When it comes to Isochrone APIs, sometimes referred to as a polygon API or Isoline API by HERE, there are many options available, and it can be challenging to determine which one is best for your use case.
Before we go into detail, here’s a quick table to compare at a glance:
|Feature Comparison||Here Isochrone API||TravelTime Isochrone API|
|Public transport option||❌||✅|
|Request Methods||GET only||GET and POST|
|Shape Formats||Polyline only||JSON, GeoJSON, KML+XML, WKT|
|Performance (1-hour driving isochrone)||Faster||Slower (But draws 10x more points)|
HERE is primarily designed for routing and navigation, whereas TravelTime specialises in isochrone calculations. As a result, there are some significant differences in the features and capabilities of each API.
One of the most significant differences between the two is the ability to generate isochrones using different transport modes - HERE doesn’t offer any public transport.
Public transport isochrones are beneficial because:
- Accessibility: Provides more accurate and comprehensive results for use cases related to urban planning and transportation analysis.
- Flexibility: Users can select the mode that best suits their needs. This makes the API more useful for a broader range of use cases.
- Environmental considerations: By offering multiple modes of transportation in an isochrone API, it becomes possible to analyse the environmental impact of different transportation options.
Level of detail of the shape
HERE doesn't provide the same level of detail in isochrone calculations as TravelTime. It’s also possible to ‘smooth’ TravelTime shapes - simplifying the polygon’s level of detail when it’s needed.
Highly detailed polygons deliver:
- Improved accuracy: This is important when analysing urban areas where travel times can vary greatly depending on the route taken.
- Better decision-making: Make more informed decisions about where to locate businesses, services, or amenities.
- Better understanding of the environment: Useful for environmental analyses, land-use planning, or disaster response planning.
TravelTime can configure shapes to include or exclude holes, which HERE does not provide. This can be important when dealing with areas that have complex shapes or irregular boundaries. Holes occur around areas of minimal transport network coverage and occur when the polygon includes lakes, rivers and mountain ranges.
If you want to create a TravelTime polygon quickly to assess the level of detail you can use these two sites:
TravelTime also supports multiple data formats, including JSON, GeoJSON, KML+XML, and WKT formats, making it easier for applications to consume the data without additional processing. In contrast, HERE only returns shapes in polyline format, which requires additional decoding. The additional formats mean:
- Easier data consumption: This can save developers time and effort, and make it easier to integrate the isochrone data into their applications.
- Better interoperability: This can be especially important when sharing data between different organisations or platforms.
- Better visualisation: Some of these formats, such as KML+XML and GeoJSON, are designed specifically for geographic data visualisation. This means that applications can more easily display the isochrone data on maps or other visualisations, improving the user experience.
- More flexible data analysis: These formats can be easily imported into a wide range of analysis tools and platforms.
TravelTime provides a more detailed isochrone calculation and polygon API, which results in slower performance for a 1-hour driving isochrone. However, the response contains 10x more points, which is valuable for certain use cases requiring detailed isoline shapes.
If you are interested in high resolution polygons with a much better performance this is also possible with TravelTime -talk to sales about a bespoke plan.
TravelTime supports both GET and POST requests, making it easier to configure parameters.Explore the isochrone API documentation.
Overall, the choice between HERE and TravelTime depends on your specific needs and use case. If you require detailed isochrone calculations and polygon APIs, TravelTime may be the better choice. If you’re only looking for an API for routing and navigation, HERE may be the way to go. Regardless of which API you choose, it's essential to thoroughly evaluate the features and capabilities to ensure that it meets your needs.