The true cost of the Google Maps API and how Radar compares

Google Maps Platform is a powerful solution, but it comes with a hefty price tag. We've developed this guide to help you consider equally good but more affordable alternatives.

In this article, we'll highlight the true cost of Google Maps APIs to help you decide if it's worth it for your business case. We'll also tell you more about Radar's all-in-one location solution and why it might be a better, more cost-effective alternative for your next project.

Key takeaways

  • The Google Maps Platform pricing model means you can easily end up paying more than expected
  • Cost overruns usually come from exceeding the relatively low number of free requests, and a higher fee per 1,000 requests
  • Teams looking to incorporate geocoding or places data can reduce costs significantly by using Radar instead

Why some teams choose the Google Maps API

Google Maps Platform is a dominant player in the mapping solutions space, offering comprehensive maps, street views, satellite imagery, and real-time traffic data. Its wide range of mapping data, search, and navigation functionalities make it a popular choice for developers. However, the pricing model for Google Maps APIs can be complex, and there are certain usage and licensing restrictions to consider.

Google Maps divides its APIs into three groups: Maps, Routes, and Places:

Maps Dynamic maps, static maps, street view, and elevations
Routes Directions and distances from one point to another
Places Geocoding, geolocation, address validation, and time zones

Google Maps API pricing explained

The Google Maps Platform pricing model means you might find yourself paying more than anticipated after the initial $200 credit is exhausted.

The cost of using Google Maps APIs wasn't always so challenging. Before its pricing update in 2018, Google offered a generous free usage tier. Developers were able to make up to 25,000 maploads per day without incurring any fees. For many startups and small businesses, this was enough to power their mapping needs without having to pay for the service.

However, Google introduced a pay-as-you-go pricing model for its APIs and changed the way that certain products and feature are billed.

You get $200 in monthly credit for API calls. When this amount is used up, your account will be automatically charged. Should you exceed the request rate limits of any API, the API will return an error message, and your access to the platform may be blocked.

What changed after Google's pricing update

  • Google's free tier was reduced from 25,000 maploads per day to 28,500 maploads per month.
  • Dynamic Maps costs $7 for every 1,000 additional maploads.
  • The use of Google Maps APIs and SDKs requires an API key linked to a Google Platform account.
  • All customers are required to provide billing information and pay for any usage beyond the free quota.
  • If you exceed daily API usage limits the API will fail.

The cost of using Google Maps APIs

Google's pay-as-you-go pricing structure charges customers based on the specific features they use. The platform's SDKs and APIs are each priced individually based on usage per month, with pricing ranging from $2 to $30 per 1,000 requests.

If you're a low-volume business looking for the flexibility of browsing numerous features and only paying for what you need, then Google Maps pricing model might be an attractive choice. However, as you grow and scale your operations, the cost of using Google Maps API can quickly become prohibitively expensive.

You can use Google's interactive pricing calculator to compare costs based on your usage. For Maps, the pricing is as follows:

Product Pricing
Static maps $2 per 1,000 requests
Dynamic maps $7 per 1,000 requests
Static street view $7 per 1,000 requests
Dynamic street view $14 per 1,000 requests

Radar Maps Platform vs. Google Maps Platform cost comparison

If you're looking for affordable Google Maps alternatives, Radar might be the best solution for your business. Radar pricing is free for up to 100,000 API requests per month, and only $0.50 for every additional 1,000 calls.

Not only are we cheaper than Google Maps APIs, we also offer better value for your money. Radar supports geocoding, search, and distance APIs with high-quality address and place data. We’re also a full-stack platform for location tracking and geofencing, with support for unlimited geofences, polygon geofences, place detection, and more.

A cheaper alternative to Google Maps APIs

For businesses with high usage levels, Radar’s free limits and cheaper pricing can result in significant cost savings. For example, a business with 1 million monthly active users could expect to pay 90% less for Radar's APIs than Google's.

Here's a side-by-side pricing comparison of Radar's API vs. Google Maps:

Feature Radar Google Maps
Free geocoding requests per month 100,000 40,000 (based on $200 credit)
Geocoding price $0.50 per 1,000 requests $5 per 1,000 requests
Free places search requests per month 100,000 11,764 (based on $200 credit)
Places search price $2 per 1,000 requests $17 per 1,000 requests

Key differences between Google Maps and Radar

Radar is full-stack location infrastructure for every product and service. Our SDKs and APIs make it easy to add location-based experiences to your app or website, from pickup and delivery tracking to location-based messaging to store locators and more.

Our Geofencing Platform is the industry-leading geofencing and location tracking platform, including geofencing, place visit detection, trip tracking, fraud detection, and analytics.

Our Maps Platform is a cost-effective solution for geocoding APIs, search APIs, routing APIs, and base maps.

We power location-based experiences for enterprises and startups across hundreds of millions of devices worldwide.

Think of Radar not just as an affordable Google Maps API alternative, but as an all-in-one location platform that also supports geofencing, location tracking, and location analytics.

Feature Radar Google Maps
Forward geocoding
Reverse geocoding
IP geocoding
Address validation
Places search
Geofences search
Base maps
Display data on any map
Trip tracking
Place visit detection
Location verification


How does Radar's API compare to Google Maps API in terms of pricing?

Radar's geocoding, search, and distance APIs are cheaper than Google Maps Platform. Our basic plan is free, and our Enterprise plan offers unlimited geofences, MTUs, and API calls.

What kind of customer support does Radar offer?

All Enterprise plans come with a dedicated customer success manager, implementation consulting, and technical escalation. Please request a demo to learn more.

What are the differences between Radar's API and other alternative mapping APIs?

Radar isn't just a mapping API. We're an all-in-one solution that also includes geofencing, location tracking, trip tracking, and more.

Does Radar offer a free trial of its mapping API?

Radar offers a free tier, as well as a 14-day free trial of the Enterprise feature set. You can compare plans here.

What kind of developer tools and resources are available with Radar's API?

Check out our developer tools documentation for an SDK reference, API reference, and integration support.

What kind of companies use Radar's APIs?

Radar offers solutions for businesses of all sizes. American Eagle, Panera Bread, T-Mobile, Zillow, Ibotta, and Zappos are just a few brands that use Radar's APIs and SDKs. Learn more about our customers.

What our customers say

Route saved a whopping $1M per year by using our geocoding and routing APIs. With features like real-time package tracking, delivery ETAs, and carbon neutral shipping, Route helps merchants build trust with their customers, reduce support inquiries, and increase retention.

Radar's geolocation services are phenomenal. The data is incredibly accurate and the platform is consistently available. Accuracy and availability are what we value the most in a partner, and we can trust the entire platform. We found that Radar provides the same accuracy as other products on the market at a fraction of the cost. Radar's APIs are simple to use and easy to integrate, which saved us time and allowed us to dedicate resources to other projects.

— Nick Lloyd, Senior Director of Software Engineering, Route

Switch to Radar

Fed up with Google Maps API costs and limitations? We're here to help. At Radar, we understand the complexity of making a key technology infrastructure switch, and we're here to support you every step of the way.

If you're thinking about using Radar as a better Google Maps API alternative, contact us today!