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Comparison of online map services

It’s not easy to choose the right online map service from the wide sortiment available. Either you’re interested in routing for private purposes or in finding a base map for your fleet management operations, you might easily find yourself lost among the available services.
We collected the main differences of online maps to make your decision easier.  We compared leading map services by the most relevant aspects. For further information see also Comparison of web map services on Wikipedia.

 

Online map service from MAPCAT

General description

Description
MAPCAT OpenStreetMap-based world map service offering routing for cars, bicycles and pedestrians, plus real-time map editing and business services
Google Maps A web mapping service developed by Google. It offers satellite imagery, street maps, 360° panoramic views of streets (Street View), real-time traffic conditions (Google Traffic), and route planning for traveling by foot, car, bicycle (in beta), or public transportation.
Bing Maps A web mapping service provided as a part of Microsoft’s Bing suite of search engines and powered by the Bing Maps for Enterprise framework.
Apple Maps A web mapping service developed by Apple Inc. It is the default map system of iOS, macOS, and watchOS. It provides directions and estimated times of arrival for automobile, pedestrian, and public transportation navigation. Apple Maps also features the unique ‘Flyovers’ mode, a feature that enables a user to explore densely populated urban centers in a 3D landscape composed of models of buildings and structures.
OpenStreetMap OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world. The creation and growth of OSM has been motivated by restrictions on use or availability of map information across much of the world, and the advent of inexpensive portable satellite navigation devices. OSM is considered a prominent example of volunteered geographic information.
Mapbox Provider of custom online maps for websites. Also the creator of, or a significant contributor to some open source mapping libraries and applications.
OpenLayers An open source JavaScript library for displaying map data in web browsers as slippy maps. It provides an API for building rich web-based geographic applications.
Leaflet An open source JavaScript library used to build web mapping applications. It supports most mobile and desktop platforms, supporting HTML5 and CSS3.

Map database

Map Database
MAPCAT Uses OpenStreetMap for providing its services.
Google Maps Has its own proprietary map database.
Bing Maps Has its own proprietary map database.
Apple Maps Has its own proprietary map database.
OpenStreetMap Is itself an open source, community driven map database.
Mapbox Uses OpenStreetMap for providing its services. Optionally can be used with custom map databases too.
OpenLayers Provides no map database. Has to be used with a service providing map tiles, like MAPCAT, OpenStreetMap or Mapbox.
Leaflet Provides no map database. Has to be used with a service providing map tiles, like MAPCAT, OpenStreetMap or Mapbox.

Frontend (public map) provided as a service

Web Mobile app Desktop app Map data editing Embed HTML iframe
MAPCAT Yes No No Yes, on web No
Google Maps Yes Yes No Limited, only reporting issues Yes
Bing Maps Yes Yes No User contributions as additional data Yes
Apple Maps No iOS only OS X only Limited, only reporting issues No
OpenStreetMap Yes 3rd party No Yes, on web Yes
Mapbox No No No No No

OpenLayers and Leaflet provide no user interfaces as a service.

Map rendering API

Providing vector tiles via API Providing raster tiles via API
MAPCAT Yes Yes
Google Maps Yes Yes
Bing Maps Yes Yes
Apple Maps Yes Yes
OpenStreetMap Yes Yes
Mapbox Yes Yes

OpenLayers and Leaflet provide no online services at all.

Map rendering support for programming languages

Javascript Swift Objective-C Java C# C++
MAPCAT 3rd party library No No No
Google Maps Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bing Maps Yes 3rd party library 3rd party library No Yes Yes
Apple Maps No Yes Yes No No No
OpenStreetMap 3rd party library No No No No No
Mapbox Yes Yes Yes Yes 3rd party library Yes
OpenLayers Yes No No No No No
Leaflet Yes No No No No No

Services provided via API

Geocoding Reverse Geocoding Height Service
MAPCAT Yes Yes Yes
Google Maps Yes Yes Yes
Bing Maps Yes Yes Yes
Apple Maps Yes Yes No
OpenStreetMap Yes No No
Mapbox Yes Yes Yes
OpenLayers No No No
Leaflet No No No
Routes: car Routes: ferry support for cars Routes: bike Routes: outdoor support for bikes Routes: public transport Routes: walk
MAPCAT Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Google Maps Yes Yes Yes partially No Yes Yes
Bing Maps Yes Yes No No Yes Yes
Apple Maps Yes Yes No No Yes Yes
OpenStreetMap No No Yes Yes No Yes
Mapbox Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
OpenLayers No No No No No No
Leaflet No No No No No No

 

For this post, we collected information from Wikipedia as well as from the websites of the service providers. As all companies work continuously on developing their services, some information might be outdate by the time you read this article.

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