Do you plan to add mapping capabilities to your app?

There are two main options that are worth considering: Mapbox and Google Maps API. Both have their pros and cons, but the choice largely depends on what type of experience you want to give your users.

Google Maps has been around since 2005 and has become the dominant player in the online mapping market, making it difficult for competitors to overtake it.

To put all this together, a diverse set of Map APIs is required. If you plan to develop an application that requires geolocation services, you probably already noticed that there are several APIs available. The most popular ones are Google Maps and TomTom.

Google developed a robust API platform that offers many different types of solutions. And TomTom is a direct competitor to Google Maps.

Source: Google Trends

There is a dazzling array of apps and tools with Google Maps APIs integration, such as Tweeted Trips (Twitter users can generate a map of their journey), Weather Hopper (gives a weather history), Startup Weekend Events (identifies events for entrepreneurs), and many more.
Mapbox is a popular alternative to Google Maps. It was founded in 2010 and has continued to grow since then. Mapbox offers powerful routing engines, accurate travel times, and intuitive turn-by-turn directions to help businesses build custom maps.

In this article, you’ll find a comparison of Mapbox vs. Google Maps APIs to help you choose the best mapping platform for your app. We’ll take a look at both solutions’ pricing models, features, and overall reliability. Our developers use both APIs when creating applications for our clients, including Fleetsu and Road Hunter.

Road Hunter app we built

What is Mapbox API? Mapbox features review

Mapbox offers several APIs that could be integrated into mobile and web-based apps. These APIs were used to build custom maps for various apps and websites, including Foursquare, Lonely Planet, the Financial Times, and Snapchat. Mapbox APIs are divided into four services: Maps, Navigation, Search, and Accounts.

Maps service

The Mapbox Maps Service offers several APIs, including:

  • Vector Tiles API that serves vector tiles generated from Mapbox Studio styles;
  • Raster Tiles API that serves raster tiles generated from satellite imagery tilesets and tilesets generated from raster data uploaded to Mapbox.com;
  • Static Images API that returns static images generated from vector map styles;
  • Static Tiles API that returns raster tiles generated from Mapbox Studio styles;
  • Styles API that lets you read and change map styles, fonts, and images;
  • Tilequery API that allows you to retrieve data about specific features from a vector tileset;
  • Uploads API that transforms geographic data into tilesets that can be used with maps;
  • Mapbox Tiling Service that supports reading metadata for raster and vector tilesets as well as creating and reading tileset sources, recipes, and vector tilesets;
  • Datasets API that offers persistent storage for custom geographic data;
  • Fonts API that provides you with a programmatic way to interact with fonts in your map styles.

Navigation service

The Mapbox Navigation Service provides several APIs for getting directions and building turn-by-turn navigation experiences (either by interacting with the Navigation Service APIs directly or using a mobile SDK), including:

  • Directions API that calculates routes & produces instructions;
  • Isochrone API that computes areas that are reachable within a specified amount of time from a location;
  • Map Matching API that snaps fuzzy, inaccurate traces to the OpenStreetMap road and path network;
  • Matrix API that returns travel times between many points;
  • Optimization v1 API that returns a duration-optimized route between the input coordinates;
  • Optimization v2 API that returns a duration-optimized route between the input coordinates.

Search service

The Mapbox Search Service includes two APIs:

  • The Mapbox Geocoding API allows you to do forward & reverse geocoding.
  • Search API enables search suggestions & feature retrieval.

Accounts service

The Mapbox Accounts service helps interact with user accounts programmatically. It includes one API: the Mapbox Tokens API.

Google Maps features

Google Maps is a mapping platform that allows businesses to access a variety of location-based services. It has several APIs that enable companies to build scalable solutions. Let’s explore the main features of this product.

Directions and transit

The Google Maps route planner allows users to select their travel mode from multiple options, including driving, public transportation, walking, and biking. Google Maps’ algorithm has been shown to be one of the most reliable in its industry.

Traffic conditions

Google Maps allows users to view traffic data as a colored overlay on top of roads, showing the speed at which vehicles travel along particular roads. Using a large number of cellphone users’ GPS-determined locations, which are then shared with a central database, crowdsourcing is used to create live traffic maps.

Street view panorama

Google Street View provides 360-degree views of various locations around the world. It displays interactive, stitched panoramas made from a series of photographs.

Immersive View

This feature displays photorealistic aerial views of more than 250 global landmarks, allowing users to explore nearby locales and see nearby restaurants and shops.

45° imagery

45° aerial imagery offers a “bird’s-eye” view of cities and regions around the world, including locations in more than 60 areas.

Business listings

Google displays business listings based on information from multiple sources. Business owners can verify their business data through their profiles.

Indoor maps

Indoor maps are useful for navigating within buildings, such as airports, museums, shopping malls, and other public spaces.

