Bad news about Google Maps

Google has announced that they are "streamlining" their tools for embedding maps and Street View imagery on websites. Once you get past all of the buzzwords in their announcement, this represents a massive price increase in their services starting June 11.

Some back-of-the-envelope calculations show that,, and would be on the hook for $19,000 per year at current usage under the new pricing regime.

To mitigate this, I've immediately switched all three sites to use the "Embed" version of Google Maps which will remain free (at least for now). Unfortunately, this version is a definite downgrade: it does not offer Terrain view, the default zoom level always seems to be too close, part of the map is obscured by an overlay that can't be removed, and Google reserves the right to place advertisements within it.

The county maps, Exhibit maps, and editor tools require more advanced services that will cost $7 per 1,000 uses. Google is offering $200 per month credit, but it's possible that we'll blow past that limit even with the changes I've made. We'll have to cross that bridge when we get to it, so to speak.

I have been working on building my own mapping engine, although it's not quite ready to launch. You can try it out at But keep in mind, as the front page warns, "Things will break. And how!"

I'd love to eliminate the dependency on Google services entirely, but right now Street View imagery is simply too helpful to leave behind. But that might become necessary if Google keeps "streamlining" their services with more price increases.

Comments  (9)

Bad news about Google Maps
Posted June 11, 2018, by Jason Smith (flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com)

Don't feel too bad, James. Because of the EU guidelines combined with new guidelines on privacy in the US, I'm not able to get access to most American news from over here in Europe and am therefore looking for some help for the Chronicles. Information on why this is going on can be found here:

EU and American social media guidelines hampering info traffic on the Chronicles. Read more on how you can help here:

All I can say is so much for net neutrality. :-(

Bad news about Google Maps
Posted June 10, 2018, by James Baughn (webmaster [at] bridgehunter [dot] com)

In preparation for tomorrow's Google Maps Day of Reckoning, I've removed the embedded Street View widgets from all pages. Links are still provided to access the Street View imagery on Google's site.

Bad news about Google Maps
Posted May 13, 2018, by Jimmy (gatsbyandglock [at] gmail [dot] com)

I agree with Joe, too. I already do that anyway. I look everything up on my map app. I rarely use the site map for anything more than getting a general location. We should all be savvy enough, if we're hunting bridges this way, to start with.

Bad news about Google Maps
Posted May 13, 2018, by Mike Piontka (Spginc [at] comcast [dot] net)

I agree with Joe.

You provide a great service, and itís fun looking for old lost bridges. I find that with technology being as simple to use, there is no reason you should provide a costly service when contributors can do the job for free.

Bad news about Google Maps
Posted May 10, 2018, by Joe

Just show the latitude and longitude and let people cut and paste that into or some other map service themselves.

All browsers support multiple tabs and everyone knows they can go to google themselves; it does not have to be inside your webpage.

Bad news about Google Maps
Posted May 8, 2018, by Mike Daffron (daffmikron [at] gmail [dot] com)

I've been checking out what you have so far and it looks great!

Bad news about Google Maps
Posted May 7, 2018, by Kenny Fairhurst (dwf0403 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I'm not surprised with Google. They have a bit of a fetish for "streamlining" and "optimizing" their tools, when in reality it makes them worse than they were before.

Fuck you Google.

Bad news about Google Maps
Posted May 7, 2018, by Pete Williams (odolaas69 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Is this not an educational website? Would there not be some sort of exemption?

All about money anymore

Bad news about Google Maps
Posted May 6, 2018, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

Don't be evil.

(And don't strip my strike through code on the "Don't".)