UPDATE: Google Maps Engine API will be turned off on January 29, 2016. Are you ready?
We’ve been following the announcement from Google that they are axing their Google Maps Engine product very closely and tracking the impact that it is having in the industry.
The most viewed article relating to Google’s announcement appeared on ZDNet. The article was primarily aimed at those who understood what Google Maps Engine is/was and didn’t really attempt to clarify where this product stood in Google’s wide array of map related offerings. As a result, many people have misunderstood the announcement with some even thinking it means the end of Google Maps.
— Josh Brown (@jjbkeeper) January 21, 2015
The ZDNet article also contains dozens of comments from reader who are unclear about what this announcement actually means.
This is hardly surprising when you consider the large number of map related products both past and current with very similar names and in some cases very similar functionality:
- Google Maps
- Google Maps API
- Google Maps Enterprise
- Google Earth
- Google Earth Pro
- Google Maps Engine Lite
- Google Maps Engine Pro
- Google My Maps
- Google Maps for Work
Google’s announcement only related to Google Maps Engine, not any of the other products in the range (some in that list are already defunct). So to understand the announcement, we need to understand what Google Maps Engine is.
What is Google Maps Engine?
Here’s how Google describes the Pro version of the product:
Maps Engine Pro gives businesses and individual users an easy-to-use tool for collaborative map creation. Using Maps Engine Pro, you can create rich, multi-layered maps, share information with stakeholders and make decisions more collaboratively.
So Google Maps Engine is a browser based application from Google that allows users to upload their own map data and have it displayed as layers above the Google base maps. That data could be uploaded via their user interface in the following formats:
- Spreadsheet (CSV)
- Esri Shapefile
- Tab File
Google Maps and the Google Maps API also allow users to add their own overlays above the map but in reality they are limited to pushpins and simple lines and polygons.
Google also offered an API which allowed Google Maps API developers to integrate their layers from Google Maps Engine with their Google Maps API mashups.
What Does this Announcement Mean?
So now that were clear what Google Maps Engine is, we can now look at the significance of the announcement and what it means. The first thing you should understand is that this has absolutely no impact on Google Maps or Google Maps API. You will still be able to access Google Maps as you always have done and if you use the Google Map API to make mapping mashups. Nothing will change for you.
The big change is for those of you that have a Google Maps Engine account and have built web map applications using Google Maps Engine. You have until January 29, 2016 to find a replacement, because on that day Google will be switching off the lights !
What’s the best alternative? Mango of Course!
In the email announcement that Google sent to all account holders they encouraged users to either move to the very lightweight Google MyMaps or use their existing range of API products. But where does that leave non-coders and users who need more than the simple pushpin on a map functionality that MyMaps offers?
The short answer is that you need a non-Google alternative and luckily for you at Mango we have everything you need and are looking forward to welcoming you to our family of over 15,000 map makers!
We offer all of the functionality available on Google Maps Engine and much more.
Like Google Maps Engine, with Mango you can also:
- Display your data above base maps
- Upload vector data in a wide range of formats:
- and WMS
- Apply complex styling to layers via an interface
- Edit features in your data via an interface
- Create complex legends made up of multiple layers
- Control who has access to your maps and data
- Access your maps on mobile and tablet devices
What’s more, without writing a single line of code, you can do the following:
- Add tools to your maps with a single click (search, print, measure, analysis etc)
- Customize the applications interface (logo, colors, navigation menu, sidebar etc)
- Use your own domain name or sub-domain to access the maps
- Upload raster/image data
- Display labels for point, line and polygon features
- Add WMS layers to your map
Mango supports all common geospatial formats: Shapefile, MapInfo Tab, CSV, KML, GeoJSON, GeoTIFF (raster), File GeoDatabase, and WMS.
If you would like to take Mango for a test drive, you click here to sign-up for your free trial account and within minutes you will be building amazing web map applications.