Google Maps vs Mapbox: Guide to Choose Best Map API + Quick Comparison - Appventurez
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Google Maps vs Mapbox: Guide to Choose Best Map API + Quick Comparison

Ashish Chauhan By Ashish Chauhan | January 27, 2021

This Google Maps vs Mapbox comparison is going to be profound and steady so gird your loins and be patient, there’s something exceptional coming your way. 

Providing information to the customers way before they ask has become an integral part of any business. There are myriads of enterprises that rely heavily on mapping functionality because of the nature of the business they are operating in. For instance, all the logistics and transportation-related business that require the route planning, transport management, and geo-location service, they make use of the right map API to integrate into the website and apps. 

There was a time when developers used to rely heavily on Google Maps for aiding companies with mapping services. However, with the evolution of time and technology, there have been observed plenty of alternatives that are not only equally good to Google Map API but also giving stiff competition. Alternatives like Mapbox, Qwant Maps, etc. have invoked a solid reason for comparison. Either it comes to trigger Google Maps vs Mapbox or any other alternative mapping API functionality, the developers know that there are trusted alternatives they can lean towards.

While mapping is becoming a significant API to integrate into a platform for many enterprises, choosing the right mapping tool, on the other, the hand is setting off to become the reason to dwell on and counter the decision. The Google maps alternative open source has allowed companies to try one’s hand at different mapping functionalities some of which even have greater features to cherish. Among many, today we will be drawing attention to the widely popular map APIs i.e. Mapbox and Google Maps.

With that said, let’s begin our guide to Google Maps vs Mapbox formed upon the performance, pricing, features, and alternatives for each as well.

Also, read – Everything You Need to Know About Geolocation App Development

What is Mapbox?

Map functionality is something that we might already be using for long in our smartphones or other digital devices but are not aware of. For example, weather forecasting apps. Mapbox is a map-servicing API that uses an open-source method with various categories of tech stack. Though Mapbox is much akin to Google Maps, it comes with code and SDK which provides relevant building blocks to developers. The building blocks in Mapbox enable developers to integrate location into any application effortlessly. Mapbox is an alternate mapping solution that is used for global mapping, location search, navigation, etc.

Pros

  • Access to data
  • Extensive documentation
  • Custom tile generation
  • Open Street Map

Cons

  • Too complex for simple APIs
  • Comes with a pricing plan
  • No geoprocessing capability
  • Alert-less for constructions or accidents.

What is Google Maps?

It is a free online web-mapping app developed by Google in the year 2005. With navigation and other essential services, Google Maps is loaded with multiple features such as route setting, transportation directions, location sharing, distance measure, etc. As per Statista reports, Google map is the most used mapping app in the USA with more than 150 million users. Besides many, there is one attribute offered by Google Maps that makes this mapping service widely used by developers. That is an API allowing maps to be embedded on third-party websites.

Pros

  • Multi-transportation mode.
  • 360-degree interactive panoramic street view.
  • Satellite imagery.
  • Mapped with private transportation.

Cons

  • Real-data is sometimes inadequate.
  • Fail to provide the best routes.
  • Night mode switching bug.
  • No offline access in integration mode

Benefits of Using Mapping Services for Business

benefits of using mapping services for business

Giving credence to the buzz and considering market reports, geospatial industries are generating huge revenues from satellite images, real-time mapping, and allied services. If we closely observe, the immersive virtual reality and real-time integration into applications have now become the go-to technological trend for businesses operating in logistics (a detailed guide to know how to develop logistics app), transports, and warehousing to make their brands reach multitudes. The growing trend of adopting navigation for mobile computing devices is widespread. 

Since developers are making strides in employing the technological capabilities of the mapping services for industries, the quandary of deciding the best between Google Maps vs Mapbox is a hot-topic for the enterprises as well. The mapping functionalities have developed to great expectations for different industries over the years and is somehow being advantageous to the enterprises. Having said that, let’s pore over the benefits of mapping solutions for businesses.

Provides Access to Comprehensive Location Information.

Location-based mapping solutions such as Google Maps, MapQuest, etc. are widely being recognized so much so it is getting used for marketing as well. The rapid evolution of digital marketing and related trends is unobscured to marketers. Moreover, the businesses that have a local consumer base are using map marketing techniques with the help of navigation and mapping apps to provide extensive location information to customers.

Enable Clients To Make Quick Connection With Companies.

The mapping apps give businesses an option to register themselves with the platform. Google maps allow companies to add their business to the Google community while Mapbox bestows the same feature by building a store locator for brands using Mapbox GL JS. The traits like website adding, store locator, etc. allow enterprises to reach a wider target group even though they do not have much online presence. Though there are many Google Maps open-source alternatives, the digital developers still come to terms with Google Map as it gives plenty of options to developers in terms of functionality.

Encourages Users To Visit the Website.

Adding places has been a common affair in navigation and mapping tools, however, the new proposed marketing is enabling businesses to put themselves to the landslide of mapping their products and services. Apps like Google Maps and Mapbox have become an integral tool for local SEO using which enterprises can add a bio and target a closed group of audiences. So whenever a user searches about your business, it gives them comprehensive details about your service along with a website link which they can easily explore.

Allow Users To Know More About Your Business.

Besides making your business easier to find for people, the mapping tools are being benevolent in customizing mapping features for brands that drive engagement. Since maps are rendered at the real-time direction, it integrates well with search and directions. The APIs in Google Map and Mapbox allows companies to style their business so that it becomes easier for companies to make customers know about their services.

Read about – Top Tech Stack For Logistics Apps 2021 & Beyond

Google Maps vs Mapbox: A Detailed Comparison Between Best Mapping Solution

When it comes to running a comparison between the best mapping tools, it becomes difficult to integrate the factors based on which the opinions could be simplified. The enterprises who are looking forward to integrating map APIs do not just want to know Mapbox vs Google Maps performance, there are many more aspects they hope to get revealed. Not only Google but many mapping apps have made sweeping changes in their integration ever since the launch. The rising popularity of geolocation and map-based solutions are proving to be beneficial for many businesses. 

Enterprises from the logistics and transportation industries are using Google Maps, Mapbox, and many other APIs for deployment scope with other applications. Since companies are very well aware of the benefits of geolocation-based apps for their business, the features like easy to generate custom base maps, visual customization, engaging navigation experience enhances their trust in optimizing their app based on SDKs. 

Therefore, instead of basing our comparison of Google Maps vs Mapbox on a few factors, we have chosen five major elements.

API

API stands for Application Programming Interface. In order to know how Google Maps’ or Mapbox’s API helps in routing, directions and implemented well with other apps, it is better to first understand what the function of APIs are. There are many APIs that integrate well with Google Maps open-source. API is a de-facto medium of business that is overwhelmed with protocols. Mapbox’s APIs help businesses to create custom maps, location synchronization, and integrations while Google Maps’ API enables the assimilation of map solutions in other apps.

Adaptability

The majority of people use navigation, traffic alert, and many salient features in their smartphones to escape the everyday hustle. Therefore, the multitudes of them switch to the other similar solutions when they provide them broad features. Since both Mapbox and Google Maps are adaptable to the fonts, colors, routing, and other attributes, Google Map dominates Mapbox’s API and provides additional flexibility comparatively when it comes to adaptability. However, the modification in map API depends upon the product and services you are using.

Offline Mode

When it comes to mapping app usage, the most basic feature a user wants is offline access. How annoying it can be for users if they cannot reach or locate a place because of an internet connection failure? But no need to lose your heart when there’s an alternative. Mapbox offers offline mode with its API integration that means developers using its SDK can create custom offline maps. On the contrary, Google Maps’ API does not provide offline location access or navigation features.

Turn by Turn Navigation

Turn by turn navigation feature in a map service solution is provided to track the route and destination. Though Google Maps’ API does not include such features independently, however, it can be offered with a personalized package just like it works for Uber. On the other hand, Mapbox’s API offers route tracking navigation and also includes automatic direction suggestion that goes well with many companies when it comes to GPX tracks with coordinates.

Other Functionalities

Any location-navigation app requires to be instilled with highly advanced features and with several map style variations. Nevertheless, the usage of the map API depends upon the business requirements as well. Some enterprises that are developing a location-based app might not feel the need of integrating data visualization while some may do. Therefore the combination of API categories can only be determined based on requirements as there cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach.

Read about – Mobile App Development Lifecycle: Step-by-step Process

Google Maps vs Mapbox: Common Traits

The data flow on the architecture of any map service solution plays a bigger role when it comes to knowing what users can easily get comfortable with. Since Google Map is known for its popular SDK and huge database decent routing, Mapbox, contrastingly, is the most advanced and flexible map service majority of the organizations look forward to when it comes to integrating the features like geo-location and real-time navigation into mobile apps. 

There are many functionalities on which both Google Map and Mapbox stand a fair chance to be judged because both of them offer some attributes that are almost identical. The developers form comprehensive mobile app development strategies by utilizing these functionalities. Google Maps and Mapbox share lots of common features which are –

  • Enormous customizing opportunities – If you are looking forward to building an app with custom map-enabled features, you do not have to look elsewhere as both Google Map and Mapbox come with customizable interfaces with a visual display of components such as roads, parks, and buildings.
  • Markers and cluster ability – Whether it comes to navigation or routing transportation, Google Maps and Mapbox both are proving to be beneficial for creating markers and clusters so that the geodata can be saved from overlapping. Both the integrated map services offer location-wise marker and cluster options for clients as well as server-side.
  • Overwhelmed with satellite imagery – Both Mapbox and Google Maps use satellite imagery with the complete hierarchy of location labels. The satellite imagery lets users know the accurate representation of landmarks and buildings. They even help in identifying highway shields and public transit icons in traffic.
  • Ease of integration – Both the map services for developers are easy to integrate with the other application along with catering to the business requirements. They also have open-source map APIs and libraries which can be used to build custom mobile apps for business. The majority of enterprises have used the remarkable features to create intuitive routing direction navigation apps.

So now we have had enough discussing the comparison between Google Maps vs Mapbox based on whatnot – navigation, adaptability, modes, functionalities, etc. On top of all, we have also explored the alternatives of both the solutions. Hence now is the time to peer at Mapbox pricing vs google maps pricing. 

Mapbox vs Google Maps: Pricing

Unfortunately, the steep hike price of Google Maps API has led it to lose popularity and exigency that made developers switch to another map API with similar or more advanced functions – Mapbox. Mapbox is adaptable and allows programmers to customize maps suitable for the experience but has limited free usage. And the premium plans are a bit on the higher side as well.

Do you know what’s the major deal-breaker point for developers or businesses which is making them draw a conclusion towards shifting over another map-related app? Yes, you have apparently guessed it right – The price.

Prices always come as a major pain point not only for geolocation-based apps but any other solutions that could add to business growth. 

However, what differs Google Maps from Mapbox is the unique approach towards the pricing model. While Mapbox allows users to pay for what they use i.e. accounting for individual users based on sessions. Google Maps follows a unified pricing approach that has a lot to do with the server load.

Your pricing decision also depends upon how dynamic your app is. Since Mapbox’s dynamic maps are far less expensive than Google Maps’, Mapbox in all the structure has a price advantage comparatively. Hence, in this Google Maps vs Mapbox pricing battle, Mapbox is a conqueror.

Looking for Mapbox Free Alternatives? Here They Are.

Mapbox is one of the most powerful map solutions that offers mutable geo data services packed with ultimate features such as RNative integration, low-level API, etc. Even though Mapbox has emerged as a powerful data provider tool, many businesses look for free alternatives as not every company takes a fancy to invest in premium pricing plans. Amidst the grapple between Google Maps vs Mapbox, there are various mapping and GIS apps that might have been overlooked by many. Here we have listed the 5 most adaptable Mapbox alternatives that are gaining traction globally.

