I would like to use the Google tiles on LeafLet (RoadMap, Satellite,...).

I've tried this https://github.com/shramov/leaflet-plugins and it works fine, but I'm worried about the possible legal issues of this solution.

The following text is an extract of LeafLet FAQ.

The problem with Google is that its Terms of Use forbid any means of tile access other than through the Google Maps API.

You can add the Google Maps API as a Leaflet layer with a plugin. But note that the map experience will not be perfect, because Leaflet will just act as a proxy to the Google Maps JS engine, so you won't get all the performance and usability benefits of using Leaflet when the Google layer is on.

I think that's right but it depends on the point of view and the differences in interpretation of the Google Maps Terms of Use. For example Google says:

(a) No Access to Maps API(s) except through the Service. You must not access or use the Maps API(s) or any Content through any technology or means other than those provided in the Service, or through other explicitly authorized means Google may designate. For example, you must not access map tiles or imagery through interfaces or channels (including undocumented Google interfaces) other than the Maps API(s).

Here, LeafLet and this plugin could be consider as other technology.

Also Google says:

(g) No Use of Content without a Google Map. You must not use or display the Content without a corresponding Google map, unless you are explicitly permitted to do so in the Maps APIs Documentation, or through written permission from Google. In any event, you must not use or display the Content on or in conjunction with a non-Google map. For example, you must not use geocodes obtained through the Service in conjunction with a non-Google map. As another example, you must not display Street View imagery alongside a non-Google map, but you may display Street View imagery without a corresponding Google map because the Maps APIs Documentation explicitly permits you to do so.

At this point it could be interpreted as if we're not using a Google Map, but in a different point of view we could say we're using a Google Map under a LeafLet Map so strictly we're using it.

What do you think? Could I have some troubles with Google if I use this plugin?


1 Answer 1


As such we don't answer Legal questions, but here is some history which might help you see how Google sees these things.

OpenLayers too, shows the Google Map in a similar way. The OpenLayers code acts as a wrapper around the Google Maps API, and shows the layer in a appropriate way.

Google's Employees reached out to the OpenLayers developers and gave express permission for this.

You have to ask yourself, if Google felt that this wasn't against the T&C, why did they write:

...consider this email the "written consent" that you need from us to continue using the Google Maps APIs in OpenLayers.

My reading of this whole exchange is that Google considers that these kinds of things break their T&C and unless they give a similar written permission to the LeafLet plugin, you really aren't in the clear.

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