Drawing on maps – Which map API is most fitting one?

posted in: Practical Course | 0

For our App ParkShield, it will be one of the core features to present the level of security of different areas. Furthermore, we should be able to show the current location of our car, the next secure area – if it’s in an unsecure area – and optimally the route to it.  Different Map-APIs could provide this features, so we had to test, which one fits best for our app. After some research, we decided to select three of them. We have selected the two most common ones, Google Maps and Here Maps, and an API specialized on drawing on it, MapBox. First, we used Google Maps because of its integration in Android Studio.

Google Maps API

The biggest positive reason of it is, as described before, the integration into Android Studio. Furthermore, the Google Maps API provides a big and detailed documentation of its features and some examples how to use it, it is in some way a bit unflexible. Another negative point is that it is a bit difficult to change the tooltip style. At last, we haven’t managed to draw a heatmap on it.


As second map API, we decided to try the HERE Maps API. It provides a bit more variety of features than Google Maps API but as a trade-off with some negative points. One of them is, that loading the map needs additional permissions like accessing the device storage. As another negative point, it is a bit more difficult to implement additional features as it was in Google Maps API, which sometimes are looking a bit ugly.

MapBox API 

As second map API, we decided to try the MapBox API.It is really easy to configure and to implement additional features and to style the map. With it, we have already managed to implement a heatmap layer, click listeners on the markers, and a window that pops out when clicking on the marker, which we had tried unsuccessfully on the previous ones. Another positive point to say is, that it provides a really good documentation as well.

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