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As with web developers creating a mapping application required calculating distances between two locations. Like many developers, our initial instinct was to use Google Maps API, which is well-known for its reliable and robust mapping features. We understood that the API could be costly if the usage exceeded the $200 free monthly limit. Since our website was not revenue-based, the additional cost would be a significant financial burden.
Best Reliable Google Maps API alternative
We comprehended that Openrouteservice would be cost-effective and ensure the website’s availability for its users. After discussing it with our team, we decided to switch to Openrouteservice. It became an excellent decision that saved us money and provided reliable results for our web application.
Openrouteservice is a routing service that offers developers APIs for calculating directions, geocoding, isochrones and other routing-related functionalities. This API service built on top of OpenStreetMap data made it a viable alternative option that is free, open-source and crowdsourced.
Why we choose Openrouteservices?
- Open source: You can access and modify the source code for your own purposes. It gives you greater flexibility and control over how you use the service. You don’t have to rely on a third-party vendor to maintain it.
- No usage limits: Unlike Google Maps API, which imposes usage limits and charges fees for high-volume usage, Openrouteservices has no usage limits or fees. It makes an excellent choice for projects with high traffic or large-scale applications.
- Supports more data formats: It supports multiple data formats than Google Maps API, including GeoJSON, GPX, KML, and others. It can be beneficial if you’re working with data from numerous sources or need to export data in a specific format.
- Routing options: Openrouteservice offers routing options for various modes of transport, including car, pedestrian, bicycle and wheelchair routing, making it an ideal choice for developers who want to build map-based services for specific transport modes or projects that require multi-modal routing options.
- Community-driven: Openrouteservice uses OpenStreetMap data, which is freely available and crowdsourced, meaning developers can contribute to and improve the quality of the mapping data, making it a community-driven solution. In contrast, Google Maps API uses proprietary data sources, which can limit the ability of developers to contribute to the data and improve its quality.
- Seamless integration: Additionally, Openrouteservice is available in several programming languages, making easy integration with different software and web-based applications.
- Privacy: Openrouteservices values privacy and does not collect or sell user data. It is quintessential for projects that involve sensitive or personal information.
Why is Openrouteservice unique?
Openrouteservice stands out with its exceptional routing capabilities, offering exclusive features like isochrones and matrix routing that go beyond the Google Maps API. With isochrones, you can effortlessly visualize reachable areas within a specified time or distance from a specific location, empowering you to efficiently plan routes and estimate travel times. Matrix routing, on the other hand, enables precise calculations of travel time and distance between multiple origins and destinations—a game-changer for logistics and delivery-oriented applications.
When it comes to customization, Openrouteservice truly shines. While Google Maps API allows some customization levels, Openrouteservice takes it to a new level. It offers extensive options to tweak route parameters and output formats according to your unique requirements. Tailor the service precisely to your needs by customizing routing algorithms or fine-tuning settings for isochrone analysis. With Openrouteservice, you have the power to unlock advanced routing features and achieve unparalleled customization, empowering you to streamline route planning and maximize logistics efficiency.
How we implement Openrouteservice?
Determined to find a cost-effective and sustainable solution, we embarked on a journey to discover the most suitable alternatives to the Google Maps API. Unfortunately, we were unaware of any mapping services beyond Google. Our extensive research led us to OpenStreetMap and its nomination API. While the service was free, our developers found the accuracy was unreliable for regular usage. Nevertheless, with perseverance, we kept looking and discovered Openrouteservice, a mapping service that provided free, accurate distance calculations between two locations.
Implementing the Openrouteservices is easy since every documentation is available in the playground section on the official site. Here we can test the code and see how the response is coming.
Sign up for a free account on Openrouteservice.org and obtain an API key.
Choose the routing service you want to use (e.g., directions, isochrones, matrices, etc.).
Decide the data format you want to use (e.g., GeoJSON, GPX, etc.).
Add the Openrouteservice API endpoint to your website code. To use the directions service, access the API endpoint via the following link: OpenRouteService Directions.
Pass the necessary parameters in your API request, such as the starting and ending coordinates for directions or the centre point and range for isochrones.
Handle the response from the API in your website code, and display the results to the user.
Openrouteservice uses latitude and longitude data for processing. Currently, it is under development, and its beta version is only available. We use Find that Postcode API to procure ideal latitude and longitude data in the UK.
My Final Take
In summary, Openrouteservice is a powerful and flexible routing service that provides a great alternative to commercial solutions such as Google Maps API. Its open-source nature, community-driven development approach and advanced routing features make it attractive for developers working on non-profit and open-source projects. So, if you need a mapping service, consider Openrouteservice – a free and reliable Google Maps API alternative that can meet your needs without incurring considerable costs.