Hey, Big Spender: The Million Dollar API

Adam DuVander, May 25th, 2010

Google MapsU.S. government agencies may be tossing down nearly a million dollars each to include the premier version of Google Maps on their sites. The payments aren’t going directly to Google, but an Ohio service provider Onix Networking. Onix lists several options on Apps.gov, a marketplace for technology services and applications.

Google Maps Enterprise for Sale

A million bucks per year gets you unlimited pageviews and, almost certainly, a decent amount of hand-holding from Onix (see Onix’s Maps FAQ). Does nearly $1 million still seem like a lot to put in your cart? InformationWeek’s John Foley thought so, too:

The obvious question is whether the feds are getting a good deal, an OK deal, or overpaying for the Google Maps API. I found one reference to the cost of Google’s Map API Premier in the blogophere, which put an unlimited license at $250,000, or a quarter of Onix Networking’s price, but that example is now more than a year old.

Assuming the numbers are accurate, that’s quite the markup from Onix, even if it bundles the license with some services. Google Maps for Enterprise, an offering that’s over three years old, starts at $10,000 per year. The service allows maps to be placed behind logins, offers advanced geocoding and encryption, among other features.

Google isn’t the only mapping provider used by government agencies. The White House site uses OpenStreetMap via the Cloudmade API (our Cloudmade API profile). And in September we covered Recovery.gov’s use of ESRI products.

Hat tip: Directions Magazine

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Adam DuVander
Executive Editor, ProgrammableWeb. Author, Map Scripting 101. Lover, APIs.