A Comparison of Maps Application Programming Interfaces

Fernandes, A. I., M. Goulão, and Armanda Rodrigues, "A Comparison of Maps Application Programming Interfaces", 16th AGILE Conference on Geographic Information Science, AGILE 2013, Leuven, Belgium, May 14-17, 2013.

Date Presented:

May 14-17


The development of web applications that manipulate geo-referenced information is often supported by Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), allowing a fast development cycle for high quality applications. APIs can be used by programmers with different expertise levels and choosing an adequate API may
have a dramatic impact on the productivity achieved by those programmers. Our goal is to compare maps APIs with respect to their usability. We compare three different APIs: the Google Maps JavaScript API, the ArcGIS API for JavaScript, and the OpenLayers JavaScript Mapping Library. Our comparison is supported by
a set of software metrics and is performed in two orthogonal ways: the comparison of three implementations of the same system prototype, each using one of the APIs under scrutiny; the comparison of the APIs specifications. The main results of the study are related to the size of the APIs, with the Google API being significantly smaller than the others.

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