Top 5 Map APIs for developers (Features and Cost)

You might know that E-scooter rental apps, taxi apps, and on-demand service apps are taking the world by storm. They all figure out many different problems of users. But do you know what is that one feature common in all of this? Of course, the map. 

By integrating a map into the mobile apps, developers achieve some of the greatest features. A map-enabled app can use the location and distance to calculate the price of service or fare. It also lets users know the locations of e-scooter, taxi driver and on-demand service provider. 

Hence, it becomes vitally important to add Map into the app, especially when it falls under the top 3 trending app categories. However, adding a map feature is the app comes with a very long struggle to decide which map API you should opt for as a lot of map APIs are available with different pricing structure and features. 

To make it easy for you, here, I am sharing top Map APIs you can take into account if you are a developer and want to accommodate a map feature in the app.   

  1. Google Map  

The first thing that comes to mind when we are talking about the map API is the Google Map API. It is the most prominent player in the market. Because of its large libraries related to APIs and extensive documentation, you can derive many benefits from it. 

However, they have discontinued the main Google Map API and split it into multiple function-specific APIs. Following are the list of different Google Map APIs. 

Google Geocoding API Converts addresses to geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude) 
Google Places API Shows more details of the place, such as images of the places and nearby places 
Google Timezone API Calculates the time zone data and returns time zone data
Google Distance Matrix API Very useful to measure the start point, endpoint, distance and travel time 
Google Driving Directions API Offers directions between point A and point B, including options like public transport, cycling and even walking. 

Pricing and usage limit of Google Map API 

You can use a certain degree of Google Map API for free. For every month, it adds $200 of credit into your account which you can utilize for map display or call. But after you utilized all this amount, you have pay per 1000 calls. 

For Static maps: $2 per 1000 calls. 

For Directions: $5 for 1000 calls. 

For showing place details: $17 per 1000 calls. 

To know the detailed pricing of Google Map API, you can refer to this link

  1. MapBox 

MapBox API can be your best choice if you are looking for Google Map API alternative. One of the best features of the MapBox is that it is the open-source map API and allows developers to integrate a map into the app as they want. Apart from this, MapBox API has some other benefits too. 

  • Customer markers 
  • Vector tiles
  • Illustrations 
  • Textures

Most popular and useful endpoints of MapBox are getDrivingDuration that returns travel duration, getWalkingduring that returns the travel duration by walking and getCyclingDuration which returns the travel duration by bicycle. 

Pricing and usage limit of MapBox

  • Free up to 50,000 monthly users in mobile SDK
  • After that, $0.50 per 1000 transactions 
  • If you want to purchase commercial licensing, then you need to pay $499 per month. 

To learn more about commercial licensing and pricing, visit its official site here.  

  1. Foursquare 

Foursquare offers more features than any other map API provider. It provides Places API, Pilgrim SDK and Places Database which enable users to search venues and Geo-tag the content. It also triggers the real-time context-awareness notification, builds mobile audience segments for analysis purpose, and location of mobile app users. Moreover, Foursquare API comes with extensive documentation and robust set of libraries which are developed by Foursquare community members. 

Top companies like Uber, Airbnb, Mastercard, JetBlue, and even Apple are using the location data of Foursquare. 

Pricing and usage limit of Foursquare 

  • For non-commercial use, they let Foursquare API use free for 99,500 regular calls and 500 premium calls. 
  • If you wish to use its services for commercial purpose, then you need to pay $599 per month, plus $0.001 per regular call and $0.06 per premium call. 

Foursquare’s more features, services, and pricing can be found here

  1. Mapillary

Mapillary API can work at its best efficiency if the main objective of your app is to exhibit map location-based photos as Mapillary is the street-level imagery platform. It claims that the platform has covered 8.1 million kilometers and owns 629.2 million geotagged images in the database. Two most unique features of this API is object detection and traffic signs placement. These features enhance the functionality you offer on the map. On top of this, Mapillary is open source, letting developers customize the features. 

Popular endpoints for Mapillary include getSingleImage that returns the image and getUserStatistics that presents data of users and their activities. 

Pricing and usage limit of Mapillary 

The pricing structure of Mapillary is a bit different. They charge you annually and based on the length of the road network and types of data needed. This data contains images, traffic lights, and object labels. Following is the detailed pricing structure. 

  • $2000 per year for only images and less than 1000 Km of the road network. 
  • $9600 yearly for images and traffic signs for less than 5000 Km of the road network. 
  • $50,000 yearly for all data and for more than 10000 KM of the road network.  
  1. Bing Maps 

Bing Map API is perhaps the most underrated map API available in the market. It is the product of Microsoft that is continually adding features in it. These features include, 

  • GeoCoding 
  • Real-time traffic information 
  • Routing 
  • HD Aerial images
  • Store location 
  • 3D city images   

Among these many features, 3D city images and store location are the most unique features.

The popular endpoint of Bing Map API is calculateRoute that shows the detailed timing of walking, cycling, and driving. Another endpoint, getImageryMetadata is also very purposeful. It returns the URLs and dimension of images which are hosted by Bing Maps. 

Pricing and usage limit of Bing Map  

Bing map hasn’t published its pricing model. But according to many sources, they charge $4500 for 100,000 transactions. Here, it is worth to mention that Bing is offering a variety of licensing programs like Open Value, Select Plus, and Enterprise Agreement.