When you say business, you say logistics. When you say logistics, you say maps. If being without Google Maps in a new city is unthinkable for you, then a logistics app without mapping functionality should be beyond belief.
If you are contemplating whether to add a map to your fancy application, DO NOT THINK! Your application can not do without a maps API. There are not many players in the location ecosystem. So, if you dig a bit more, the choice really boils down to – Google Maps Vs. MapBox?
Believe us when we say that making a choice between Google Maps and MapBox is hard. Hence, we probed a bit deeper to know exactly which one is better because YOU GOTTA MAKE A CHOICE!
MapBox Vs Google Maps: What are Maps APIs?
If we are really going down this road where we will make comparisons between Google Maps and MapBox, we can not move further without knowing what Maps APIs are.
To know what Maps APIs are, a little knowledge of APIs will not harm. You know how you get an option to sign into an application via your Gmail account. You are able to do so because the application in question has been able to use the functionalities of Gmail application through a mechanism called Application Programming Interface (API).
Similarly, if your application must have locational data to operate, you will have to incorporate such data into your application via a mechanism called Maps APIs. Through Maps APIs, you can embed mapping functionality into your application without having to create it from scratch.
Google Maps and MapBox are two of the few web mapping services that can provide you with suitable Map APIs for your application. Let us get to know them better.
What are Google Maps?
With its unmatched satellite imagery and street view mode, Google Maps ensures accuracy in its locational intelligence. Hence, we can not question why some of the premier applications of the world are powered by Google Maps such as Lyft, Snapchat, Accenture and Alibaba Travels to name a few.
What are Google Maps APIs?
Google Maps offers everything you need for your location-based application. It is what its long list of APIs suggests –
|Google Maps APIs||Description|
|Maps API||Assists to develop, design and customise maps that are compatible with diverse platforms - mobile, web, and cross-platform|
|Directions API||Creates routes between different points on a map|
|Street View API||Assists in viewing real-world imagery and panoramic images|
|Elevation API||Provides data with regard to elevation from any point or location on the map|
|Geocoding API||Helps to convert location coordinates into the real addresses|
|Distance Matrix API||Determines the distance to be covered and the time needed to cover it|
|Places API||Generates elaborate and latest information for a location on the map|
|Time Zones API||Furnishes information about timezone for a location on the map|
|Geolocation API||Generates a user’s exact location using WiFi nodes and cellular towers|
|Roads API||Enables correct GPS tracking with snap to road functionality|
Pros and Cons of Using Google Maps
You do not say maps. You say ‘Google Maps’. Such is the hegemony that Google Maps enjoys in the web mapping arena and also otherwise. Let us discuss the pluses and the minuses of the mapping giant to know why it enjoys the hegemony it enjoys –
Pros of Google Maps APIs
Exhaustive List of APIs
When Google Maps is concerned, the list of the APIs for developers goes on and on. You want geocoding on your maps, Google Maps offers it. You need accurate GPS tracking on your logistics app. Do not worry! Google Maps provide it. When it comes to Map APIs. Google Maps is the standard against which other Maps APIs are measured.
Wide Language Support
Google Maps is all-inclusive. A reason why it has added more than 70 languages across the world to its Maps API. With such robust language support, Google Maps is all-prepared to defend its lion-sized market share.
You can unapologetically use maps and Google Maps interchangeably. We have been Google-ing since a long time ago. When the whole world is a market for the brand, it is hard to question the quality and credibility of its products.
Thanks to the Google satellites hovering in outer space, Google Maps has been successful in providing real-time information to its users. Not just that, countless Google users are updating information on a constant basis.
Cons of Google Maps APIs
If you do not want the default base layer for your application, take a note that Google Maps does not allow you to do so. Google Maps should not be your choice if you are looking to add a distinct look and feel to mapping functionality of your application.
Google Maps is not a friendly Maps API for all the browsers in the world. Its compatibility with some of the browsers is questionable. Hence, it is not an appropriate choice for users across the globe.
Google Maps has been a dominant player in the location ecosystem for aeons. A situation Google tried to capitalise in the year 2018 by significantly altering its pricing model. Google Maps now offers a monthly credit of $ 200, which covers 28000 free map loads. When an application crosses the given threshold, Google Maps starts charging. The table given below will illustrate the previous and the current prices of Google Maps.
|Google Maps Previous Pricing Model||Google Maps Current Pricing Model|
|25000 free map loads per day
$ 5 per every next 1000 map loads
|28000 free map loads per month
$ 7 per every next 1000 map loads
(Note – When a user requests to see a map image on your application, it amounts to one map load.)
Take a look at the table again and you will perceive how costly Google Maps have become for the developers after the aforementioned surge. They had two natural choices before them – either they freeze the visitor count on their website or application, or they start looking for newer alternatives. Most of them chose second.
What is MapBox?
MapBox APIs are programmed using Node.js language, the same as Google Maps.
Founded by Eric Gunderson in the year 2010, MapBox does what Google Maps does – offering Map APIs for your applications, but with an aesthetic touch and, of course, at lower prices. A reason why leading organisations such as Facebook, Pinterest, Evernote and Uber use MapBox for mapping purposes.
MapBox leverages the openly available location database called OpenStreetMap to offer developers with a fundamental map. The database for the map is updated on a regular basis by a team of voluntary mappers world-wide. MapBox has efficiently conquered almost 4 percent of the maps API market and is only going skywards.
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What are MapBox APIs?
