Getting Started on Google Maps Platform: Project Setup and Budgeting Spend
Synopsis: Google Maps is one of the most widely used cloud-based mapping platforms and comprehensive sources of location data worldwide. Individuals, organizations, businesses and governments are all benefiting from adding its powerful location intelligence to their daily use of data and information systems.
As a Google Cloud Partner with a specialization in Location-based Services, as well as technical and sales staff that are fully certified on Google Maps and Cloud Platforms, AppGeo is in a unique position to help with the adoption and use of Google Maps. Our sales team can unlock volume discount tiers. Our technical team can help your team build and optimize the use of Google APIs in apps.
A key question for those new to the Google Maps Platform is how much does it cost? With experience working with hundreds of business and government clients, AppGeo has the answer. Even more, AppGeo can help you manage and track costs on the google Console, and AppGeo can help you avoid common pitfalls and unnecessary costs in the deployment of APIs.
We recorded this webinar to help you start your journey to get the most value out of the powerful Google Maps APIs. This webinar (recorded on January 22, 2021) brings together David Holmes, Customer Engineer at AppGeo, Adam Jackson, Google Account Manager from AppGeo, and Anna Rogers, Google Account Manager from AppGeo to discuss how to effectively use Google Maps Platforms for location data.
Google Maps APIs Overview
Holmes: “Everybody appreciates the popularity of Google, most people use it in everyday life. Most people have it as an app on their phone. In addition, many of our clients around the country are using it for a wide variety of applications across corporate and government markets. Google provides one of the most popular and powerful mapping platforms in the world. If you want to add location intelligence to your database systems and applications, Google Maps Platform is where I would start.”
Google Maps Platform is made up of three groups of APIs: Maps, Routes, and Places. The Maps APIs are focused on display and include street view, satellite imagery, and user specific data. The Routes APIs are used to calculate distance and time for travel, as well as determine directions. The Places APIs use Google’s database of ~200 million businesses across the world and include search autocomplete and geocoding APIs to help find and preview businesses and locations.
How to Set-up the Google Cloud Console
Jackson: “One of the really awesome things about the Google Cloud Platform is that it not only allows you to manage your Google Cloud accounts, but also your Google Maps accounts in the same place. Luckily, AppGeo is both a Google Maps and Google Cloud Partner, so we can help with both of these products. If you ever want to get started with the Cloud, reach out and we would be happy to help.“
Creating a project requires a billing account to use many of the Google Maps Platform’s features. Once a billing account, project name, and location have been made, you can create a project. Sharing the project is easy, allowing you to choose the invitees level of access. One common mistake is using an email that has not been verified with Google. Without verification the project cannot be shared to that user. However verification can be done with an email, even with non-Gmail accounts.
Once within the console application, navigate to the API menu, and hit “Enable APIs and Services” to be taken to the full library of Google Maps APIs, which can be enabled and disabled at will. Once APIs are created, you will need to create a matching API key or another form of credential to limit access to the API.
How to Manage Billing and Usage
Rogers: “One of the benefits of going through your AppGeo account is that we help manage your billing account. However, it is still helpful for you to fully understand what the costs and usage rates of your APIs are. As you advance to higher volume usage, working with AppGeo can save you between 15-70% on price depending on the API and the volume of usage. ”
By going to the “Billing” tab you can get a somewhat accurate forecast as well as your current month to month costs from the platform. If you go to the reports it will provide a more detailed breakdown of your expenses from each project within your organization. AppGeo can help manage the expenses and needs of each Google Maps API project. As a Google Cloud partner, AppGeo can help you bundle projects within a single billing account to create savings through volume tiered pricing options from Google.
How to Get the Most Value and Optimize Performance
Holmes: “We offer a consulting program we call “Spatial IQ”, it’s focused around helping our clients best practices around the APIs. In particular, it looks at usage optimization. AppGeo has a lot of experience building simple and effective user interfaces around location intelligence. We can also help you navigate Google’s sometimes broad Terms of Service to determine how it applies to your use case. AppGeo also provides general Geospatial tool guidance, as well as cloud resourcing and deployment assistance.”
Getting the most out of your Google Maps API means creating an easily usable interface to give your users targeted access to the information in Google Maps. Google Maps API is an extremely powerful and scalable resource, meaning that no matter the size of the project or its technical demands, it is up to the task. However, it is still important to have an efficient setup to get the fastest user experience possible, and reduce billing. Getting optimal use means reducing redundancy in geocoding, avoiding “double charges” for autocompletes, and minimizing the number of Maps API calls.