Adding mapping features to an application can provide pertinent location information on optimal routes to specific places (indoors and outdoors) and images of streets for directions, navigation and visualisation purposes.
If you are a developer and would like to integrate stable and mature Maps APIs that have free quotas (for testing and even for commercial purposes) into your applications, then these are the top three (3) Maps APIs and their free quotas:
Google Maps Platform provides static and interactive maps that can be embedded into applications and websites. For an even more detailed and interactive experience, use the street view and high resolution satellite images.
For directions, routing, navigation and real-time traffic, use the Routes API to guide your users to specific locations such as shops, malls, and other relevant places.
The Google Places API helps users find places of interest such as restaurants, museums, parks, etc. The Places API also allows the conversion of addresses into geographical coordinates and vice versa (geocoding and reverse geocoding), auto completion for address and names of points of interests.
To get access to the Google Maps API, you need to have an account on the Google Cloud Platform and set up billing with the right payment credentials. Google provides 200$ worth of Maps, Routes and Places API requests every month. This will mostly be more than enough for your tests. You will pay for the extra requests when you exceed your free credits.
Checkout the Google Maps API documentations here.
HERE provides numerous sets of APIs for almost all location-based use cases. Similar to Google, HERE provides image and interactive maps for integration in applications and webpages. The developer portal of HERE also provides many usage examples of their APIs. You can choose between raster or vector-based images/tiles depending on your use case.
For directions, routing and navigation, HERE provides different APIs for simple car routing, intermodal routing (where multiple modes of transport such as car, bicycle, walking, etc may be used), and transit routing (giving users information on arrival and departure times of public transportation). For advanced routing use cases with multiple departure and destinations matrices, you can use the HERE Matrix routing and Fleet Telematics APIs.
HERE also provides APIs for real-time traffic and weather.
To get access to the HERE APIs, you need to create a free account on the HERE developer portal. You do not need to add billing information to get 250,000 transactions for free every month.
Mapbox offers both free and commercial APIs and services on top of open source map data such as OpenStreet maps and other open sources projects.
Similarly, Mapbox provides directions and turn-by-turn navigation APIs for routing and navigation.
Also, the Search API of Mapbox provides location information on places of interest, geocoding and reverse-geocoding.
Like Google and HERE, Mapbox provides free monthly quotas for each of their services and APIs. Check out the detailed list of free quotas here.
Each of these mapping companies have other interesting APIs that may be of interest to you , so do not forget to check out their product catalogs.
If you have any comments and questions, please add them at the bottom of the article.