Google Maps is the most popular map API globally, used by organizations, services, and websites. This mapping API is the best way for offline businesses to transform their online visitors to foot traffic to their physical stores. In addition, those maps show customers where they can find services or products they were looking for.
There are many reasons Google Maps is so popular between developers, businesses, and customers. Just to name a few:
- They have a significant presence across platforms and devices
- Tre instantly recognizable by users
- They have excellent data quality globally and locally and support more than 80 different languages.
But for the last few years, Google Maps API showed a significant increase in its price, followed by reducing its free feature options. And those changes could directly affect the budget that most businesses and retailers have for investing in their web services. Added to this increase, Google Maps API also had some limitations in customization, and it is not an open-source option, which can affect developers’ work with this product.
In response to that, looking for an alternative to this API is an option that many professionals and businesses started to consider, so they can still use store locators and other map services on their websites. If you are looking for a google maps API alternative, we can help you with that. Here is a list of the five best API options you can use for your store locator.
Note: If you are a business with multiple physical locations, a store locator might be a better and more functional option for you. A store locator like Storemapper is customizable and requires no coding or development, which is uncommon to find in an API.
1. Mapbox API
Mapbox is probably the most popular Google Maps API alternative used by developers and businesses. They have been in business since 2010 and started as a free map data and analysis service for non-profit organizations. Today, they provide map tools and data to players like Facebook, Lonely Planet, and Foursquare. Mapbox is also the primary option for store locator solutions like Storemapper.
Mapbox API services are not free anymore, but they still work as an open-source-minded company, contributing to the mapping services community releasing their codes and constantly supporting mapping applications.
- It is fully customizable and flexible for developers and designers to use it the way they want/need. Fonts, colors, objects. Everything is customizable. This characteristic is probably Mapbox’s most loved one.
- Outstanding performance in loading maps visuals and dealing with a large amount of data.
- Offline mode fully supported with no limitation in the number of downloaded maps
- Open-source initiatives, helping improve the mapping community and also its applications and services.
- The learning curve of the API can be a little bit longer for developers that had never used this google maps API alternative. But nothing to be scared of.
- There might be some data limitations in certain regions because they rely on mapping data collected by community mapping services.
2. Openstreet Map
OpenStreetMap is another popular Google Maps API alternative. It is an open-source mapping solution that relies on a community of mapping websites, engineers, enthusiasts, and apps to offer them data about routes, images, and map information. They are all available to the public for free, for personal and commercial purposes. Although this could seem like a cons side of using this API, it is the opposite since it gives OpenStreetMap high quality and multi-origin mapping information. In addition, many other mapping services – like Mapbox – use some of their data to structure a part of their mapping APIs.
But, like all projects, open-sourced or not, OpenStreetMap has its ups- and downsides.
- It is 100% free. No person or business has to pay to use OpenStreetMap data
- The database is constantly updated and growing since a large number of contributors sends new information regularly
- A lot of paid mapping APIs and services rely on OpenStreetMap data
- To use their database, you will need to create or hire some mapping service solution. Its functionality as a mapping API is basic since its purpose is to facilitate the access and update of map information.
- Their data exchange volume is limited since the project purpose is not becoming a mapping service. As a result, users can get blocked when entering a high number of queries for data.
TomTom has an outstanding reputation when it comes down to navigation services. And their maps also have good quality and offer reliable solutions to services and customers who need them.
Although they are – and always have been – a paid service, TomTom offers plenty of mapping and navigation functionalities useful for many purposes.
- Reliable mapping solution, with years of experience in satellite navigation
- Offers different kinds of mapping features like vector maps, traffic density, location search, and route finding
- 2,500 free transactions per day (much more than Google Maps API)
- The price charged can reduce depending on the volume of requests or usage.
- It is a paid service. It charges up to $0.50 for every 1,000 requests made after the first 2,500 free ones.
- The API is not constantly improved. There are mapping updates, but mostly that’s it.
This mapping API developed by a Dutch company is a Google Maps API alternative for both Android and iOS users. OmsAnd has many functionalities that you can also find on Google Maps, like sharing locations and finding points of interest around you. Still, instead of having their mapping data, they also use OpenStreetMap as a source for creating their maps.
OmsAnd is a paid API. It has its basic version, and you can add different functionalities by buying new features.
- The same core functionality of Google Maps, which is familiar to most users
- It also can display some satellite images from Bing
- Fully customizable
- It offers excellent offline usability, allowing users to download full maps from regions or countries.
- There are some not mapped or fully mapped areas because OmsAnd relies on the OpenStreetMap mapping community. This situation can cause the API to take people to unknown locations or nonexistent routes.
- Fully customizable
- Compatible with other mapping API services
- It requires a developer (or at least some developing skills) to get started and use it
- Lack of data can be a problem, especially for mapping activities in locations like China or the Middle East
- Needs third-party services to support in some configurations.
Store Locator App vs API For the Best Google Maps API Alternative – Which is the Better Option?
If you were looking for an exact solution to your mapping problem, you probably ended up searching not only for mapping APIs but also for store locator apps. After all, they are as well a good alternative for adding map data to your website.
But, after getting to know more about all those API alternatives, would a store locator app be a better option for your needs? Which one is the best option after all?
Even if you are a good web developer (or have a good one on your team), choosing a store locator app over a mapping API is likely the best option. And for one simple reason: they are easier to use and as rich in features and professional as any other mapping API available for your website needs.
Why A Store Locator App Is The Best Google Maps API Alternative
Store locators, like Storemapper, can be added to any type of website – e-commerces, landing pages, web portals. As a result, it is easier for store owners, retailers, dealers, businesses, and other professionals to transform their online traffic to actual life visits. And they also have a lot of features and customization options that you can quickly apply to your needs with no coding required.
Storemapper itself uses two APIs to offer its mapping services: Google Maps and Mapbox. So it carries with it those services quality data and reputation, but with much more friendly usability and total control of how you will display your map to users.
Storemapper also has other powerful benefits over mapping APIs:
- It is mobile-friendly
- It allows you to upload new locations information to your map easily
- It has a robust analytics dashboard that helps you track your map and location’s performance
- It is easy and quick to install on any website
- It is highly customizable and with free presets and settings included in every plan;
- It has helpful and available support that helps you with everything – from installation to data management
So, if you are looking for a Google Maps API alternative to your website, what are you waiting for to try a robust store locator like Storemapper? Start your free trial now.