Google Maps removes weather and panoramio layers

Having taken a few week’s break from administering the SMP, I just noticed that the weather, clouds and panoramio layers no longer appeared to work in the SMP mapping pages. A quick search online shows that Google have removed all of these worldwide, for all users, without providing alternatives.

A most disappointing move: so that’s Google Earth, weather, clouds and panoramio removed, or no longer available from within Google Maps. One wonders where it will end - quite probably every one of these formerly free services/layers will have to be paid for in the future.

What can I say? I personally found these layers very useful, and I’m now sadly forced to remove, or at least disable, the relevant controls in the mapping pages.


That’s really a pity. I did not use weather and clouds but the panoramio layer was very a handy thing. Sad to see it go.

73 de Michael, DB7MM

It’s an absolute pain when these things happen. It’s really cool that for most purposes you can use Google maps and the API for free. Much like having Google Docs for free is great for collaborative editing etc. But, the dudes at Google insist on tinkering and changing and tweaking and changing functionality as often as they possibly can. It’s what really bugs me about all these kind of services. Flickr is another one. Non-stop UI tweaks that make it better for use on tablet at the expense of every other user, so I don’t bother with Flickr anymore.

Just as well we don’t have to pay money (other than selling our souls and privacy) to Google to use it!

There is, as you and others here will no doubt know, a limit on the number of requests that Google Maps allows per website per day (currently 25000 map loads per day) before charging a hefty amount for any extra. When the day comes that the SMP gets a bill from GM is the day the SMP ceases to operate. Either that, or we’ll have to find alternative sources of mapping imagery - some do exist apart from Open Maps…


Hi Rob,
I don’t know if it’s related but google have introduced an ‘full mode’ and a ‘light mode’ option, that is switched on interactively by clicking on a new lightning symbol.

73 Ed.

Google Maps has been doing light mode for sometime. Typically on my dual boot laptop when using Win7 + Firefox GoogleMaps defaults to full mode. When using Mint Linux and the same version of Firefox I always start off in light mode and have to faff about to tell GoogleMaps to go full. It them sticks in full mode and works fine until the next reboot.

As far as I’m aware, this functionality isn’t available via the standard GM API as used by the SMP, but is available in the GM Android API. In any case, it would appear that the “light” mode presents the user with only a single, non-zoomable image of a chosen area - not too useful for SOTA purposes, but presumably OK for showing where the nearest Starbucks is…

[quote=“MM0FMF, post:6, topic:11026”]
Google Maps has been doing light mode for sometime
[/quote] Dunno, haven’t got such a sophisticated setup here. I CAN say that I loathe the new Google Maps layout, but then I’m a sour old coot :japanese_goblin: at the best of times…


So I am not the only one who preferres the old layout. Not only the new layout is much slower on my PC, usability for desktop users (mouse/keyboard/monitor) was spoiled for sake of the touch users.
For some time you were able to switch back to the old layout but this option is gone, too.

Regarding SMP: 25000 map loads per day sounds quite a large number. How far are we from this limit?
I feel guilty for pushing up the map loads: I often click the SMP links in SOTAWatch and once I am done I close the SMP page. For the next summit I do the same. So leaving the SMP page open and selecting the new summit within SMP seems the “cheaper” solution, correct?

73 de Michael, DB7MM

I wrote a reply to this just a few minutes ago, and got the information COMPLETELY wrong! - that reply has been deleted. Doohhh! :confounded: I’ll try to get it right now:

Basically, a map load occurs when an application FIRST calls for a new GM map object to be created, and subsequently used. This would occur when, for instance, a user starts the browser and navigates to one of the SMP mapping pages. Any subsequent changes to that map object(zoom pan, etc.) have no effect on the map load count.

However, if a user also views a Street view panorama, or a panorama image from the Street View Image API - which would occur when the “Panorama” button is pressed when viewing the details window for a SOTA summit - that constitutes a map load.

So, at a guess, I’d say the SMP is quite probably a long way off yet from the 25000 map load limit. Probably…