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Changes - July 2018

You may have heard about this:

Insane, shocking, outrageous: Developers react to changes in Google Maps API

Indeed, the price hikes are outrageous. Without making changes to the TPE web app, we'd be facing a monthly cost of between $3,000 and $5,000 (it varies with traffic).

That is obviously unsustainable.

In order to be able to keep TPE available, we are switching away from using Google's elevation and geocoding (address search) APIs.

Maps

For now, we will retain Google Maps. The monthly cost to us of doing so will be around $300 per month, typically. If you're a regular user of the TPE web app and haven't previously donated in support of it, we'd certainly be grateful for your support now - you'll find a Donate button on the right of the web app page.

To protect against unexpected traffic spikes (and therefore costs), we have limited the total number of map loads per day. On an unexpectedly busy day, you may find that the web app is temporarily unavailable if this limit is exceeded.

Elevation API

We have switched from using Google's Elevation API to Geonames. The Geonames data is not as "clean" as Google's, but is perfectly good for the vast majority of use cases and users. We use either SRTM3, AsterGDEM or GTOPO30 in that order of preference, based on the latitude in question.

Search 

The more impactful change is to switch away from Google's Geocoding API to use Geonames Search API. This change results in some less desirable limitations for searches.

While you previously could search using an address or specific streetname, you will now need to limit the search to place names, town or city names or countries. This is due to the behavior of the Geonames search API. (Geonames has a relatively new address geocoding API, but coverage is limited).

For example, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500 will now produce no results. However The White House will get you to where you need to be.

We'll keep investigating other options for improved (and economically viable) address search, but in the meantime, we appreciate your patience and understanding.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, you can contact us by opening a support request using the link on this page.

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1 Comments

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    Peter Simpson

    I fully support your moving away from Google maps.  Placename search is fine for my needs, and Open Street Map is getting better every day.  Geonames elevation is probably fine, as well.  

    Many thanks for your work on TPE app (have it) and the web version. 

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