How MapLayr stacks up: A decision-maker's guide to finding the best mapping solution for mobile apps

Maps get people from point A to point B, but guests have grown to expect personalised recommendations and interactive experiences. From signposting the best routes to suggesting things to do, map design software goes beyond, bringing the one-dimensional map to life.
Ellen Wilkinson
June 2024

Business leaders face a challenge when deciding how to implement location mapping software into the existing customer experience. Finding the best mapping solution for mobile apps starts with deciding whether to custom-build a wayfinding tool or find one that integrates with the existing app, which is tasking enough. But even if you’ve already decided that using an out-of-the-box solution that integrates into your app is the way forward, there are feature set considerations to evaluate, including customisation options, ease of integration, support and cost.

Enter MapLayr. A fully white-labelled map design software that integrates seamlessly with your existing mobile app, MapLayr helps users navigate and plot routes with minimal effort. Other options on the market exist–including MapBox, Google Maps and Apple Maps–but only one was made with attractions and experiences in mind.

MapLayr: Custom interactive maps built for location-based businesses

At Attractions.io, our branded mobile apps connect every aspect of a guest’s visit, improving the overall guest experience. But we faced challenges firsthand when implementing a high-quality mapping experience within a venue’s app.

When we couldn’t find a solution that worked for us, we built our own engine from scratch. Today, that mapping engine powers incredible experiences for location-based businesses all around the world – and now it’s available as an SDK to use in custom applications. 

MapLayr by Attractions.io example mobile apps, including Alton Towers and Chester Zoo

Google, Apple and MapBox: general location mapping software

Google Maps has dominated the map design software market, with Apple Maps following closely behind. In recent years, MapBox, another location mapping software, has entered the market. 

Google and Apple Maps, however, are tightly constricted by licensing agreements and usage constraints. While they both have accurate mapping technology, they’re built for general use, such as finding a store or driving to a friend’s house, not for private spaces with intricate footpaths.  They do not offer hosting services, and options to select accessible routes or add customisations, such as personalised recommendations for options along a route, are limited. Neither offers smoothed or curved paths for easier navigability. Nor do they offer branded tiles, which means you would need to deal with the complexity of building a branded experience that flows seamlessly within your custom app. This limited suite of functionalities means that neither can fully provide a memorable, interactive guest experience.

MapBox, takes on some of the challenges users of Google and Apple Maps face. As a full suite of end-to-end tools that allow developers to deliver maps at scale, MapBox offers tiling and hosting and can be integrated into a mobile app easily. It offers a range of customisation options within its style editor, including adding layers, uploading custom icons and more. However, MapBox relies on the wiki OpenStreetMap, which means that you need to add routes to the wiki to enable custom wayfinding, as opposed to simply using a managed service. In terms of data usage, MapBox collects and sells your data to third parties as part of their terms of service. Plus, updates are complicated and expensive, as you’re charged every time you need to add a new map tile.

Man with mobile phone with speech bubbles coming out showing MapLayr competitors

What MapLayr brings to the table

Since MapLayr was created for location-based businesses, it was built with one goal–to give guests at theme parks, resorts and entertainment venues the best possible experience with custom interactive maps. It provides customers with a suite of branding and customisation options that keep the brand top of mind–and at the centre of discussion–long after a visit ends, too. 

Easy integration

Implementing MapLayr is quick and easy. To get started, simply add a package dependency and plug in your API key. MapLayr requires minimal coding, so developers can focus on the user experience by adding custom shapes, illustrations and extensible annotations. 

Personalisation and accessibility

The software generates map tiles and handles their compression, so you don’t have to navigate that complexity. There are one-way, multi-level and accessibility options, so MapLayr can be used for many types of venues, and we always use a Bézier curve to create paths that are true to real life. Automatic over-the-air updates keep your maps up-to-date without manual intervention, and you can categorise points of interest so guests can filter and search based on their preferences.

Flexibility for seamless branding

MapLayr by Attractions example point of interest notifications

Once implemented, the experience works seamlessly, even without an internet connection.  Guests can tilt, rotate and zoom, planning their routes and see the exact distance to their next location. MapLayr can be blended easily into the UI of your existing app. Choose from out-of-the-box annotation templates or opt to create custom templates to give your team the creative reins. Either way, MapLayr gives you all the tools you need to build an integrated, branded wayfinding experience.

Unlike Google or Apple Maps, which have limited integration and branding options, or MapBox, which has limited customer support and limited customisation options, MapLayr offers a full suite of customisations and integrations that keep your brand front and centre throughout the guest experience.

Schedule a demo or consultation today to see MapLayr in action, and you’ll be well on your way to building a better guest experience at your venue.

Ellen Wilkinson

Head of Marketing
June 2024
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