How to determine the best Maps API for your on-demand mobile app

Maps in smartphones are common and this has made navigation possible to all smartphone users. With the advent in technology, digital maps have also been extensively used in on-demand apps and their APIs help third part app developers to facilitate a variety of features such as navigation, operational efficiency and helping them know the time required for physically reaching a customer.

Listed below are three highly useful features of digital maps for on-demand apps that help in improving the efficiency:

  • Tracking of workforce by admin.
  • Providing users an option to track so that they know the estimated time of delivery.
  • Enabling service providers to track users to assist in navigation and to locate a user.

 In the present day market, there are several digital maps API providers, which can be integrated into apps by developers. However, it is entirely up to you to choose the Maps API for your app based on your business requirement. Mentioned below are the factors that need to be considered before you select a particular Maps API for integration with your app.

Factors to be taken into consideration before choosing a Maps API for your app

With the most popular ones in market being Google Maps and Mapbox, you might also consider other alternatives for Maps API. Make sure that you consider the below mentioned factors before settling in for a particular Maps API.

Map API user for your app

This is the most crucial determining factor that should be considered prior to choosing a Maps API. You should also consider the growth in the number of users for your app before you select an API.

In the case of Google Maps, there are only 25,000 free views per day and once this limit is exceeded, you would be charged for all further usage of the Maps API. Thus, you would have to take into consideration that if your daily user base increases 25,000, you would have to pay for using Google Maps API.

Usage Costs

On determining the number of users for your app, the next aspect that needs to be considered is the charges for using the API. OpenStreet maps is free, Google Maps is free up to a certain extent and Mapbox charges you based on the usage. You might think that the free OpenStreet API would be best as it is free to use. But look into the other factors too that are listed below.

Support Document of API

Documentations included with APIs differ based on the API and developers are able to generate API key and facilitate integration solely based on the documentation provided. Hence, before you select a particular API, make sure that you go through the documentation and look at the ease with which it can be understood.

Ease of Use

This is another important aspect for consideration before selecting the API. Look into how easily your user base would be able to make use of the apps and how easily you would be able to track your workforce with the Maps API you wish to use. Test the API for its navigational accuracy to before you select it. A good API should also provide you with options to customize it based on your needs.

Maps API that are available for integration with on-demand apps

  • Google Maps
  • Mapbox
  • OpenStreet Maps
  • Nokia Here Maps
  • Bing Maps
  • Cartodb
  • OpenLayers
  • Waze

The above mentioned Maps API are extensively used by app developers but some are not as they do not provide the functionality required by app developers. The most commonly used Maps APIs are Google Maps API and Mapbox API, as they cater to all the needs and offer a wide range of functionalities that are essential for the functioning of apps in on-demand segment. Listed below are the features that are required from a Maps API.

Features of Digital Mapping required for Android/ iOS Apps

Turn by Turn Navigation

Turn by Turn navigation is highly useful and is required in instances where you wish to serve the customer efficiently and optimally. Service providers would highly benefit from turn by turn navigation as they would easily be able to reach the customer based on the guidance provided.

Real Time Tracking

Admin tasks usually involve real time tracking of drivers and users so that they are able to provide quality service to customers. Also, by making use of real-time tracking, both service providers and users would be able to locate each other better, resulting in better service and saving of the time involved in finding each other.

Calculation of Estimated Time of Arrival

To calculate the estimated arrival time, several factors are considered based on which the calculation is made. By knowing the time of arrival, service providers and users would have a better understanding about the time of arrival and this would result in better efficiency levels.

Capability to re-route or provide traffic updates

There are chances when there are traffic jams or closure of roads, which might require a re-route to reach the user. A good Maps API will have re-routing capabilities to help the driver reach quicker and also update the admin regarding the traffic scenario on a real time basis so that they can plan things accordingly.

The Verdict

If you are looking for a great level of customization with the maps, Mapbox API would be your best option as they offer an unmatched level of customization. However, if you think that the API should be efficient in tracking, re-routing and real time updates, Google Maps API would be your best choice!