Google maps - will you pay?

Google is introducing limits for usage of their Google Maps. Websites will be allowed to load only 25000 maps daily. If you need more, you will have to pay.

Google Maps is currently the most popular map embedded on websites and mobile apps. Will the change in Google policy alter this trend? And what can web developers do to be independent of map data vendor?

Google announced limits in an article on official Google Developers blog. According to current information, starting on October 1st, each website will be allowed to display Google Map up to 25 000 times a day. If this limit is too low for you, you'll have to either buy Google Maps Premier service or pay $4 for each 1 000 display. For Google Maps styled maps the limits are even lower - you can load styled map only 2 500 times a day. Limits are also introduced for static maps and Street View. If you need more details, read the FAQ.

There are a few alternatives to Google Maps, including Microsoft's Bing Map and OpenStreetMap. Microsoft Bing Map also utilizes limits and requires paid options for bigger websites (see Bing Maps licensing). OpenStreetMap is developed by a group of enthusiasts, similarly to popular Wikipedia.

There is also a javascript library Mapstraction, which adds additional "abstraction layer" for map rendering mechanisms. This allows webmasters to change data provider "on the fly". If you use Mapstraction, switching provider between various provider is trivial.

As you see, if your website will be affected by the change of Google Maps policy, you'll have a few options worth considering. I personally consider implementing Mapstraction as a module for Drupal (as I did with Google Maps), but it depends on demand for this functionality.

And you? What do you think about the new policy of Google?

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