Open source free map api

I love the quality and ease of use for google maps out of the available options so far, however my concern is that on a large enough scale, given the amount of calls it could become prohibitively expensive to release a title given its current pricing setup and usage limits if alternative options are not utilised.
You can seee from these photos that we are nearing the enge of the render request per minute and the 3d tile root requests per day allotment from a single instance of the project in testing.

This user clearly describes the issue as it currently stands for practical usage in the marketplace.

Are there any free/opensource alternatives that don’t have a pay as you go set up, that cesium currently is equipped to access?
If no, it would be awesome if an option like that was made available.
In my searches I found some open source maps such as openstreetmap as a way of allowing players to utilize the game without internet connections or api fees.

This is a basic example of what can be done through just webgl. There are many ways of building upon foundation like that as well.

Even basic maps as the one above can be made to look fantastic with the right lighting, vfx and stylistic choices in unreal.

Also if you can explore Apple Maps api, that would be amazing!
They have one of the most cost effective api calling fee structures and they are not far behind google’s visual quality

Each have their respective benefits and downsides, however we would be quite happy with the possibilities they possess. If an option was made available to use alternative free or low cost resources everything automatically becomes extremely viable. That also opens up opportunities for developers and players to be able to choose and vary maps depending on the circumstances of use.

Offline capability (through legally caching and other methods) and cost viability would be significantly improved if this was implemented.

It would be fantastic if this could reach the team responsible for those kinds of decisions. Thanks!

Thanks for the question, @MQS! First off, you can absolutely use Cesium with free and open source data! Cesium for Unreal can load 3D data using the 3D Tiles specification, as well as raster overlays sourced from TMS, WMS, or WMTS APIs. OpenStreetMap’s wiki has a list of raster providers, most if not all of which should work with Cesium for Unreal: Raster tile providers - OpenStreetMap Wiki.

3D data is also easy to find, but needs to be in a format Cesium understands. For terrain, heightmaps are widely available (for example, from USGS) and are especially suited for the quantized-mesh format that Cesium for Unreal supports. Someone has assembled a nice GitHub repo listing tools for working with quantized-mesh, if this is the route you choose to go: GitHub - bertt/awesome-quantized-mesh-tiles: Awesome implementations of the quantized mesh tiles specification.

For buildings, you can use the OSM Buildings dataset, as long as you get the data into 3D Tiles. 3D Tiles is the much more recent and more versatile specification for getting 3D data into Cesium, and there’s a similar list of tools for working with it here: GitHub - pka/awesome-3d-tiles: Awesome 3D Tiles. Particularly, someone has done some work on a tool for converting the OSM dataset to 3D Tiles, though I haven’t used it so I can’t personally vouch for it: GitHub - kiselev-dv/osm-cesium-3d-tiles.

Whichever approach you use, once you have your tileset, all you need to do is throw it up on a web server somewhere, or put it in a local directory, and point Cesium for Unreal at it.

Of course, if you’re looking for an alternative to hosting and converting that data yourself, I’d recommend Cesium ion! Not only can you use the Cesium World Terrain and Cesium OSM Buildings datasets that we’ve put together and polished up yourself, but you can also upload data you find around the internet and convert it into 3D Tiles. You can see here the formats ion supports: Tiler Data Types and Formats – Cesium. If you find data in a format that we don’t currently support, please reach out and we can work with you on getting it in!

We also offer Cesium ion Self-Hosted if you’d still like to host the data yourself. We optionally offer Cesium World Terrain and Cesium OSM Buildings as part of Self-Hosted. Definitely contact us if this is something you might be interested in!

Finally, on your point about the Apple maps API, that’s a great suggestion! I’ve passed it along to our data team to investigate.

Thank you for all your questions and suggestions!

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Hi Cecium team…I like the look of your software but for the life of me the link to provide the info for the georeference 3D Tileset keeps coming up with an error…I have been trying to load in a part of my city (Kingston and St Catherine Jamaica) without any luck…as much as it is a great software it gets frustrating at times and i have just havent been able to successfully past that stage of loading it into UE5.3

Can you assist of offer guidelines? Or is it that this has changed and not reflected on your website?

Hi @Thompson_Thompson, welcome to the community!

I’m sorry that you’re experiencing issues with loading your data. We’d love to help – could you please open a new forum thread with more details? The following info would help:

  • What version of Cesium for Unreal are you using?
  • What data you’re trying to view? Is it Cesium World Terrain? Google Photorealistic 3D Tiles? Your own?

After you open a new thread with these added details, we’ll be able to troubleshoot from there. Thank you!

Thats excellent news @azrogers
Thank-you for the detailed response, it’s fantastic to know that there is already infrastructure in place to be able to utilise open source and free data! That gives us the comfort to know that there are indeed options to keep viability in the longer term.

Your explanation of how to implement the data is very helpful and shines light on our queries and gives us some good options to consider! It will give us a great launching point to begin creating when that stage of the development begins.

The conversion tool looks very promising as a solution. In the repo issues it as though like someone said it wasn’t working a few years ago with no response, so Ive reached out to the dev. It looks like it would be the perfect solution for that particular step.

I’m also impressed by Ion and Self hosted Ion too, they look like fantastic solutions that would also make the outcome of accessing those datasets a lot more polished and straightforward.

And I appreciate you passing on the apple map api to the data team, it seems like their fee structure is incredibly competitive!

Im looking forward to delving into this more soon :slight_smile: