App Settings: Map Provider

This article covers information on Knack's map feature to display geocoded address field values and information about using Google Maps as the map provider.

Knack provides a map feature to display geolocated address fields. You can locate this setting on the "Map Provider" page within the "App Settings" menu. 

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Tip: To learn about map views, see our article here.

 

View Map Usage

The "View Map Usage" button can help you see the totals of your map view loads and geocoding usage from address fields in records, as well as the source of these counts.

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Geocoding of Records

The number of Address fields on a table where "Geocode Records" is enabled is multiplied by the number of records in that table that make up each table's "Total Count" number in the "View Map Usage" modal. The total shown ("Estimated number of monthly geocode requests") is the sum of that "Total Count" number for each table.

Map View Loads

Each time a map view is loaded in a browser, this counts as a load. The number provided is the monthly average map view loads over the lifetime of the app, as of the current date.

Note: The loading of map views and geocoding of address field values is included for Pro and above plans. You can also use Google as your provider by adding your API key.

Details can be found in the Using Google Maps as the Map Provider section below.

 

Geocoding of Records and Usage Basics

Geocoding is a process that involves taking the description of a place, such as its latitude/longitude coordinates or its address, and accurately mapping it to a physical location on the surface of the earth. To display address field values on a map view or search address field values with the "is near (a zip code)" filter, the address field setting of "Geocode Records" must be enabled. 

Note: "is near (a zip code)" filters can be used in the following locations within Knack: formula field filters, view source filters, view filter menus, or rule criteria (tasks, emails, record rules, and action links).

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Tip: If address field values are to be used for display only on a record or view, there's no need to geocode them.

 

Calculating Distance

In Knack, we calculate the shortest distance between two points based on their longitude and latitude coordinates. However, when viewing maps such as Google Maps outside of Knack, they calculate the shortest "route" or mileage between the two locations accounting for driving between two points. 

Note: The calculation of the distance between two points based on their coordinates is handled automatically within the Knack platform. 

Default Map Feature

Using our default map feature, addresses are geocoded to a precision of five decimal places.

Partial searches (street address only, city only, or ZIP code only) are not supported with our default map feature. Guidance is provided for customers during map searches if no results are returned stating: "No results for that search. Please try again with additional address data (eg. street, city, state, zip, or country).”

Custom map pins are not currently available with Knack's default map feature. If you'd like to keep your current code for customized map pins, you'll need to choose Google Maps as the map provider.

Using Google Maps as the Map Provider

You can also use Google as your map provider by adding your API key. In choosing Google as your map provider, you will be responsible for paying Google for any usage beyond their free plan for your geocoding of records, map views, and address autocomplete usage.

Details on estimating costs are found below:

Additional Options Available with Google Maps

  • Google Maps provides seven decimal places of precision for geocoding.

  • Google Maps can provide search results on street addresses only, city only, and ZIP codes only.

  • Google Map pins can be customized using JavaScript.

Note: As of 2024-01-29, any Knack apps that are using Google Maps as the map provider will require a Map ID to be entered in the App Settings > Map Provider section of the Builder. See Google's documentation on creating a Map ID here.

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Setting Up Your Google Maps API Credentials

Billing

Go to your Google Developer Account > Menu hamburger > Billing > Add Billing Information.

Enable APIs & Get Credentials to Use in Knack

  • Create a new project in your Google developer account. There will not be any APIs enabled > click the "API Library" link.

  • These APIs are all managed through the API Library. Start with the"Geocoding API" and click “Enable”.

  • Then, under the “Additional APIs” list, enable "Places API" and "Maps JavaScript API".

  • Now, you need to set up a Credential to support these APIs. Go to the menu hamburger in the top left > APIs & services > Credentials.

  • Create an API key > Close. Then, you can use this new key in Knack.

On the Knack side, enter your Google Maps API Key and click Save Settings:

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Tip: You can use the same key for multiple apps- this will bill all usage from any app to that same credential. You can create multiple credentials though as well, if you want to see usage from particular Knack apps to particular credentials.

Note: Switching to Google Maps as the map provider will geocode all address fields at that time and every 30 days after that date.

 

Google Maps Platform Billing

When viewing your Google Maps Platform billing, you'll see the charges outlined by Product and SKU. Below, you'll find the charges that will originate from maps use in Knack. 

  • Geocoding API: Under the Places product > Geocoding API (Product) / Geocoding (SKU)

  • Places API: Under the Places product > Places API (Product) / Autocomplete - Per Request (SKU)

  • Maps JavaScript API: Under the Maps product > Maps and Street View (Product) / Dynamic Maps (SKU)

Google Maps Notes and Troubleshooting

  • If you'd like to test using a Google Maps API key, we recommend testing with an empty app and following the links under the section above: Using Google as the Map Provider to get started. To test, simply manually add a few records with addresses that you think would benefit from testing.

  • When enabling Google Maps APIs, Google provides a warning: "This key is unrestricted. Restrictions help prevent unauthorized use and quota theft". While this risk does exist, based on Google’s implementation requirements, it is not possible to restrict a key to both a set of domains (for map loading/address autocomplete) and an IP range (for geocoding), which are both a part of maps & geolocation features in Knack.