We love Google Maps Engine Lite, and we think it’s a brilliant introduction to data mapping and visualization. Much like our own eSpatial Free account, it allows you to upload your Excel data, visualize it on a map, and then share that map online.
That said, we have to acknowledge its current limitations, particularly when set against heavy-hitting alternative online mapping software like our own eSpatial Pro account.
Unlike our product, Google Maps Engine Lite comes with no territory mapping, no heat mapping, no route mapping, no data filtering, no analytics or reporting facility and none of the demographic datasets we supply – free – to customers. If you’re looking for these features, you need to look for alternative software.
So why do we still think it’s a great mapping tool?
Great for simple, small-scale mapping tasks
Google Maps Engine Lite is bright and colorful, with a choice of 150 different icons to choose from. Its easy-on-the eye visuals mean it will probably be adopted by countless community, hobby and volunteer groups, rather than commercial enterprises. But Google is not trying to mislead: it clearly states that the product is for non-commercial use.
Anyone who tries to use it for business purposes will quickly become aware of its limitations.
For instance, even with the Free version of eSpatial, you can load up to 250 rows of data, per day. Google Maps Engine Lite only allows 100 rows of data to be uploaded. In the commercial world, where you might be dealing with hundreds of locations, that’s really not a lot.
That said, Google is fully aware of the users it’s targeting and proudly states “any mapping enthusiast can now create and share robust custom maps.” Google Maps Engine Lite is obviously not aimed at any kind of business or large organization.
Over to you
So let’s take the same data and see how it’s visualized in both eSpatial Pro and Google Maps Engine Lite.
Click on either map image below to see if the data visualization is what you’re looking for in online mapping software. Like we said, we believe they’re both fantastic products – but only you and your data can decide which one best suits your needs.
Data on Google Maps Engine Lite:
And here’s data expressed using eSpatial Pro: