This article provides a comparison between the two most frequently used methods that measure map traffic in the online environment. They are "map loads" and "tile requests". Both approaches are described in more detail, and each method's advantages and disadvantages are also mentioned. MapTiler Cloud is using tile requests to measure users' map traffic.
About Map loads
Unlike MapTiler, map loads are used by e.g. Google or Mapbox. The map loads are counted when the map is initialized on a web page. After the map has loaded, any user interaction (e.g. zooming, panning, changing the theme...) does not have any impact on the usage limits. Therefore each map load includes unlimited tile requests for the length of the map session.
The length of the map session is usually up to 12 hours, meaning that a user can have a browser open with continuous map interactions that all count towards the same map load during a consecutive 12-hour window. However, once the map is refreshed (a single F5 or CTRL+R stroke) a new map load is initiated and billed. After 12 hours of continuous map interactions, a new map load is usually triggered.
The map load pricing model does not take into account what the users do with the map or how many actions they perform with it, as long as they do not refresh it. This pricing model usually provides a slightly higher base price per 1 unit (a map load), hence the provider needs to count on the fact that the user could do quite a lot of stuff with the map inside the 12-hour-window, and therefore generate significant traffic. This pricing model might be preferred by those, who tend to use the maps quite heavily and need a lot of interactions per map load. Hence they do not have to care about how many tiles they request during a single session.
About Tile requests
MapTiler Cloud uses tile requests as the only method to measure map traffic in the online environment. If you want to know what is a map tile, check out this article. A single tile request is an API call from the map user to the MapTiler Cloud infrastructure requesting a specific piece of the map. Do you want to see how tile requests work for real? Check out this amazing demo.
The pricing model based on tile requests gives the users great control of their expenses. The users pay only for those tile requests they consume and they can continuously monitor their map traffic in the MapTiler Cloud analytics tool. Additionally, they can set up a spending limit to make sure their monthly spending is just as low as they need it to be.