Most of you were familiar with the version 3.x of DXMAPS that uses the Google Maps platform by making use of the Google Maps API (Application Programming Interface) for programming the interaction with the maps.
Contrary to what many could think, using Google Maps is not free for Web Sites with a high number of map loads, like DXMAPS. Until now the cost was low enough (less than $500 per year) and it was payed by the advertising and user donations.
Due to a sudden and dramatic change in the Google Maps API fee plan, that takes place on July, 16th, it is no longer possible for DXMAPS to make use of Google Maps. I have run an simulation of the costs, taking into account the new fee plan and the number of page loads per month and it would cost me between $3,000 and $6,000 per month (!!!). As you can surely understand there is not way for me to assume that extra cost.
I have been in contact with Google, looking for some alternative or discount taking into account that this is not a commercial site, but a site providing a free service to the radio amateur community. I have got very kind answers from them, but at the end they have not given me any alternative other than paying the new fees.
The change in the fee plan was announced less than two months ago and since then I have been working hard to find an alternative that gives more or less all the functionalities of version 3.x but at a reasonable cost. The clear alterative were OpenStreet maps, but it certainly would not be easy to migrate all the code (more than 4,000 lines) as most would have to be rewritten, and also it was necessary to find a map provider service from where to load the maps.
I have been working very hard in the past 6 weeks, setting up the map sever and rewriting almost all the code. Might be you could have noticed that I have not been so active on the bands as in other years. Now you know the reason...hi
The result is version 4.0, that looks very similar to version 3.x and maintains most of its features. The only missing thing are the satellite imagery maps, as I have no license to use them (it is quite expensive) and some other features specific of Google maps, like the link to Streetview for instance. I am also aware that the quality of OpenStreet maps is slightly lower than Google maps, but I think that for the purposes that DXMAPS makes use of the maps it would be enough. Version 4.0 will replace version 3.x on Jul,16th.
Anyway there was no other option, apart from closing down DXMAPS. I hope you will be comprehensive and understand that this change is not my will and that has meant a huge effort and to assume an extra cost for me, just to be able to continue offering you the service. So far I have assumed in advance the extra cost of $1,809 but if you want to continue using DXMAPS along the next months I beg you consider helping pay the bill by becoming a supporter user, in case you have not done it yet. My work is for free, but servers and licenses required are not.
As always, if you notice some possible bug in the new version please use the contact form to report it, with a description as detailed as possible and don't forget to attach screenshots showing the issue.
Don't forget to read the User Manual and the FAQ pages, where you will find how to go get to most of DXMAPS, including some tricks.