The cost of map location search

For footage/image buyers the ability to search for content via by location is a boon; and, of course, if they can’t find the actual shot required they can ask the cameraman to return to the location and shoot some more.
Recognising this, one of the sought after features we offered in our Media Asset Management system was the ability to show, on Google maps, the location where a film or an image was created.
This was reasonably straight forward until, in July 2018, Google followed Bing Maps and started charging for map location usage. If you read the media headlines it seemed as if you would have to pay $200 per month minimum; however, depending on your site traffic and functional design it can be free… or quite expensive if you have a lot of users looking at a lot of clips.
Today, to use Google maps on your website you must sign up for a Google billing account so that they can charge you. Once you do this, Google gives you a $200 monthly credit
The charge, per map load, is tracked using an SKU. The SKU is the combination of the Product API plus the service or function called, for example, Place Details.
In our system we use the product “Maps JavaScript API” plus a separate java script for map clustering. However, you may wish to automatically convert street address to geo codes or vice versa; if you did, this would be an additional cost to the SKU
In our case, the SKU is only for the “Maps JavaScript API”. The charge is made per map load; it is $7 per 1000 uses. A user can pan, zoom or change layers as much as they like, there is no extra charge.
Google allows up to 100,000 uses of the SKU for the nominal $200 per month – but the calculation is a little more complex. Let’s say you have 100 users per day who look at 20 clips each. In the course of a 30 day month this would total 30,000 uses.
So, here’s the money. 30,000 uses divided by per 1,000 charge = 30 x usage charge of $7 = $210. less the Google credit of $200 = your charge is $10 per month. But if your traffic is higher, or the visitors view more than 20 clips, the charge will increase. Double the users or clips viewed and it can get to be quite serious money. There is a handy calculator on the Google Maps Platform / Pricing Plan.
Bing, incidentally, allow only 350 uses per day – averaged over a year - before they start charging. In reality, the cost is twice as much as Google.
Fortunately, in our system we also offer view map on demand.” So the charges are limited to the number of times a user actually opens the map.
Using a location based search with a map presentation is undoubtedly an extremely valid research tool for professional footage and image researchers. However, if you have a large percentage of pro-am visitors it may be quite costly if the functionality for display is not carefully considered.

search by map location

Author: Derek Mansfield

March 14 2019

Category: Marketing