What are people views of the Bing Maps API and how does it compare to the others for geo-locating other people's content?
Saturday, April 28, 2012 8:05 AMWe are looking to create a community website to promote our normal www.blueprint.tv site and have people link in videos and pictures. We are looking to find the right Map API but are unsure which one is best. Does anyone have any views on this?
Saturday, April 28, 2012 8:48 AMModerator
Firstly, just to let you know that this is a forum hosted and moderated by Microsoft (and used predominantly by developers already using the Bing Maps APIs), so you might not get a completely unbiased answer ;)
That said, lots of the developers here also have experience of other mapping platforms, and there was presumeably a reason why they chose Bing Maps over, say, Google Maps or Open Street Maps (which I would consider the two main alternatives).
The functionality and features of the AJAX controls of Bing Maps -v- Google Maps is nearly identical, so I wouldn't use that as a deciding factor.
Similarly, while the quality of road data/aerial imagery varies from location to location (i.e. in some parts of the world Bing has better imagery, in others Google does), it's largely comparable in most cases between the platforms.
I would draw your attention to the following parts of the Google Maps ToS:
4.3a) Google reserves the right to include advertising in the places results provided to you in the Maps API(s). By using the Maps API(s) to obtain places results, you agree to display such advertising in the form provided to you by Google.
11.1) By submitting, posting or displaying Your Content in the Service, 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...
Those two terms are, for me, sufficient reason not to use Google Maps in any of my applications, but think about what they mean in your context. (Would you want to display a map that potentially advertised one of your competitors on it, or give Google the rights to use any data you displayed on the map?)
Open Street Map is an alternative I'd strongly recommend you consider, but it requires a bit more tech-know-how. The advantages are that the data is completely open-source and available under a CC-by-SA licence so, you can customise it exactly as you please - adding/removing features etc. and if you use a tool such as Mapnik you can render your own map tiles in a completely personalised map style - see http://mapbox.com/maps/ for some examples of different map styles created from OSM data. You then need to host those map tiles yourself and use a control to display those tiles (such as Leaflet - http://leaflet.cloudmade.com). The other disadvantage is that, apart from the technical hosting requirements etc., you also won't be able to display aerial imagery - only "road" data from OSM.(Unless you pay for aerial imagery from a third-party provider)
If aerial imagery is important to your application, or if you're not interested in customising/hosting your own map data, I'd stick with Bing Maps.
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- Marked As Answer by Richard_BrundrittMicrosoft Employee, Owner Saturday, April 28, 2012 10:47 AM