Let’s move a step further in this sensational debate – MapBox vs Google Maps. We have already discussed the APIs of Google Maps. The next logical step is to list the APIs of MapBox which have been mentioned as follows –
Pros and Cons of Using MapBox APIs
With gradual increment in its market share of the mapping APIs, MapBox presents itself as a strong contender in the MapBox vs Google contest. Given below are the pros and cons of MapBox that will guide you to choose between the two –
Pros of MapBox APIs –
Complete Customisation –
If aesthetic maps are your style for your application, then MapBox is your go-to mapping API. it is never enough as far as map design is concerned. Font, colour, background, 2D, 3D – using MapBox Studio, you can change whatnot and create maps right from the start.
User’s Best Friend –
MapBox uses Tileset architecture in its mapping API. You should know that Tileset architecture or vector maps do not need network connectivity to load. Therefore, MapBox APIs can definitely work offline, helping you to capture the consumer base in areas with poor network connectivity.
Turn-By-Turn Navigation –
MapBox is endowed with an advanced functionality called turn-by-turn navigation. If your application demands that your users be constantly informed of the traffic or weather updates, then MapBox could help you readily with turn-by-turn navigation.
Open MapBox Code –
MapBox believes in evolution. A reason why it has made its code publicly available on GitHub. Doing so, it welcomes anyone to make modifications to its code to make MapBox API more efficient and user-friendly.
Cons of MapBox APIs –
Less Reach –
Google Maps are omnipresent. Compared to it, MapBox has covered less. Therefore, there might be outdated databases for areas, such as Asian countries, which MapBox has not covered.
Difficult to Learn –
As far as MapBox is concerned, learning it is a complex and time consuming process. Therefore, you need to give developers ample time to grasp it completely. Consequently, there will be more investment of time, money, and effort for very small projects.
It may appear that Google Maps and MapBox are the only players in the web mapping arena. however, such is not the case. TomTom, OpenStreetMap and MapKit are some of the other alternatives doing well, according to the developers. But only MapBox, also a Tech Unicorn, holds potential to outsmart Google Maps.
Wasting no time further, let us compare Maps APIs of Google Maps and MapBox.
Comparison Between MapBox Vs Google Maps – The Longstanding Debate
- Location Search and Navigation
- Custom Maps
- Satellite Imagery and Street View
- Pricing Models
Let us, for once and for all, put a permanent rest to this debate. We will be comparing the features of Google Maps and MapBox to know which one should be your first and only choice.
1. Location Search and Navigation –
Why do we use maps?
The answer is pretty obvious. We use maps to locate a place and find the best possible route to reach it.
Through its Auto-Suggest feature, Google Maps has been proficiently executing the function of locating a place for a long time. MapBox’s auto-suggest feature performs slightly better in this context. You will also find it cost-effective as the auto-suggest feature of MapBox is free for you to use.
If navigation is concerned, both Google Maps and MapBox have been doing at par.
2. Custom Maps –
You may not want to use the default map of Google Maps for your website or application. It might not suit the aesthetics of your website.
Google Maps knew it beforehand and gave you the option to use Snazzy Maps to customize maps, taking into consideration the schema of your application.
However, when it comes to design and customization, the taste of MapBox is at another level. MapBox has a MapBox Studio where you can play much more intricately when creating custom maps for your website.
With regard to customization, MapBox is quite flexible as it allows you to literally create your map from scratch, including changing its default base layer, which Google Maps does not.
3. Markers –
When you can create a whole map from scratch, why not use custom markers?
Markers are nothing but icons to indicate a location on your map. Default markers can be very dull and may not suit your vision. Therefore, Google Maps and MapBox both allow you to customize your markers. MapBox has a huge inventory of markers in its library as compared to Google Maps.
As there are countless places marked on a map, markers form a singular cluster when you zoom out, so that the view is not disrupted. Both Google Maps and MapBox do group clustering pretty well. However, the development of group clustering in your application through MapBox is time-consuming and hence, can prove to be unsuitable for you.
4. Satellite Imagery and Street View –
When you are looking for high-resolution images of Earth from outer space, your best bet will be none other than Google Maps. Even in the case of a 360-degree view of the streets through its street view mode, Google Maps has been performing exceptionally well.
There is no dearth in the quality of images and experience offered by MapBox. However, they have not reached the level of Google Maps. They are not far behind.
5. Pricing Models –
We have saved the best for the last.
The significant change in the pricing model of Google Maps is the singular reason why developers were left with no option but to look for other web mapping platforms.
When we look at the pricing model of MapBox, it is far more economical than that of Google Maps which we have already discussed earlier. For your reference, the pricing model of MapBox is stated below –
50000 free map loads per day
$ 5 per every next 1000 map loads
In order to help you make a wise decision, we present to you MapBox vs Google Maps Showdown, comparing the prices charged by Google Maps and MapBox for various features.
If cost rules your decision, then you should have no second thoughts. MapBox will serve you in the best possible way with its justifiable pricing model.
If your website application is small and expected visitor count is far below than the threshold set by Google Maps, then go for Google Maps if it fulfils every other criteria on your list.
Google Maps or MapBox? You got to choose!
The answer is clear. Choose the one which most perfectly meets your web mapping requirements.
We understand. The decision holds a lot of stake for you and your application. All you need to do is to make a detailed list of the variables that are critical to your website or application. The one which stands out the most must be your wise choice.
Still Confused Between MapBox Vs Google Maps: iTechnolabs Team Can Assist you for this
If making a decision between Google Maps and MapBox does not seem to be your cup of tea, then just ask us. iTechnolabs has been a top-notch organization offering premium web solutions to all your digital needs. Our team of adept developers possesses reasonable know-how to assist you in not only making a choice for the Map APIs but also coming up with the dream version of your application. We have been serving clients from a rich mix of industries forever and promise to deliver our best in the future.