For years, Google Maps has been the dominant maps API for companies developing navigation and logistics tools.

That was, of course, until the tech giant announced a major shake-up to its popular Maps API.

Previously, the developer community had access to a freemium plan that would enable them to make up to 28,000 calls per day for free.

However, Google restructured its Maps AI packaging from 18 structures to just three: Routes, Places and Maps.

With this, Google decreased this limit from 28,000 per day all the way down to 25,000 per month. Combined with a 1400% increase in pricing, enterprises and developers alike have started looking elsewhere for their mapping technology.

As a leading provider of location intelligence and data solutions, Local Eyes brings together companies with the best mapping solutions offered on the market.

If you’re looking for an alternative to Google Maps, we believe HERE is a strong proposition for companies looking to build mapping tools. Let’s take a look at why.

1. Price

One of the biggest advantages of HERE Maps compared to Google comes down to price.

Quite simply, Google Maps has a very limited free price plan which gives you a $200 credit for free API requests.

After that, you pay for calls with a credit card which on average can run up to $7 per extra 1000 calls per day.

HERE, on the other hand, offers 30,000 calls per month on its most basic tier at no cost.

2. API Customization

When it comes to customization, Google and HERE are quite similar in that they allow API customization but lack the sort of complete customization that competitor Mapbox has.

Google offers developers limited customization on certain perks, while HERE provides pre-fabricated templates that can be easily customized.

The HERE Vector Tile Service in particular integrates with various web map renderers to offer complete flexibility.

3. Free Plan

As we’ve already explored, Google has significantly limited its free plan by vastly reducing the number of API calls available to developers, and by charging much more for additional transactions.

HERE’s free plan is much more developer friendly and lets you get a lot more done before having to pay additional fees. All its location services include pay-as-you-go transaction pricing as well as free community support, administrative tools, and even data services.

What’s more, unlike Google, you’ll not have to pay an extra penny until you cross that 30,000 transaction threshold.

4. Offline navigation

When it comes to offline navigation, both Google Maps and HERE give users the ability to download maps to their devices.

Google enables users to download a particular area at once just by zooming out over a specific region. These offline maps have a time limit on them and will be deleted after time.

HERE, as an alternative google maps, enables end users to download the maps of entire countries to their devices and at a lower file size.

Both mapping tools will automatically switch to offline mode should a user lose internet connection.

5. Completeness

In mapping technology, completeness refers to the mapping and content assets that a mapping vendor offers. This includes mapping functions and strength, monetization capability, data analytics, and the ability to incorporate new technologies.

In its Location Platform Index, HERE ranked as the top vendor for completeness, beating out Google Maps by almost 10%. What this means in practice is better coverage and accuracy, higher-quality mapping data, and stronger vehicle sensor data.

However, Google’s competencies in AI certainly give it the competitive edge when it comes to the future of mapping and autonomous driving, something HERE tries to combat with effective machine learning and crowdsourced data. In fact, 32% of HERE map changes are completed through automated workflows, with 100% end-to-end automation in some cases.

Conclusion: When it comes to maps, developers’ needs matter

If you’re looking for a suitable maps API for your project, it pays to do extra research and not just go with the biggest brand names. While Google Maps certainly has some attractive features, HERE Maps can be much more developer-friendly and, of course, less costly.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can integrate HERE Maps into your business, why not contact one of our advisers for a free, no-strings conversation?