25,000 basic maps or 2,500 maps that use the Styled Maps feature per day will now have to pay for the privilege.

Google announced in April that it would introduce usage limits for the free use of the Google Maps API. The usage limits that now apply to the Google Maps API are documented in the Google Maps API FAQ.

If your application exceeds the daily limit you can enrol for automated billing of excess map loads or purchase a Maps API Premier license.

The Google Geo Developers Blog says that "for very popular sites (the) Maps API Premier (licence) is likely to be a more cost effective option." Google also says that "non-profits and applications deemed in the public interest (as determined by Google at its discretion) are not subject to these usage limits."

Google claims that it is necessary to introduce these charges to secure the "long term future" of the Google Maps API and to ensure that "Google can continue to offer the Maps API for free to the vast majority of developers for many years to come."


For comparison the Bing Maps API has a limit of 125,000 sessions or 500,000 transactions in a 12 month period (for free usage). The OpenStreetMaps API continues to be free. The MapQuest Open JavaScript API is built upon map data from OpenStreetMap and is also free with no usage restrictions.

Google Maps is by far the most popular map provider on the Internet. A huge reason for the dominance of Google Maps is the ubiquity of Google Maps applications built upon the Maps API across the internet. I can't help feeling that Google has just encouraged a lot of developers to start looking at other Maps API's.

One very innovative user of the Google Maps API has already said that he will now be looking to use another map API. Ben Marsh, of the popular #UKSnow map, told .net,

"At peak times, Google's limits would make my own #UKSnow map stop working before dawn. It had 0.6 million page-views over the 2010-11 winter period, which I've worked out would have cost nearly £2,000 to keep running.

Based on this, and given it will likely receive the same amount of traffic this winter, I will be moving to another map provider."

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