Since our launch, Transporters.io has used Google Maps to suggest addresses, calculate driving distances and display maps.
It works great - the level of data and detail is outstanding and really helps any transport business operate.
Today, we still use Google Maps as our primary mapping tool, however some changes that Google recently made to maps is complicating this process, depending on your approach to adding the form to your site.
In the Admin area or via our Iframe Widget
This bit is easy, you don't need to setup or do anything, maps just work.
This is because they run under https://companyname.transporters.io which is something that we can control.
Using our Wordpress Plugin
Part of the setup process for using our wordpress plugin has always been to apply for a free API key from google.
This part, is the same as before, however Google now also require all Maps users to activate billing on the API account.
Although you are required to add a payment card and activate billing, this will (most likely) still be completely free since google provide a very generous $200 allowance per month. This is sufficient for a very busy site using Transporters.
So if you are a new user just setting up, or an existing user who's maps have stopped working, please visit the link below and provide a payment option to google.
Are there any alternatives?
Right now, if you are unable or unprepared to activate billing on your Google Maps account, the only option for a fully functional form is to switch to using our Iframe Widget which will work regardless. This may not match the format and style of your site as well as the Wordpress Plugin but will provide virtually the same functionality.
The wordpress plugin will operate without a maps API key, however the maps will be disabled and as a result automatic distance, duration and pricing options will not be possible.
We are looking into other mapping options too, but have no clear answer on whether this route would be viable just yet.
So how do I get my API key?
Login/signup to a google maps account and then follow the steps to create a key
Open the key in the API console and under Key restriction choose "HTTP referrers (web sites)"
In the list of sites to accept add the following [Replace "yourwebsitename.com" with your real website].
Visit https://console.developers.google.com/billing/linkedaccount and activate billing on the account
Enter the key into your Transporters Plugin's settings tab in your wordpress admin area.
You can read more directly from Google on the links below.
For reference, the main maps features used by Transporters are:-
Places Autocomplete (for suggestions)
Directions (for driving distance)
Geocoding (for turning addresses into locations)
You can click the names above to ensure that each API is enabled in your account.
A typical search that goes through to a quote request or booking will involve
2 x Autocomplete($0.034)
1 x Dynamic map ($0.007)
1 x Directions ($0.005)
Quotes within $200 monthly free allowance = 4347
The majority of our users are receiving less than 4,000 quote requests per month so this billing activation will have no real impact.
For any users with over 4k per month, congratulations! You have a very successful business and the request beyond the first 4,000 should cost under $0.05
Disclaimer: These are estimates and will vary depending on actual usage and to be used as a guide only. Transporters are not responsible for or involved in Google Maps pricing or billing. Prices and rules may change, please pay attention to any updates from Google.