Monday, May 21, 2018

Migrating away from Google Maps (Wonkish)

Google has decided to begin charging for the downloading of its maps by websites although they claim that the first 100,000 downloads per month on any website are free. uses Google maps throughout and it is very unlikely that would ever experience 100,000 map downloads and so this new policy would not seem to concern us.

However Google wants my payment information anyway (something it has never done before) even though would fall into the 98% of sites that will not be affected by this policy.  The payment information is the sticking point .. along with some controversy about what 100,000 downloads really means.  I don’t wish to be exposed to this risk.

Therefore I have decided to move away from Google maps and reprogram the map pages to use Open Street Map and ESRI maps.  Indeed the first two rewrites (Place Key Report and Feature Key Report) pages are already delivered.

The new maps have more feature layers - you can try it out yourself – and they function just like the old pages did.  I don’t anticipate any impact on the way the site is used by making this change.  There is, however, significant rewriting still to do and I’m not certain that I can complete this by June 11 which is the cutoff date.

I’ll try to let you all know in advance if things change or if features are broken.  You can help me by reporting problems that you may experience during this time of refit.  

Maps on the Internet are a constantly changing and improving scene and, as I find new appropriate functionality, I will try to incorporate changes that I think useful.

Thanks for your understanding.

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