  1. ArcGIS – It is a complete Geographic Information System (GUI) solution that allows to create, manage, and analyze spatial data. The information of ArcGIS is maintained by ESRI.
  2. OpenStreetMap – OpenStreetMap is a collaborative project which enables to build an editable map for businesses. It offers a free worldwide mapping service. OpenStreetMap is a database product that allows viewing and routing possibilities on a map.
  3. Azure Maps – It is a collection of geospatial data that uses a mapping process to offer geographic map integration with different solutions. Azure Maps is created by Microsoft and helps to incorporate search, routing, traffic features, etc features integrated with other solutions.
  4. Google Maps – Since Google Maps has already been a tough competitor to Mapbox, it is another choice for custom map app providers that most of the developers go in trusting when it comes to adaptability in mapping solutions.
  5. BatchGeo – BatchGeo acknowledges the creation of maps from spreadsheets. It is one of the most innovative mapping solutions that support interactive map embeds without any additional cost.

Five Google Maps Alternative Open-Source Solutions Every Developer Should Try At Once.

Google map is undoubtedly the most convenient mapping solution at present, however, the recent surge in its pricing plans has led many developers to look for an alternative to switch to (read about – how much does app development cost. Though this preeminent mapping solution is bundled with lots of features, the ones mentioned below are neither falling behind in the race of being best. Have a look at these five Google Maps alternatives that every developer should have knowledge of.

  • Maps.Me – Just like Google Map, Maps.me provides mapping and navigation-related services to users using OpenStreetMap data. It is an entirely offline map service provider.
  • OsmAnd – It is another GIS app that operates offline. OsmAnd is one of the simplest online mapping services out there as a substitute to Google Maps.
  • Waze – Waze is a web-based tool that enables users to quickly search for destinations and plan routes. It also comes with a social integration feature.
  • Qwant Maps – Qwant is an open-source mapping solution that gives users multiple options such as navigation, route selection, sees around places, etc.
  • Mapbox – It is a powerful alternative to Google Maps as believed by many. Mapbox is a location data platform for developers that mainly helps in building blocks with APIs and SDKs.

Google Maps vs Mapbox: Final Verdict

If we consider only one element pricing and ignore the rest, Mapbox is a great contender who eventually takes the cake. However, keeping Google Maps’ price hike matter in question aside, this mapping solution is still better than anyone in the market in terms of map data, routing, and mapping functionality with maximized accuracy. 

Therefore, if you want to quench your business thirst by getting an intuitive and high precision mapping solution, Google Maps’ API is beyond compare. In this guide of choosing the best mapping API for your business and comparing Google Maps vs Mapbox, we have looked into several aspects. Though there are many alternatives (suggested in the article itself) to Google Maps and Mapbox, these two are still the most reasonable option at present. 

If you are feeling apprehensive about deciding the right map integration for your business, reach out to developing experts of Appventurez. They will help you in making an informed decision.

Google Maps vs Mapbox: Must-See FAQs

Q- Who can use Mapbox?

Mapbox is like a toolbox kit that has different map integration solutions that can be used by any company irrespective of the industries that are looking forward to having a comprehensive and precise mapping solution.

Q- Is Mapbox better than Google Maps?

Saying one mapping platform is significantly better than the other would be a partial statement as both of them have significant features and frailty. However, the decision of which one is best between the two depends upon the requirement.

Q- What is turn by turn navigation in Google Maps?

Turn-by-turn navigation is a brilliant feature that helps users in showing directions, get them real-time traffic updates and find the best route for their destination.

Q- Which one offers cluster functionality? Mapbox or Google Maps?

Marker clustering trait manages to show the level of individual markers on the map when the users zoom the particular location. Cluster indicates how many markers it contains. Fortunately both Google Maps and Mapbox support marker and clustering features.

Q- How can I choose the best mapping platform between the two?

Choosing a best-in-class mapping solution can be a highly challenging task. However, comprehending the requirements, budget, and nature of the business can help you reach a decision.

Ashish Chauhan
Ashish Chauhan

Co-Founder and VP Mobile Architect at Appventurez. An expert programmer who is passionate and loves to explore emerging mobile technologies. As a leader, he is a perfect match as he is always there for the team to help and guide them to learn and implement smartly and effectively.

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