My Maps

The ability to create custom maps is one of the most widely-used features among businesses. You can add points, lines, shapes, notes, and images.

Google Local Guides

Google Local Guides allow users to share reviews, photos, and videos, as well as correct information about locations.

Timelapse

Timelapse allows users to look back all the way to 1984, seeing how both human activity (such as deforestation) and natural forces (such as volcanic eruptions) have changed the face of Earth.

Google Maps vs Mapbox comparison

If you are looking for a mapping solution that will help you create an easy-to-use and functional app, you need to select a reliable API.
Mapbox and Google Maps APIs offer advanced functionality for businesses to use in their applications, including adding maps with different types of data. However, there are some key differences between them that you should be aware of before choosing one over the other.

Which one should you go with? Let’s examine the key differences between Mapbox and Google Maps.

Mapbox Google Maps
Search When you use Mapbox, you can get this feature for free. This feature is paid after a certain limit.
Map markers With Mapbox, the implementation of this feature requires more development time. From a developer’s perspective, the Google Maps clustering feature is much more convenient.
Customization Mapbox gives you the power to create your own unique designs and customize them in many ways. Google Maps does not offer much flexibility. The base layer cannot be changed.
Price Mapbox offers up to 25,000 mobile users and 50,000 web loads for free. Google Maps offers 28,500 maploads per month for no charge.

One of the most common questions we get from our clients is “Should I use Mapbox vs Google Maps?” The benefits of Mapbox for app developers are numerous, but the answer here will depend on what you are looking to accomplish. You can contact our team if you have any questions about these tools, or if you need help determining which one is right for your project.

Why is it better to use Mapbox in your app?

If you’re planning to add mapping capabilities to your app, you have many options. But let’s take a step back and think about what you actually want from a mapping solution.

Do you need maps that are fast loading and responsive? Do you need detailed information about users’ locations? If so, then Mapbox API integration could be the answer you are looking for.

Mapbox is a great option because it offers several different styles of maps, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs. With Mapbox, you can customize your maps to fit the look and feel of your application so that your users will have a seamless experience when using it.

Also, Mapbox has the upper hand on its cheaper pricing plans. As your usage grows, you’ll automatically get volume pricing and get additional discounts for annual commitments.

Is Mapbox better than Google Maps? The question is somewhat tricky because it depends on the specific requirements of your application. If you’re looking for alternatives to Google Maps and considering Mapbox for app development, we would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Mapbox API integration

Mapbox API integration allows you to build customizable maps and include location data into your apps and websites.

If you’re planning to use Mapbox for app development, here you can find examples, tutorials, and API references to help you get started. Mapbox offers extensive documentation where you can learn more about embedding custom maps in web and mobile apps, get guidance on best practices, and browse a comprehensive application reference.

Also, you can contact us for information about the advantages of Mapbox over Google Maps, explanation of the difference in price between Google Maps and Mapbox, Mapbox review, and guidance on Mapbox vs. Google Maps API.

Volpis Experience with navigation app development

Volpis is a software development company that specializes in developing navigation apps. Our team has years of experience in the industry, and we’re excited to put our expertise to work for you.

We employ a team of talented developers and designers who are able to create fully-featured, high-quality navigation apps quickly, while maintaining our commitment to quality. We have extensive experience in developing navigation apps for both iOS and Android, including the following features:

  • GPS tracking;
  • voice command recognition;
  • map display;
  • route planning and optimization;
  • and many more.

We’ve worked with many top brands to help them with app development and have built a reputation for building successful solutions that meet our customers’ needs. We are committed to providing our clients with the best services possible.

Fleetsu app we built

Final thoughts

The Mapbox vs. Google Maps API is a debate that has been going on for years. We’ve had the opportunity to work with both solutions, and we can tell you that they both offer a solid set of features. However, depending on your requirements, you may find that one tool suits you better than the other.

At Volpis, we believe that it is crucial to understand how our clients’ business operates in order to build high-quality software products. This allows us to create applications that fit the company’s needs and helps them reach their goals.

If you have any questions about Google Maps or Mapbox, you can reach out to us via info@volpis.com or fill in the form below. We will be happy to help you decide which one is best for your needs as well as budget considerations.

FAQ

Is Mapbox cheaper than Google Maps?

Yes, Mapbox is less expensive. But it’s not necessarily the most cost-effective option for every app development project.

Is Mapbox better than Google Maps?

The answer to this question depends on what you’re looking for in a map service. Google Maps offer the largest set of features, but Mapbox is ideal if you want more control over how your maps look and feel.

How to integrate Mapbox into my app?

You can check Mapbox documentation for guides, API references, and examples of integrating map functionality into software applications. 

Who uses Mapbox?

Mapbox was used to build custom maps by Foursquare, Lonely Planet, the Financial Times, The Weather Channel, Instacart Inc., and Snapchat.