Since Google Maps launched their API allowing developers to use their mapping service to draw their own data, Yahoo has tried to play catchup with their own API. Well now with MapQuest’s announcement of their new API, it’s now a three way. Which one to choose?
Google Maps API
- Fluid interface, brilliant looking map marker flyouts
- Built in Aerial Photos
- Largest developer base, as a result…
- Lots of hacks and how-to’s available
- No built-in geocoding service
- No built-in routing capability
Yahoo Maps API
- Built-in and external geocoding capability
- Very flexible and open API’s
- Rate limiting by IP instead of appID
- Built-in GeoRSS support
- Flash version available
- U.S. and Canada only
- Flyouts not quite as spiffy as Google
- No aerial photo option
- Built-in routing (driving directions) capability
- Built-in geocoding capability
- No smooth AJAX client (yet)
- Rate limiting by appID + web site URL (instead of end-user IP)
- No photos option
Yahoo and MapQuest seem to be eager to please their developers, probably with good reason. They have a lot of catching up to do with Google. I give Yahoo a lot of credit for being first to release a AJAX map client with built-in geocoding functionality. That’s one clear area where they are ahead of Google.
Time will tell how sustainable each companies model is and how much change will be necessary. Remember too that they aren’t just always going to give this away for free, even if there will be no charge in the future, there are bound to be ADs.