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Google Maps API Becomes ‘More Difficult and Expensive’

Government Technology reports:
On July 16, Google Maps is going to make it more difficult and expensive to use its API, which could make custom maps that rely on the service less sustainable or even unfeasible for the people who made them… First, Google Maps is requiring all projects to have an official API key in order to work. If a user doesn’t have a key, the quality of the map will likely be reduced, or it could simply stop working. Second, API keys will only work if they are attached to somebody’s credit card. Google will charge that card if users exceed a certain number of API requests, which is different for different services. Google will provide users a free $200 credit toward those costs each month…
There are a couple places where the changes might have more of an impact. One is in the civic hacking space, where people often work with government data to create niche projects that aim for low costs, or are free so that as many people as possible can use them… “I think that’s what scares people a little bit, it certainly scares me, this thought of having this API out there and not knowing how many people are going to use it,” said Derek Eder, founder of the civic tech company DataMade. “I don’t want to suddenly get a bill for $1,000.”

There’s at least three Open Source alternatives, and Geoawesomeness.com lists nine more.
Slashdot reader Jiri_Komarek also points out that Google’s move was good news for its competitor, MapTiler. “Since Google announced the pricing change the number of our users increased by 200%,” said Petr Pridal, head of the MapTiler team. “We expect more people to come as they get their first bill from Google.”


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