Making Maps (for Free) Great Again!
Map making has always been fun for me. I’ve used Google Maps and Leaflets Maps Marker, etc. for years in WordPress. But those plugins are getting very difficult to use and Google Maps is now charging for API usage – which used to be free of course! Leaflets is also holding you hostage to API’s and other upgrades – once free.
It gets very frustrating searching for API codes and other related hassle factors, especially with Google who changes their policies about every six months. Suddenly you can’t find anything and of course their support is horrible.
So I did a deep dive on a non-Google based mapping systems that are free or inexpensive. I started looking around in earnest for alternatives recently.
There are a ton of map making apps with all kinds of options. Most are quite expensive and beyond the realm of my needs. Most of my clients just need a simple map that is both responsive and looks OK on a phone.
If you’re wanting Store Location maps, again there’s specific apps for this, like Store Locator (~$200+/year) and others. They work great – but are very expensive. I understand the need to capture payback on the development and ongoing life of these apps, but I’m cheap, so….
Most of us are looking for the perfect free app when addng features to a website, especially in WordPress. Of course we want something simple, straight-forward and easy to use. Any plugin that takes me more that two minutes to figure out, gets nixed ASAP.
Most apps provide decent functionality for basic use for free. As many apps (WP & phone, as well) mature, they begin to “nickle and dime” you for basic features – once free, which really sucks.
I found one yesterday that is both stunning and free: MapHub. The basic program will remain free for any public maps you create, which I assume will be the bulk of map production for client websites. It’s really easy to use and can be employed for any website including or beyond WP, via iframes. This app is feature packed with a ton of alternative map graphics and other tools to add flavor to your maps.
I had a question and it was answered promptly. They encourage cross-pollination and have an excellent Forum.
Check out MapHub!
It’s not often you come across a gem like this. And it’s not often I share “trade secrets”, but this one needs to be publicized among our ranks. And further, I don’t get any “gravy” from referring to this site…
The map above is a static screenshot with a link showing the map in action on the clients site on the upper right. There’s an embedded map below employing the WP “iframe” plugin:
Here’s a screenshot of the production aspect which allows you to change the look and functionality of the map when embedded. There’s a bunch of features I’ve not looked at yet, but when you need something fast and easy – this is it!