HERE maps - possible changes coming

Boyd

Administrator
Staff member
Site Administrator
Jul 31, 2004
9,601
2,838
Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
HERE (the company that provides Garmin's City Navigator Map data, formerly known as NAVTEQ) making some changes to their policies. Their maps are very useful for general information, with some nice aerials and specialized things like a special appearance on mobile devices and realtime traffic. Even more useful, their maps cover the whole world. If you aren't familiar with HERE, this is an example of their aerials plus roads

https://boydsmaps.com/#17.00/39.818705/-74.535649/hereHybrid/0.00/0.00

HERE's account changes may result in my needing to limit access to these maps or (worst case) completely discontinue them. I've been able to offer them at no cost because they had a very generous allowance of free map tiles in the existing plan. I'm going to have to dig deeper into the details and give this some further consideration. Have never come close to the limit of their free map tiles in the past, but it appears they are greatly reducing what you can get for free now and to continue I will need to actually open an account and give them a credit card number that will automatically be used if I exceed the free limit (Google Maps made a similar change several years ago, so I guess they're finally catching up). Anyway, a quick review suggests that boydsmaps usage is very close to the limit of their new free plan. Going over the limit isn't terribly expensive (unless WAY over), but I still don't like having that kind of liability.

So this is just a heads-up for now. They have set a deadline of December 31 to migrate to their new plan, so I'll be pondering this. Worst case, I might just get rid of HERE completely. That would be too bad but maybe they're just a bad fit for a free site like boydsmaps. Another possible change would be to reduce the number of maps or maybe to limit their geographic coverage so that people in other countries or regions can't use them.

More info to come...
 
  • Like
Reactions: Pan

Boyd

Administrator
Staff member
Site Administrator
Jul 31, 2004
9,601
2,838
Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
I've finished the process of migrating to the new account at HERE in anticipation of their December 31 deadline. Even though there are changes to the API, they claim existing code will still work. Seems to be OK, but let me know if you have trouble accessing the HERE maps.

Note: the following is longer accurate, HERE maps are being completely discontinued - see the next post

Going forward, I'm going to reluctantly make some changes. This will involve rewriting code, so it may take a few more days. The way they measure map usage has changed, making it hard to compare with my old stats. If anything, I will err on the side of caution since they now have my credit card number and will bill me if the limits are exceeded.

I may discontinue some of the HERE maps altogether - there are really too many of them anyway. But the big change will be limiting the geographic area that is available. I don't see any changes affecting the Pines, but if you use the HERE maps for other locations it may affect you.

I plan to limit HERE maps to just the United States (maybe Southern Canada as well). If you've been using them to explore Antarctica, then you'll be out of luck - sorry. I just don't want to pay for some guy who uses a huge number of map tiles driving around Europe (for example).

Will impose the same restrictions on the Mapbox maps as well. They haven't changed their policy, but limiting access to HERE maps would cause people to start using Mapbox instead. Mapbox also has limits on the amount of free maps you can use.


Will post more about this after I make these changes, probably within the next week or so.
 
Last edited:

Boyd

Administrator
Staff member
Site Administrator
Jul 31, 2004
9,601
2,838
Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
Well, this is bad news. I looked at my HERE usage stats on the new account which only covers the first two days of January. The numbers looked very high, but I didn't understand them so I opened a support ticket. Still a bit confused by their response, which is rather cryptic. But this just isn't working - I will be racking up some significant costs for use of their maps.

Looks like I will need to completely discontinue all HERE maps for everyone right away in fact and will already probably face some charges. :( Need to update some code to make that happen, but you should expect to lose access to all the HERE maps tomorrow. It appears that this high usage is due to my continued use of their legacy API, which results in a 15x increase in billable map tiles under the new plan (!) Re-writing the site code to use the new API would help, but I think these expensive commercial maps are no longer a good fit for boydsmaps.

I am also going to discontinue the MapBox commercial map products, since people would just start using them more heavily when I discontinue HERE. My own maps of the Pines that use the MapBox API (the 3d maps) should still be OK since they use my own data.

Yeah, it sucks and will make the site less useful. Sorry, but I'm already spending lots to lease the server and just can't afford these usage charges.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Pan

Boyd

Administrator
Staff member
Site Administrator
Jul 31, 2004
9,601
2,838
Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
Just to be clear, these maps will all be going away. :( Will work out the details tomorrow - a different map will be substituted for any old links to these maps. Will probably use locally-hosted maps here in the Pines, a USGS map for the rest of the US and a very low-resolution basemap for any links outside the US.

maps.png
 
  • Like
Reactions: Pan

stiltzkin

Explorer
Feb 8, 2022
484
686
Medford
That is quite unfortunate. I hope that the situation can be resolved in some way, and you are able to re-enable these maps at some point.

I did not really use the HERE maps often, but the Mapbox hybrid map is very useful and has probably the most detailed satellite imagery (Maxar, I think?) available on your site, in certain areas. That would be a big loss.
 

Boyd

Administrator
Staff member
Site Administrator
Jul 31, 2004
9,601
2,838
Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
That would be a big loss.

Yeah, it sucks and I'm sorry - but I'm through with these commercial products. It's only a matter of time before there are more limitations and price increases, so I have no plans to resolve anything - these maps are going away and not coming back. The server lease is all paid through March, and I was planning to renew it, but now I need to step back and consider whether this expensive charity is something worth continuing. :(
 
  • Wow
  • Like
Reactions: Pan and RednekF350
Apr 6, 2004
3,619
564
Galloway
Yeah, it sucks and I'm sorry - but I'm through with these commercial products. It's only a matter of time before there are more limitations and price increases, so I have no plans to resolve anything - these maps are going away and not coming back. The server lease is all paid through March, and I was planning to renew it, but now I need to step back and consider whether this expensive charity is something worth continuing. :(

Bummer!
 

Boyd

Administrator
Staff member
Site Administrator
Jul 31, 2004
9,601
2,838
Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
I'm better today - moving on and doing what needs to be done. My main interest is creating new maps and not distributing commercial products, so this might actually be a positive thing. Working on the changes now but it will be tomorrow before they go live - it's major surgery.

But heads up - this update is going to mess up the site if you visit often. Would be a good idea to learn out how to clear your browser cache now, so you'll be ready if it's needed.
 

bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
14,352
4,493
Pines; Bamber area
I only used the Here Day street map, and only for convenience. I think your USGS topo + aerials is fine for what I'm doing, and I always have Google Maps open as well.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Boyd

stiltzkin

Explorer
Feb 8, 2022
484
686
Medford
If anyone else is looking for an alternative site for the Mapbox satellite imagery now that it will be removed, I found what I was looking for here:

Just put it into satellite mode.
 

Boyd

Administrator
Staff member
Site Administrator
Jul 31, 2004
9,601
2,838
Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
heads up - this update is going to mess up the site if you visit often.

The update is now online and seems to be working. There may still some rough edges, but I think the major bugs are all squashed. Substitutes for the HERE and Mapbox maps are chosen based on the part of the map you're viewing. In the Pines, there are more options and I hope to add a couple additional ones soon. If you open a link to a HERE or Mapbox map, you'll get an alert like this.

pines.png



The map choices for the Mid-Atlantic, Northeastern and Continental US are all a bit different, but the alert will look something like this, depending on the original map in your link

midatlantic.png


Outside of the US, map choices will be very limited. I have added three new "basemaps" which cover the entire world at a maximum zoom of level 8 (about 600 meters/pixel) - OpenTopo, USGS topo and Landsat imagery. They'll give you a rough idea of where you are, but not much more. In these areas, existing links to Mapbox/HERE will show this alert

world.png


I have also updated the sync app. The old version was very simple and didn't really do anything to check for errors, so this took a lot of revision. If you access a link where either map is from HERE/Mapbox, you'll see a generic alert

sync.png


The PinesXT app will require some new code which I haven't gotten around to yet. As of now, the map menu has been updated to remove the HERE and Mapbox maps, but existing links will not be translated and will just show the USGS 24k topo. Will fix this tomorrow.

As I mentioned before, you may very well expeience problems on these sites now due to the amount of code that has changed. Clearing the browser cache should fix it (works for me).
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Pan and bobpbx

bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
14,352
4,493
Pines; Bamber area
I cleared the cache and history, but I can't close the black box, even by choosing another map selection. Anyway, no big deal not using it now. I'll try tomorrow.
 

Boyd

Administrator
Staff member
Site Administrator
Jul 31, 2004
9,601
2,838
Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
Weird, I see that in Edge too, but not with Chrome or Safari. It seems to happen no matter what you do in Edge, even links to other maps. Those messages should only appear if you try to open a link to a Mapbox or HERE map, so I'm stumped there.

In the middle of a huge backup now that will take awhile, also doing housecleaning I put off all day while working on the site. :bang: Will have a look tomorrow, try using Chrome if you need access in the meantime., sorry.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Pan

Boyd

Administrator
Staff member
Site Administrator
Jul 31, 2004
9,601
2,838
Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
I fixed it so the box would pick the substitute map and the alert would close. But the alert was showing up for every map (or almost every map?) and not just HERE/Mapbox. This is going to take some time to debug, so I have rolled the changes back. Everything should be the same as before, with the Mapbox and HERE maps working again. Will try again tomorrow. :argh:
 
  • Like
Reactions: Pan and bobpbx

Boyd

Administrator
Staff member
Site Administrator
Jul 31, 2004
9,601
2,838
Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
After a day of re-writing code, the new updated-update is now online. As discussed earlier, you may have cache issues. I have tested it pretty thoroughly this time with Safari, Chrome and Edge on MacOS and Edge and Chrome on Windows. Also tested on my iPhone. As expected, the installed app version on the home screen didn't work properly. I deleted it from the home screen and went to boydsmaps.com in Safari, which worked fine. I then used the standard Safari sharing menu at the bottom to add boydsmaps back to my home screen.

Didn't test it on an Android device yet - the batteries in all of them need charging, haven't used them recently! You may find that it's easiest to just delete the app and re-install if it doesn't work on your phone.

Anyway, I think the basics are all covered by this update but there could be some loose ends. If you have any existing HERE or Mapbox maps in your favorites, I *think* they will be silently deleted - but need to confirm this. Also, not sure what will happen if you had set a HERE map as "home". Will look into this and other possible issues tomorrow.

Let me know about any other problems you discover.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Pan and SuperChooch

Boyd

Administrator
Staff member
Site Administrator
Jul 31, 2004
9,601
2,838
Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
If you want to try any troubleshooting, or if you're just curious, here are some links to use as "target practice"

The following are links to discontinued maps that should trigger an alert and a change to a substitute map.
https://boydsmaps.com/#12.00/42.082589/13.506735/mbxtopo/0.00/0.00
https://boydsmaps.com/#14.00/40.609325/-74.843824/hereSat/0.00/0.00
https://boydsmaps.com/#15.00/43.113953/-76.111779/hereHybrid/0.00/0.00
https://boydsmaps.com//#16.00/40.441478/-80.008968/hereHybrid/0.00/0.00
https://boydsmaps.com/#16.00/40.759584/-111.886773/hereSat/0.00/0.00
https://boydsmaps.com/#17.00/46.948641/7.455886/hereDay/0.00/0.00

If you click on the map menu, there are very few options now at some of the locations above. OpenTopoMap is the only map covering the whole world at any reasonable resolution. Their server can be very slow at times, so I did not automatically substitute them. There are no worldwide aerials. The basemaps are worldwide locally-hosted low resolution (level 8) versions of OpenTopoMap, USGS Topo Map and Landsat Imagery.


These are links to existing maps that haven't changed. They should open normally with no alerts
https://boydsmaps.com/#16.00/40.449772/-79.954102/naip2023/0.00/0.00
https://boydsmaps.com/#15.00/44.352593/-68.225296/legacy24k/0.00/0.00
https://boydsmaps.com/#13.00/39.961580/-82.998774/ustopo2023/0.00/0.00
https://boydsmaps.com/#15.00/39.752284/-74.465261/pines2023/0.00/0.00
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Pan

SuperChooch

Explorer
Aug 26, 2011
391
428
47
If you want to try any troubleshooting, or if you're just curious, here are some links to use as "target practice"

The following are links to discontinued maps that should trigger an alert and a change to a substitute map.
https://boydsmaps.com/#12.00/42.082589/13.506735/mbxtopo/0.00/0.00
https://boydsmaps.com/#14.00/40.609325/-74.843824/hereSat/0.00/0.00
https://boydsmaps.com/#15.00/43.113953/-76.111779/hereHybrid/0.00/0.00
https://boydsmaps.com//#16.00/40.441478/-80.008968/hereHybrid/0.00/0.00
https://boydsmaps.com/#16.00/40.759584/-111.886773/hereSat/0.00/0.00
https://boydsmaps.com/#17.00/46.948641/7.455886/hereDay/0.00/0.00

If you click on the map menu, there are very few options now at some of the locations above. OpenTopoMap is the only map covering the whole world at any reasonable resolution. Their server can be very slow at times, so I did not automatically substitute them. There are no worldwide aerials. The basemaps are locally-hosted low resolution (level 8) versions of OpenTopoMap, USGS Topo Map and Landsat Imagery.


These are links to existing maps that haven't changed. They should open normally with no alerts
https://boydsmaps.com/#16.00/40.449772/-79.954102/naip2023/0.00/0.00
https://boydsmaps.com/#15.00/44.352593/-68.225296/legacy24k/0.00/0.00
https://boydsmaps.com/#13.00/39.961580/-82.998774/ustopo2023/0.00/0.00
https://boydsmaps.com/#15.00/39.752284/-74.465261/pines2023/0.00/0.00
Clicked on each and all operated as you described.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Boyd

Boyd

Administrator
Staff member
Site Administrator
Jul 31, 2004
9,601
2,838
Ben's Branch, Stephen Creek
Should also mention, I found and fixed a few bugs along the way. The coverage areas were incorrectly defined for a few maps which was causing some issues. I also re-wrote the code for setting your device type the first time you visit the site (this will also be triggered if you clear site data). The old code was pretty simplistic and always defaulted to mobile mode. The new code isn't anything fancy, but it takes a guess whether you're using a phone or computer and asks you to confirm. :)

The sync app seems to be substituting the HERE and Mapbox maps properly but there's less error-checking in that code and it needs a closer look. I still haven't updated the pinesXT code, although the HERE and Mapbox maps have been removed from the menu. Not sure what will happen if you try to open an old link to a HERE map however. Will look at that soon also.
 
Top