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looking for suggestions for map provider



5:19 pm on Sep 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


I run a local directory and want to provide maps to local businesses. I am looking for a free map service.

I tried Mapquest. However, I am having trouble getting Mapquest to display the map properly. (It for some reason just wants to display a map for the zip code and not the acutal address.)

My question is, can anyone recommend a free map service that can be used commercially. When I say commercially, I mean the directory does have pay for inclusion features and also runs affiliate programs and AdSense. I plan on sending the user to the website of the map service and am NOT looking for something where the user stays on my site (I think most services like that need to be licenced.)

I found a few things like MSN Maps but in their Terms of Use have a vague clause in their about commerical use. Anyone else using maps for free in a situation similar to mine?



5:23 pm on Sep 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator 10+ Year Member

Have you looked at the Google Map API?

There are a few sites that have detailed tutorials of how to create "hacks" for the maps.


5:38 pm on Sep 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks werty for a quick response.

I had looked at Google Maps but did not get to that page. Unfortunately, that won't work for me a for a few reasons.

From their webiste:

A single Maps API key is valid for a single "directory" on your web server, so if you sign up for the URL [mygooglemapssite.com...] the key you get will be good for all URLs in the [mygooglemapssite.com...] directory.

I have many directories that need to use this service and I am not going to get different accounts for each directory. To be honest, I am starting to feel Google is Big Brother these days and I don't want them collecting data on my sites.

Also, it doesn't support IE 5 and some users do turn off Javascript.

Thanks for the suggestion though, I was not aware of that service. Any other ideas?


5:41 pm on Sep 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Sorry, I think I misunderstood the part about directories above. Please ignore, I think one account would be good for a website.

Either way, as I said, I am not comfortable with Google having so much info about my site.


5:49 pm on Sep 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I certainly have some issues with Google, but the tradeoff of what you get for what you give with Google Maps is well worth it.

Yahoo has a new map API but it just links to their website.

I can tell you with almost 100% surety that the only source of maps that meet the conditions of
1) free for commercial use, and
2) maps display on your web pages

is Google maps.

If you don't want to use Google and/or you don't want a solution that relies on JavaScript, you will have to pay.


5:53 pm on Sep 9, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks, I want to re-state something in my original post.

I am NOT concerned with having the visitor staying on my site. I am happy to send them of to another site with a map. Those services still seem to say stuff about non-commercial use. These clauses are vague and I think they are just being extra cautious in their wording really.


3:14 am on Sep 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

From mapquest [mapquest.com]:

Anybody, and everybody. From personal homepages to national retail sites, LinkFree is available for you.


4:28 am on Sep 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Since you don't mind visitors leaving your site and assuming you already have the address, just link directly to Google:

[this is an example from Google's page]


8:46 pm on Sep 10, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks RossWal, BetterSEO.

RossWal, I had some trouble getting a map to open up with Mapquest. For some reason, the way many of my addresses are formatted, Mapquest is asking the user to frist select a map it found which is just a map for the zip code and not the full address I provided.

BetterSEO, I was looking for that with Google but could not find it. That is what I will be implementing.

Thanks to all.

Import Export

7:45 am on Sep 11, 2005 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

If you are interested, MapQuest also has a paid program where you can integrate your website with their map data. They have some "really neat" additional features you can build in for your users. I think the smaller package started at something like 3k per year..

Robert Charlton

4:33 am on Sep 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator robert_charlton is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

For users on dial-ups, Google maps is really, really, really slow.

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