Due to a sudden very large increase in the costs of using Google maps on our website, we have been forced to make a number of changes to plotaroute.com, to ensure that it continues to remain viable. This has included a large investment to bring the hosting of our main maps in-house and to redevelop core functionality.
The changes will not affect the way the site operates but we've replaced most of our Google maps features with open source alternatives to keep costs under control and avoid the need for passing on Google's huge price increases. The exception is our main desktop route planner, which will continue to use Google Maps technology for Premium members.
These are the main changes, which have been implemented with immediate effect:
While we're sad to have to reduce our use of Google Maps, we believe that in the longer term the investment and changes we've made will provide opportunities to offer additional features that weren't feasible under Google's technology, so we're also excited about the road ahead.
On a practical note, due to the scale of the changes and the short timeframe we have had to do this, it is possible that some bugs have slipped through testing. Please bear with us while we iron these out. You can check the status of any bugs and report new ones on the Bug Reports section of the Forums.
Finally, I'd like to thank everyone for their continued support; it's only with your support that we can continue to exist!
I wish you all continued health and fitness.
Over the last 13 years Google has made its maps technology available to websites like plotaroute.com, largely for free; until now, only the largest 2% of websites have had to pay to use Google Maps. This changed on 2 May 2018 after Google announced a major revision to its pricing model, with effect from 11 June 2018 (subsequently delayed until 16 July 2018). The new pricing model virtually eliminated free use of Google Maps and increased unit prices by a minimum of 1400%; our own costs were set to rise from virtually $0 to around $180,000 a year! As you'll appreciate, we would have been bankrupt and forced to shut down the site if we had not made changes to mitigate this cost increase.
We are fortunate that Google has given us some extra time to prepare for the new pricing, but Google was not able to offer prices that were viable for plotaroute.com to continue in it's current form. However, we believe that the changes we've made will enable us to continue to offer both a free and competitively priced Premium service using a combinaton of Google Maps, other mapping providers and open source technologies.
This is bad news and I hope that your solutions make the site viable in the longer term. I suppose its quite possible that open source mapping software is going to be forced on all members eventually and may be a necessity. I would prefer to keep the very good user interface of Plot a route with only Open Source Maps than lose the site. The ability to use street view at the same time as an open map is really useful and aids route plotting decisions. However if the worst happens as long as I can get a gpx file I could then review the terrain on personal google map access. Google.....grrrrr.
Oh and the Premium Member cost is still exceptional value.
Thanks for your support. Google's price rises are dissapointing and have been a huge diverison for us for the last few months, but now that we've completed the migration we're very optimistic about the future and are looking forward to getting back to making further enhancements to the site.
That sounds like a huge amount of work and plenty of potential for bugs to creep in - but I haven't noticed any, so very well done.
Thanks Colin. Yes, it was indeed a lot of work! We've had to completely focus on that issue for the last few months, so that's why we haven't been able introduce any enhancements to the site for a while. However, we're now in a position to resume work on some of the new feature requests that people have put forward, so we're looking forward to getting on with that.
What is the relationship between the price change and the number of points stored? This change makes it almost impossible to use a free account for brevet (and other long bike routes). I advertised a lot to use your service despite many problems with it, but now it seems we will have to look for another one.
Our operating costs have risen substantially as a result of Google's price rises, not just because it is now more expensive to use Google's own services, but also because we've had to invest in replacing many of Google's services with alternatives. As a result we've had to reduce what we can make available for free, which included reducing the limit on the size of routes (larger routes cost more). I'm sorry if this is impacting you but the changes were essential to ensure that the site can continue.
This very strange for me. It seemed to me that now you can not save much on this. In any case, you could do it differently,one way, to limit not the size, but the frequency of the track. For example, 1 point per 100 meters, it is invisible for the vast majority of tracks, but would allow to continue to use your service to fans of long routes.
Hi Mikhail, as a Premium member you won't be affected by the reduction in the points limit for Standard members - you can still save routes with up to 50,000 points. Standard members are able to se the Reduce Points feature to reduce the number of points on a route, with minimal loss of accuracy (this option is offered when the route is being saved), so long routes can still be saved under free Standard membership.
2500 points will be enough for a track of about 300 km. For longer ones, problems with orientation begin, especially when traveling through cities.
We began to look for alternatives, https://ridewithgps.com is certainly very expensive, apparently they have more resources, but they have implemented those few "must have" key things that I have been waiting for 2 years from plotaroute. If you are interested I can make a separate topic dedicated to this.
Yes, thanks Mikhail, I'd be interested in your feedback on features you'd like to see added. Ultimately there is a limit in what we can offer for free, as there are a lot of operating costs to run a website like this. We try to offer a free service that can meet most poeople's needs and a competitively priced Premium service for anyone who wants more than this. Obviously, we recognise that there are other options out there and that each will offer something slightly different, but we're doing our best to develop a good all-round product that is both competitively priced and financially viable.
Street Map now is unreadabl. It's very not good.
Hi Mateusz, have you tried the other Map Types? The Paths map or World Topo map may work better for you in your part of the world. Alternatively, the Google Street Map is still available under Premium membership - for more information about this see our Membership Options page.
When I create a route in one Map Type and then go to print it, it prints in a different map type.
Hi Bill - the Map Type you use to plot a route is indepedent of the Map Type for printing. There is a selection list available when you select PRINT. We are no longer able to offer printed maps using Google maps since Google's price rises, so the Street and Terrain map options will use OpenStreetMap.
I have a website where I want to share the html code of some walking routes made through my plotaroute account.
I prefer to use the WORLD TOPO MAP as it shows the subway stations' names both in English and Korean.
However, when I plot a walking route in the WORLD TOPO MAP then share its html code into a page in my website, the map appears is the one from the "STREET MAP" Option, which has no explanations in English.
I plan to move to the premium service, however, I am wondering whether the premium membership would solve my issue.
Hi Moad - embedded maps will always default to the Street Map. For commercial reasons I'm afraid there is no option to change this, although people can select a different map type once the default map has loaded. This is the same for both Standard and Premium members.
So even if I plot my route on google maps with the premium account it will still appear as the Street Map when embedded in my website, write?
Yes, that's correct. I'm afraid its not viable for us to include Google maps in our embedded maps due to the high costs and financial risks from uncapped levels of traffic.
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