Disclaimer: These changes we are talking about only relate to map content creators and developers, who use Google’s technical background services and APIs. The regular use of maps.google.com or the Google Maps app to look up places and directions remains free of cost for everyone.
Which changes did Google Maps make for their services and pricing?
Coming into effect with July 16th 2018, Google Maps implements major changes to their service business and products for map content creators, announced in a post on their blog. Now running under the new name Google Maps Platform, there is a change in the products and services themselves (e.g. former 18 individual APIs were condensed into three core products).
But the changes in their pricing model are what affects the mapping community’s work the most, so we summarized the pricing changes for you. We also provide you with information on how to seamlessly move your mapping project to more community-based, free services like OpenStreetMap, if you like.
How does the new Google Maps pricing affect me?
Active billing account with credit card required within your Google account
If you want to use Google Maps or geocoding with Maps Marker Pro, starting on July 16th 2018 – in addition to register for an API key – you also need to enable a billing account by depositing a credit card with your Google account.
Increased prices, no more free calls but you get 200 USD free credit monthly
Once billing is enabled, you can access a free credit of 200 USD per month. This credit is valid for Google’s core Maps, Routes and Places products, i.e. map calls and geocoding services.
If you enabled Google services within Maps Marker Pro, this affects you in the following ways:
- Map calls: The free amount of 25.000 free map calls per day has been reduced to 28.000 calls per month. The price for an additional 1000 calls has been increased from 0.5 USD to 7 USD.
- Geocoding: There are no more free calls, there are minimum transactions fees – for more details please see https://www.mapsmarker.com/docs/geocoding/google-geocoding/). Your 200 USD monthly credit from Google is also valid for geocoding services.
If you exceed the 200 USD credit limit with your total sum of all Google Maps Platform services (i.e. map calls and geocoding), your credit card will be charged automatically.
Set billing alerts and daily quotas
You can set billing alerts und daily quotas in your Google account to avoid surprises (tutorial). If you want to use Google Maps Platform, we highly recommend that you make use of this option to retain control of your budget.
Does this mean I will automatically be billed by Google, no matter what?
No. If you stay under the threshold of the new free limits granted by Google, you will not be charged. (You still have to provide a credit card to activate your account, though.) Should you ever exceed these limits, or if Google decides to revoke or reduce the 200 USD monthly free credit, you would be billed by Google.
Are there any special programs/discounts from Google for e.g. NPOs?
Yes, good news for non profit organisations: Google is expanding its non commercial program for Google Maps Platform. Existing Google for Nonprofit users who are currently receiving Google Maps Platform grants will transition to Google Maps Platform credits.
Eligible nonprofits, startups, crisis response, and news media organizations may apply for additional Google Maps Platform credits through the following programs:
- Nonprofits can apply for Google for Nonprofits
- Startup organizations can apply to the Google Cloud Startup Program
- Crisis response organizations can learn more about our Crisis Response efforts
- News media organizations can learn more about the Google News Initiative
How much will I pay exactly?
If you are already registered for a Google API key, you should have received an email with this information: Google emailed their existing users and included an estimate for their new cost, based on their project usage over the last 3 months. (Email sent around beginning of May 2018)
If you choose to use Google services, we highly recommend that you set billing alerts and daily quotas in your billing account to avoid surprises (tutorial).
I want to switch from Google to no-cost alternatives, but I don’t know where to start. Please help!
Fear not! There are many alternatives to the big mapping companies, which may better fit your needs. We’ve put together a step-by-step tutorial with everything you need to seamlessly move your Maps Marker Pro mapping project to more community-based, free services like OpenStreetMap basemap and geocoding by Algolia:
- How to switch your basemaps (to Open Street Map)
- How to switch your geocoding provider (to Algolia)
The tutorials can be found at https://www.mapsmarker.com/switch2osm
If I move away from Google and switch to OpenStreetMap and alternatives, do I lose all my maps/data/settings?
No. You completely keep all of your project. Maps Marker Pro is built in a way that you can switch to alternative services without losing any of your work. We put together a step-by-step tutorial for the switch. Give it a look at https://www.mapsmarker.com/switch2osm
Why do you recommend OpenStreetMap and community-based mapping services?
At Maps Marker Pro, we believe in the power of openness and its social, political and economic value. That’s why we built our technology in a way that gives you control over your own data and the freedom to choose the basemap and geocoding providers that best fit your needs. We picked OpenStreetMap (OSM) as the default basemap that’s ready to use, because we believe that these benefits make it the best choice for your mapping project:
- Driven by a passionate community all around the world
The community of OpenStreetMap is diverse, passionate, and growing every day. Its contributors include enthusiast mappers, GIS professionals, engineers running the OSM servers, humanitarians mapping disaster-affected areas, and many more. (To learn more about the community, see the user diaries, community blogs, and the OSM Foundation website.)
- OpenStreetMap emphasizes local knowledge
Contributors use aerial imagery, GPS devices, and low-tech field maps to verify that OSM is accurate and up to date. There are many awesome projects that empower the local community to map their neighborhoods and contribute, so you’re likely to find rare gems of mapping knowledge in OSM that bigger companies would lack.
- Its Open Data is free to use for everyone
OpenStreetMap’s data is open, meaning it’s free to use for any purpose. You can use it for your project without any costs whatsoever, you just have to credit OpenStreetMap and its contributors. (See their Copyright and License page for details.)
Convinced of the benefits? Here’s how you can switch your Maps Marker Pro project to OpenStreetMap: https://www.mapsmarker.com/switch2osm
I got a huge bill from Google! Can you help me?
Please note that your payments to Google are completely separate from Maps Marker Pro. We have no authority over Google and your business relation to them. We have no insight into your bills from Google and we can not answer any questions or concerns about specific payments to them.
But we can help you to switch to alternative services apart from Google, which are free to use, to make sure that you avoid such payments in the future. Check out our tutorial at https://www.mapsmarker.com/switch2osm