Google Maps vs OpenStreetMap

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Google Maps vs OpenStreetMap: What are the differences?

Google Maps and OpenStreetMap are two popular mapping services that provide users with location-based information and mapping functionalities. Although they serve a similar purpose, there are several key differences between the two.

  1. Data Source: One of the primary differences between Google Maps and OpenStreetMap is the source of their data. Google Maps relies on data gathered by Google's fleet of Street View cars and satellite imagery, as well as third-party data providers. On the other hand, OpenStreetMap is a collaborative mapping project, where users contribute their own data and verify and update existing information.

  2. Licensing: Another significant difference is the licensing of the mapping data. Google Maps' data is proprietary, and its usage is subject to Google's terms and conditions. OpenStreetMap, on the other hand, utilizes an open database and is licensed under the Open Database License. This means that the data in OpenStreetMap can be freely used, shared, and modified by anyone.

  3. Community Involvement: The level of community involvement differs between the two mapping services. Google Maps is primarily developed and maintained by Google, with limited opportunities for user contribution. In contrast, OpenStreetMap thrives on community participation, allowing anyone to contribute and improve the map data. This collaborative approach leads to more up-to-date and detailed information in certain areas.

  4. Customizability: When it comes to customization options, Google Maps offers a wider range of tools and features for developers to integrate maps into their websites or applications. It provides extensive APIs and SDKs, enabling developers to incorporate advanced functionalities like routing, geocoding, and street view. OpenStreetMap also provides APIs but with a comparatively smaller ecosystem of plugins and libraries.

  5. Offline Access: OpenStreetMap has the advantage of offering offline access to its map data. Users can download maps of specific regions and use them without an internet connection. This feature is particularly useful in areas with limited connectivity or for users who prefer to conserve data usage. Google Maps, on the other hand, generally requires an active internet connection to load and display map data.

  6. Cost: Cost is another crucial difference between the two mapping services. While both Google Maps and OpenStreetMap are free for most personal use cases, Google Maps offers additional premium services and APIs at a cost. Businesses and developers may need to pay for accessing certain advanced features, such as enhanced search capabilities and increased usage limits. OpenStreetMap, being an open-source project, does not have any direct costs but may require infrastructure expenses for hosting and data storage.

In summary, Google Maps relies on proprietary data, has limited community involvement, offers extensive customization options, but has potential cost implications. OpenStreetMap, on the other hand, relies on user-contributed data, encourages community participation, provides offline access, and is generally free to use.

Advice on Google Maps and OpenStreetMap
  1. I would like to input a spreadsheet with names and associated addresses into a map program to; pinpoint all of the locations on a map. How can I do that? On which map? Are there field size limitations? All help would be appreciated.

  2. There is a subdivision that is about one(1) mile by 3/4 mile in size. Is there a map program that would create the most efficient way to drive all of the streets in the subdivision without a lot of doubling back?

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Replies (1)

You could use a low-code platform to read the spreadsheet and use them as input for the pin pointing. The most expert provider would HERE or TomTom for the best routing algoritmes. Input parameters would be dependent on the chosen provider.

I see your stack is mostly Google and I am not familiar with that. But we have implemented this through the M365 Teams/SharePoint, Excell, MS PowerPlatform, our WMS and Azure.

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From a StackShare Community member: "We're a team of two starting to write a mobile app. The app will heavily rely on maps and this is where my partner and I are not seeing eye-to-eye. I would like to go with an open source solution like OpenStreetMap that is used by Apple & Foursquare. He would like to go with Google Maps since more apps use it and has better support (according to him). Mapbox is also an option but I don’t know much about it."

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Replies (6)

I use Mapbox because We need 3D maps and navigation, it has a great plugin for React and React Native which we use. Also the Mapbox Geocoder is great.

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Blair Gemmer
Software Engineer at VYNYL · | 2 upvotes · 165.6K views
Google MapsGoogle Maps

Google Maps is best because it is practically free (they give you $300 in free credits per month and it's really hard to go over the free tier unless you really mean business) and it's the best!

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I use OpenStreetMap because that has a strong community. It takes some time to catch up with Google Maps, but OpenStreetMap will become great solution.

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Google MapsGoogle Maps

I use Google Maps because it has a lot of great features such as Google's rich APIs, geolocation functions, navigation search feature, street map view, auto-generated 3D city map.

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Its open source and we use it.

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Fabio Fraga Machado

I use OpenStreetMap because i have the control of the environment, using Docker containers or bare-metal servers.

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Pros of Google Maps
Pros of OpenStreetMap
  • 253
  • 136
    Address input through maps api
  • 81
    Sharable Directions
  • 47
    Google Earth
  • 46
  • 3
    Custom maps designing
  • 22
  • 17
  • 9
  • 7
  • 1
    React/ RNative integration

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Cons of Google Maps
Cons of OpenStreetMap
  • 4
    Google Attributions and logo
  • 1
    Only map allowed alongside google place autocomplete
    Be the first to leave a con

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    What is Google Maps?

    Create rich applications and stunning visualisations of your data, leveraging the comprehensiveness, accuracy, and usability of Google Maps and a modern web platform that scales as you grow.

    What is OpenStreetMap?

    OpenStreetMap is built by a community of mappers that contribute and maintain data about roads, trails, cafés, railway stations, and much more, all over the world.

    Need advice about which tool to choose?Ask the StackShare community!

    What companies use Google Maps?
    What companies use OpenStreetMap?
    See which teams inside your own company are using Google Maps or OpenStreetMap.
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    What tools integrate with OpenStreetMap?

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