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

Heikki Hannikainen hessu at hes.iki.fi
Wed Jul 18 06:55:26 EDT 2018

On Wed, 18 Jul 2018, Heikki Hannikainen wrote:

> 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 
> great.

And before everyone and their dog yells "Hey, just switch to 
OpenStreetMaps, you have that already in the menu right?", please note 

When you select the "OSM" option from the current aprs.fi menu, it just 
tells Google Maps API to download OSM tiles; that does not stop the paid 
use of the Google Maps API.

The Google Maps API has provided quite a few things:

* The source map material (vector maps drawn by people and algorithms, 
often purchased from other mapping companies)

* PNG map tiles (the source map material drawn and zoomed and rendered as 
small PNG image files), these are what are actually downloaded and 
displayed in the web browser

* The tile servers run in Google's cloud, which convert the source map 
material to the PNG tiles; the web browser downloads the tiles from these 
servers, not aprs.fi!

* The Maps API javascript library, which performs the downloading of the 
tiles in the browser, zooming and panning functions, and draws things like 
APRS symbol graphics on top, and lines between them, when aprs.fi simply 
gives sets of geographical coordinates to the library.

* Address search (what are the coordinates for a street address); need to 
use something like Geonames for that, but it won't be half as good as 
Google's free text address search

>From OSM you only get the first one, the source vector map material. You 
can't simply download map tiles from their tile server all the time (see 
https://operations.osmfoundation.org/policies/tiles/ ).

Then I'll need something like Leaflet to replace the javascript library, 
it's some work to convert to that.

Then I'll need to download the tiles from somewhere, either from one of 
the free or paid tile servers, or perhaps set up my own tile server, which 
takes quite some work and plenty of server capacity to run 
- see below "Import map data" and "Hardware" headlines).

https://switch2osm.org/ describes the process quite well. It's plenty of 
work, but I'll have to look into it.

   - Hessu, OH7LZB

More information about the aprssig mailing list