5 powerful alternatives to google maps API

5 Powerful Alternatives to Google Maps API

Google Maps is a favorite for its geolocation services worldwide. Their expansive database of geographical features, small businesses, and street images across the globe is hard to beat. That’s why the Google Maps API has for years been the go-to choice for developers.

However, Google Maps API isn’t the only option for location and maps data. There are many more cost-effective APIs on the market that provide just as comprehensive geolocation data.

Below, we’ll explore a handful of free and paid geolocation APIs, and look at their unique features. Developers can use these services to power many use cases, such as routing, rideshares, location-sharing, and other geo-specific capabilities.

1. OpenLayers

OpenLayers is a completely free solution for displaying dynamic maps in a web page or application. It draws tiles from a variety of sources, including OpenStreetMap, whose API is only good for raw geodata.

In addition to the basic maps, OpenLayers also allows you to render vector layers on your map and drop markers wherever you please. Not bad for a service that’s totally free!

  • Price: Free
  • Features: Tiled maps, vector maps, markers

2. TomTom

Our next mapping solution is TomTom, and you can bet their maps are pretty good given their reputation for satellite navigation. TomTom provides robust Maps, Places, Routing, Traffic, and Tracking APIs. Using TomTom’s Map Display API, you can access vector or raster tiles to display detailed maps and style them to your visual needs with the Map Styler.

Indeed, TomTom offers significantly more functionality. Not only can you display maps, but you can also search for locations, see traffic density, and find the best routes from A to B.

  • Price: 50,000 free tile requests daily, and 2,500 free non-tile requests daily. Pay-as-you-go pricing options are provided beyond these levels.
  • Features: Tiled maps, vector maps, markers, location search, traffic density, route finding.

3. Mapbox

Mapbox is another option for inserting precise location data into your application. Drawing data from both open and proprietary sources, Mapbox offers maps, location searches, navigations, and custom map features with its Mapbox Studio. These features make Mapbox quite useful for navigation since that’s something very few competitors offer.

The Mapbox documentation has thorough references for all its APIs and provides Maps SDKs for mobile platforms. In terms of pricing, Mapbox sits somewhere between TomTom and Google Maps.

  • Price: Offers 100,000 free monthly requests for most of its APIs, with pay-as-you-go pricing beyond these thresholds. You can easily calculate your monthly cost here.
  • Features: Tiled maps, vector maps, markers, location search, route finding, custom maps, geocoding.


HERE is another leader in the location ecosystem, with high-quality mapping tools to help visualize data, generate insights, and construct maps. Their comprehensive coverage has impressive accuracy and is updated on a near-daily basis.

In addition to all the features other providers boast, HERE offers extensive map visualization functionality, as well as public transit data and more. Its real-time location data makes it a good fit for assisted or automated driving.

  • Price: HERE’s rates are complex pay-as-you models that are unique to each service. For example, the HERE Map Rendering’s Map Tile method can accept 0 to 30,000 monthly transactions for free. HERE offers bulk discounts at certain thresholds.
  • Features: Tiled maps, vector maps, markers, location search, route finding, custom maps, map visualizations, public transit

5. Distancematrix.ai

Distancematrix.ai can be considered as an alternative to Google’s Distance Matrix API. It enables an application to compute the distance and time between two locations, using various modes of transportation. The service can respond with traffic conditions and provides geocoding abilities.

  • Price: Offers pay-as-you-go pricing for Distance Matrix API, starting at $2 per 1,000 elements for 1-100,000 elements. Bulk discounts apply the more you request.
  • Features: Distance calculation, time estimates, geocoding.


That’s it for our top five alternatives to the Google Maps API. There are plenty more options out there (here are a few more of those compared), but each of these five options shines in its own way.

Need help deciding which to use? Here’s our instant rubric for doing so:

  • If you need navigation, choose TomTom
  • If you need affordability, choose OpenLayers
  • If you need map visualizations, choose HERE
  • If you need custom maps, choose Mapbox
  • If you need routing data, choose Distancematrix.ai.

More Maps APIs

We are always on the hunt for new APIs, SDKs, and libraries to make developers’ lives easier! Here are some other geolocation tools we’ve discovered since we first wrote this post. If we’ve left one out, please let us know in the comments below.