Skip to first unread message

Roger Rutishauser

May 15, 2020, 10:59:29 AM5/15/20
to AtoM Users

From what I've learned, it is possible to add coordinates to the CODE field in a taxonomy term, and also to digital objects. I tried, but a "broken image" icon appears. When entering the image-URL directly into the browser, it says that a Google Maps API Key is needed (I thought, that so far, this is only used, if a "dynamic" map is needed, but not for static non-zoomable maps). Now, to get an API key, learned that it costs minimum $200, and that there is no free version available anymore. Do you agree? If yes, do you plan to do a workaround so that one could use openstreetmap for example?

best regards

Dan Gillean

May 15, 2020, 11:20:06 AM5/15/20
to ICA-AtoM Users
Hi Roger, 

Your assessment is correct - we'll need to make code changes to be able to re-enable this legacy feature, thanks to Google's changes to its Maps API usage. I would love to see us replace Google Maps in AtoM with something open and freely available like OpenStreetMap - or at least provide users with configuration options. However, this will require further analysis and development, for which we depend on community support, either via code contributions or development sponsorship. You can learn more about how we maintain and develop AtoM here: 
Some further background on the feature: 

The static maps that could be generated on terms using the Code field is a legacy feature added in a very early version of ICA-AtoM and unfortunately, scarcely touched since. Consequently, when the setting in AtoM was added for the Google Maps API key (to support the ability to add dynamic maps to digital objects), the static map feature in the Terms module was not integrated with it. 

Google also started introducing changes to its Maps API - the first change being the types of inputs they would support. Previously AtoM could generate a map even based on a keyword entered into the Code field, or an address, or latitude and longitude coordinates in any format. Later - I think around 2015ish, they changed this so that only decimal degree type coordinates were supported (i.e. those formatted using degrees, minutes, and seconds no longer rendered). That was the first change. 

Previously Google also allowed calls to its Maps API without an API key. It seems that they ended this practice in 2016 - so at this point, nothing will render properly - even if you add a Maps API key to AtoM, since the setting to hold the key value is not integrated with the Terms module. So you're correct that, at minimum, we'll need to integrate this feature with the Maps API key setting to get it working again. I agree with you that a better solution would be to replace the feature entirely, and use something free and open. 

As a side note, for the digital object and repository dynamic maps: 

It looks like prior to July 16, 2018 use of the standard API was free up to 25,000 map loads per 24 hours. Now Google requires billing to be enabled but the pay-as-you-go billing still will only kick in after you exceed the free usage limit of 25,000/day. See: 
 So, at this point, even with those maps in AtoM, you will need to enter credit card information. However, if your site traffic is low to moderate (i.e. less than 25K page views a day), you may never be billed. There's no way to set a limit in AtoM to avoid billing, however. This barrier is definitely motivation for us to find a different solution for the future. 

If this is a priority feature for your institution, and you might be interested in sponsoring development, please feel free to contact me off-list, and our team can follow up on options and development estimates. Alternatively, if you or your institution has development experience, check out the development resources on our wiki - and our team can try to provide some initial guidance via this forum. 


Dan Gillean, MAS, MLIS
AtoM Program Manager
Artefactual Systems, Inc.
he / him

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "AtoM Users" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to
To view this discussion on the web visit

Roger Rutishauser

May 19, 2020, 6:30:30 AM5/19/20
to AtoM Users
Thanks so much for the clarification, Dan.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to
Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages