Product Update: Improved Tiles, a New Tier, and Stadia Maps News

It’s been a few months since we last updated you on what we’ve been doing around Stadia Maps, and we’ve been able to accomplish quite a lot.

New Tier: Stadia Growth

After talking with customers and looking at our pricing, we realized there was a hole between our Starter and Standard tiers.

Enter: Stadia Growth.

A tier to help you grow, without growing your bills too much. Your $50 / month goes a long way: 75k map views and API requests / day, with all the same great service you’ve learned to count on. Take a look at our pricing page to see how it fits in.

Better Raster Tiles & Static Maps

At the beginning of this year, we knew our raster tiles had occasional edge-case performance issues, some cropped labels, and other minor quality concerns. So, starting in January, we began working towards fixing these issues.

We started by directly integrating our raster rendering library into our custom-built tile server (it was previously a separate service). By doing this, we’ve been able to almost completely eliminate our worst-case tail performance for raster tiles and static maps. After seeing promising results during the initial integration, we began tuning the tile server against production loads, and have been able to eliminate more performance bottlenecks. In terms of numbers, our worst-case raster tile rendering performance (the worst 0.1% of tile renders) dropped from 8s to 2s—or 4x faster. At the same time, the 5% worst-case performing requests improved from 512ms to 256ms—or 2x faster. We believe we have more progress to make, but this represents a significant step towards eliminating too-slow tile renders.

As a very nice by-product, we’ve been able to drastically improve the quality of our raster tiles (significantly fewer “cut labels” and much better text layout). We are continuing to focus on speed and reliability to ensure the best possible raster map experience possible. Stay tuned for more updates regarding quality and performance in the next few months.

Improved Outdoors Theme

Since our last update, we’ve added the ability to display parks and nature reserves over water, sand and rock land cover types to give beaches and mountain ranges more texture, and—a much requested feature—trails and footpaths at lower zoom levels, all so that you can enjoy the great outdoors just a little bit more.

Newer Data, Better Depth

Another focus this year is to improve our processes for working with OSM data. As a result, we’re on track to release new data each month this year, with an improved schema each time. We’ve also increased the speed of our routing data updates, with new data being added every week.

Since January, we’ve added a lot of updates to details of the transportation layer (including the trails and footpaths at higher zoom), improved small details to the water and park layers, and improved vector tile performance for higher zoom levels (especially in complex cityscapes, such as Milan or Tokyo).

News from Around the Web

Over the last few months, we’ve had the chance to read about how some of our customers are using Stadia Maps to improve their customers’ experiences , the opportunity to chat with TFIR about how to build better open-source mapping services , and explore how we deliver a quality experience for an affordable price with our infrastructure provider, Linode.

What's Next?

In the next couple of months, we will continue to squash remaining performance and quality issues with raster tiles. We are working to hone our data schema to allow for better display of data (specifically more upgrades to the road network to eliminate some holes in our data). We are also close to deploying a new set of geospatial APIs (a time zone API with historical data), after a few setbacks delivering it to production.

Missing something? Have comments or concerns?

We’re always here to help. If you have any questions or concerns about our current services or our future roadmap, don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any of the channels listed in the footer. Of course, you can always email us, we’ll get back to you lickety-split!

That’s all for now.

Stay well and be kind.