Choosing between APIs – Map view

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Android offers several map views (controls) to render maps. Maps can be rendered online or directly on the mobile device. This article details the available choices available today.

Map SDKs and APIs: Google Maps, Bing Maps, Nokia, Nutiteq, OpenStreetMap, CloudMade

First, there are the client-side apps. Google Maps is the most popular and visible map tools around. On Android, however, the maps aren’t cached unless you use their own app. Apps that rely on Google Maps have to pay licensing fees.Bing Maps is a popular alternative for Android apps because it has a less restrictive licensing agreement than Google Maps. Nokia Maps is available for the Windows Phone platform (hence, two sets of maps), but Nokia allows for off-line maps.

Then, there are the services that provide maps to incorporate into one’s own app. Nutiteq has a paid SDK for using their map tools. OpenStreetMap is an open-source Wikipedia for maps. They provide access to their maps, but their primary goal is database management and crowd-sourced submissions. Other providers of Open Street Maps are Mapnik and Osma among others [1]. The two products I tried on OpenStreetMap is Mapdroyd and mapsforge.

I have yet to make any conclusions on how good they are. I want to find out how TripAdvisor’s city guides renders their maps because they are simple, fast, and offline. I will also evaluate at some point: MapsWithMe, Maverick, osmdroid, Osmtracker, osmand. CloudMade also provides map services but I’m not sure what they offer.