[aprssig] aprs.fi and Google Maps API pricing in July 2018

Heikki Hannikainen hessu at hes.iki.fi
Wed Jul 18 05:15:05 EDT 2018

On Wed, 18 Jul 2018, Steve Dimse wrote:

>> Is it just here in Reno that we can't use APRS.FI to see the map?
> I see a map but it greys out with a tiled message saying "for 
> development purposes only". It seems to work - just hard to read.


For some time this morning, Google Maps on aprs.fi displayed a pop-up 
saying "This page can't load Google Maps correctly". The map tiles 
were dark with "For Development Purposes Only" written on them.

This was because of a configuration accident on my part: the aprs.fi 
profile on Google Cloud console was not properly linked to the correct 
payments profile which has my credit card attached. That's now fixed and 
the maps load fine. For a few days (3-5?), starting now.

Due to the volunteer / charitable / non-profit uses in Amateur Radio 
circles (SAR, disaster relief, etc) aprs.fi has had a generous free use 
limit from Google, even after the pricing went up in 2012. With the recent 
pricing model changes for Google Maps APIs, the free use quota got lost, 
because they were not automatically migrated in the transformation. It was 
a bit uncertain whether it'll stay there or not, but now it's obvious it's 

I'm trying to reach out to them and see if it can be reinstated, or if a 
generous volume discount can be applied. If someone has insider Google 
contacts who are amateur radio operators, please email me and them in 

If not, I might be looking at a bill of 4000-5000€ ($4500-6000) per month, 
which obviously is something that I can't do. The billing has now started, 
and I got a small credit for the transition & try-out period, which will 
last for a few days, and I can pay the bill for a few more days after 
that, but then I'll have to turn it off or quickly migrate away.

To reduce the loads a bit, I'll be disabling the Embedded maps feature 
right now.

There is a risk that I'll have to replace Google Maps with something, but 
it'll be a development effort which will take quite some time, and the end 
result might not be quite as smooth; the Google Maps API has been pretty 

Remember folks: It's not just about the map graphics - it's the API, and 
all the software from Google to load the graphics and draw things on top, 
and make them pan and zoom nicely.

    - Hessu, OH7LZB

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