Sfeerbeeld van een wereldkaart met verschillende markers
  • Published on Friday, November 2, 2018

Interactive Maps: Google Maps & more

Do you think of digital maps on your website? Then you think of Google Maps. Thanks to the ease, simplicity and versatility of Google Maps, the card functionality has become very popular. Many organizations use Google Maps for free to show interactive maps on their website. But recently Google Maps can only be used in combination with a payment model. How long can you use Google Maps for free? And what are the alternatives?

Google Maps: what has changed?

To show the interactive maps of Google Maps on your site, it was possible to choose between two different integration methods: with and without registration. By registering your organization and the use of Google Maps, you will receive an API key. This digital 'key' opened up extra possibilities for using Google Maps on your website.

Since recently, Google only supports Google Maps integrations with an API key. If you use Google Maps without an API key, the text 'for development purposes only' appears on the map. It is also no longer possible to look up an address without API key.

If you request a Google Maps API key, Google will ask for your credit card details. Google will now charge costs for the use of Maps. The first € 200, - you get as a gift from Google. In fact, you only pay for the use of Google Maps if the use of the interactive maps on your website exceeds this credit.

The future of Google Maps

At this moment it is possible to continue to use Google Maps on your website free of charge if the consumption remains below € 200, or if you do not object to the notification 'for development purposes only' over the map. How long the free use continues to exist is unknown. It is possible that Google will reduce the free credit or allow it to disappear.

Google Maps and Smartsite CMS

The Dashboard of our content management system (CMS) Smartsite also uses Google Maps. These maps are used to give editors the opportunity to select a location very easily. From Smartsite 7.10 we offer an alternative to Google Maps and it is possible to choose OpenStreetMap, open source software, as card functionality.

Interactive maps on your website

There are three options for (still) showing interactive maps on your website.

  1. Continue with Google Maps
    The only thing necessary to use (to) make Google Maps is an API key and a credit card. Whether there are costs associated with use depends on usage. In Google statistics, if you use Google Maps with an API key, you can see the current statistics.
  2. Replace Google Maps with static lists
    Interactive maps offer many possibilities. If your only concern is to share attributes from specific locations, you can choose to replace Google Maps with a static map or a list of text locations. A link can be added to Google Maps. With this link the visitor makes a trip outside your website (to Google Maps), but you do offer the interactive possibilities of Google Maps.
  3. Replace Google Maps with another card provider
    Google Maps is popular, but is not the only card provider. There are alternatives that you can also use on your website. One example is OpenStreetMap. Combine, for example, the maps of OpenStreetMap with the functionality of Leaflet, an open source javascript library for interactive maps. In terms of functionality and look-and-feel, there are of course differences with Google Maps, but the possibilities are great and are being expanded.

We are happy to discuss the possibilities and the best option for your organization!

Feel free to contact us.

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