Choosing the right mapping APIs to create your next big app or website enhancement can be a complex undertaking. In this blog we review the two mapping platform giants, Google Maps Platform and HERE Technologies acknowledged market leaders in regards to developer APIs and location-based services. 

What are the similarities between Google Maps Platform and HERE Platform

First let’s start with some similarities between Google Maps and HERE. 

Both platforms provide scalable mapping solutions in the form of APIs and SDKs that can be used for application development and configured to deliver specific functionality, and that can scale to accommodate large amounts of traffic. 

Both platforms combine their powerful APIs with a significant collection of base maps and specialized data products that they maintain. These APIs are powered by massive specialized data products collected over decades and continue to be updated daily to ensure the results are the best possible given our ever changing world.

Both platforms offer a level of free access along with extensive documentation making it possible to explore and experiment with low risk. Google does a great job of making their extensive library very easy to navigate and access. 

Both platforms leverage third party resellers in North America to provide both sales and technical support and account management. AppGeo is in the unique position of being a certified value-added reseller to both Google and HERE.

What are the differences between Google Maps Platform and HERE Platform?

An Overview of Google Maps Platform

Google Maps Platform is an all-in-one mapping suite that includes sophisticated APIs and Android and iOS SDKs to help developers create maps that leverage routing, street views, and expensive place-based (business) data. Google Maps Platform combines performance and familiarity, scoring high for ease-of-use. The Google Maps Platform leverages the Google Cloud.

What do Google Maps APIs do?

When Google Maps was launched in 2005, it heralded an era of point to point navigation and driving directions for the home computer. The launch of Google Maps API that same year enabled developers to put maps in their applications. Today, Google Maps APIs and SDKs form a cloud-based mapping platform through three core groupings of APIs: Maps, Routes, and Places, which include a total of 13 APIs. Learn more about what each Google Maps API can do here

An Overview of the HERE Platform

HERE has a rich and deep history in navigation technology. Like Google Maps, HERE Platform APIs and SDKs form a cloud-based mapping suite which is made up of Location Services, Maps, and a range of API and SDK offerings. Because the HERE Platform leverages highly detailed roadway and road conditions data, the HERE Platform enables businesses to build specialized transportation-related apps and manage fleets on the road. 

What do HERE mapping APIs do?

HERE APIs cover a wide variety of highly useful data and operations, from basics like geocoding, to traffic and weather data to intermodal routing functions and fleet telematics. With information on bridge and overpass heights, traffic signals, speed limits, and with location-based services like waypoint sequencing or toll costs calculation, HERE provides a unique depth of location based intelligence for the transportation sector. Learn more about what HERE Platform APIs do here

Google Maps Platform APIs vs. HERE APIs – Terms and Conditions

Because these Platforms are licensed products that bundle detailed and proprietary data with powerful data visualization capabilities, it is important to understand the terms of use before embarking on application development. While it may be technically possible to create derivative data, or extract data for local storage and use, for example, license terms govern the extent of those activities. (For an in-depth analysis of the trend toward blending commercial, proprietary data and public-sector funded, government data, check out our online webinar on Blended GIS Data.)

Google does not allow storage of any content, other than temporary storage of certain items. HERE charges for database storage depending on plan and product offering.

HERE offers other possibilities as to how to manage data. Unlike Google, HERE allows certain content to be purchased and stored locally for the life of the contract. They also offer multi-year contracts.

Compliance with terms and conditions can be tricky. Working with an experienced Google or HERE reseller, like AppGeo, to discuss your use case and functional requirements ahead of time can help your developers avoid future problems and save time during application development. 

Google Maps Platform APIs vs. HERE APIs – Pricing Comparison

Google Maps APIs are priced on a ”pay per use” basis, based on the number of “requests” made using the different APIs and SDKs. The advantage of this model is that it is inherently flexible and scalable, but may offer some unpredictability if usage spikes unexpectedly. Google requires a credit card on file to start using their platform, and provides up to $200 per month credit, for example, any API usage that stays below $200 in value is free. It is possible to get started with Google without providing a credit card by working with a partner like AppGeo. For organizations concerned about estimating what their costs will be, AppGeo has experience estimating usage and costs based on your use cases. Once you get started, AppGeo provides detailed account usage tracking and technical support to make sure you make the most cost-effective use of the APIs.

HERE is priced on a monthly basis, which includes a certain number of “transactions” depending on which plan you select. HERE has a true Freemium model, where no payment information is required to use the platform up to 250,000 transactions per month. From there, developers can add the Data Hub for an additional $45 / month or move up to the “Pro” paid plan, each of which includes higher levels of monthly transactions. For example, for $449 / month, you can move up to the HERE Pro Plan, which includes up to 1,000,000 transactions (also $1 per additional 1,000 transactions). Using certain advanced APIs such as the Tour Planning API may create an additional cost. For information about accessing the APIs you need, contact AppGeo. 

 Price Comparisons – Free Tier:
 Google Maps PlatformHERE Platform
Free TierUsage capped at $200 per month, with costs per request ranging from $2-$30 per 1000 requests depending on the APIs utilized.250k Total Transactions free / month, with costs from $.075-$5.00 per 1000 requests depending on which APIs are utilized.


For a more in-depth comparison, download our exclusive Mapping Provider Comparison Guide

Which Mapping Platforms Offer the Best Value?

The short answer is, it depends on the use case and functional mapping and data requirements. An important caveat for all mapping platforms is that the price list doesn’t tell the whole story when it comes to choosing between mapping platforms. As a business partner to Google and HERE, we’ve learned that different APIs or combinations of APIs and the ways they are called by the application can change the application performance, user experience, and potential cost, e.g., by changing how many map requests are made to complete an interaction.  

How Do I Buy the Google Maps or HERE Platform?

AppGeo is in the relatively unique position of being a geospatial IT consultant, application developer, and value-added, certified reseller to both Google Maps Platform and HERE Maps Platform. We are recognized as a Location-based Services Specialist by Google, and have earned certifications on both platforms. We can help answer your questions and navigate to the best solutions.

Many buyers start with the free access and quickly discover value. Setting up your account through a certified reseller partner offers several advantages. For one, we allow access to our Google Maps Platform partner console without a credit card. Purchasing through a partner like AppGeo allows buyers to unlock access to additional discounts, as well as access to pre-pay options. 

To all of our customers, AppGeo provides free additional services including account management, license management, and usage tracking assistance. Through our Spatial IQ Technical Support program, developers and sourcing professionals can consult with our experienced technical team and account managers. We can help advise on technical and license usage optimization strategies that can lower overall procurement costs and improve performance. 

AppGeo can help you make the most efficient use of these platforms, take full advantage of the terms of use, and exercise greater control over costs. Contact the AppGeo team for more information and a free evaluation of your current or upcoming use case. 

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