Mapping APIs – Google Maps vs Bing Maps: Part 2 Licensing

For our blog series on comparing the two mapping developer API’s we thought we should start with one of the most important aspects, licensing. This is going to be tricky to compare as we are not allowed to publish the exact commercial pricing for either platform. We will try and give as much information as we can to still be a useful and valid comparison.

Licensing is a tricky subject and the terms for each API are written in pure legalese. We will try to identify and compare the key points using our understanding of each licensing agreement.

When comparing the APIs we will highlight key differences with green highlighting.

Free Usage

Often the first question asked is “can we use them for free”, well since November the quick answer for both platforms is yes, as long as you don’t use too much.

Google Maps

  • free for use on “public facing” websites (i.e. a site that doesn’t charge for access to the maps). There is limit on how many map loads you can use but its not published and said to be at Google’s discretion
  • can be used for commercial usage (where the site makes money)
  • free on the understanding advertising may be shown on your map (with 90 days notice)
  • free on the understanding any data you display on the maps, Google has the right to re-use in marketing etc as shown in the terms; “you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute Your Content through the Service and as search results through Google Services.”
  • No Service Level Agreement – if it goes offline you have no comeback
  • The terms of the agreement can change at any time without warning, meaning it might not be free tomorrow
  • Gives you access to both the ajax mapping api and mapping related web services
  • Cannot be used for real time navigation (sat-nav) due to 3rd party license agreements
  • Can we used for asset tracking but only for a service that is free to end users

Bing Maps

  • Free for use on “public facing” websites for up to 125,000 map page loads per year or 500,000 map transactions (1 transaction is 8 map 256 pixel square map tiles or one address lookup) per annum
  • Free to use if you can prove that you are a not for profit organisation or educational organisation (we would strongly suggest you check the terms and conditions to ensure that your organisation qualifies)
  • can be used for commercial usage (where the site makes money)
  • No Service Level Agreement – if it goes offline you have no comeback
  • The terms of the agreement can change at any time without warning, meaning it might not be free tomorrow
  • Gives you access to both the ajax mapping api and mapping related web services
  • Any data you “submit” to bing maps you give a license to Microsoft to re-use, however this does not cover data etc hosted by yourself or a thrid party, only data hosted by Microsoft on your behalf.
  • free on the understanding advertising or search box may be shown on your map at some point in the future
  • Does not include Bings “birds eye imagery” due to the licensing agreement between Microsoft and its birds eye imagery suppliers
  • Cannot be used at all for fleet or asset tracking without a commercial license (see below)
  • Cannot be used for real time navigation (sat-nav) due to 3rd party license agreements

from earthware.co.uk     more here

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