by Henry Perks, Unsplash
Map data are increasingly important in the Internet era, generating business value and helping decision-making. Such data are widely used in industries, for example, a catering company can decide where to open a new restaurant by analyzing map data and competitors nearby.
Like the article Top 20 Web Crawling Tools to Scrape the Websites Quickly, here we selected 5 best Google Maps crawlers in 2020 and wrote reviews on features of the best crawlers out there. There are different kinds of methods to create Google Maps crawlers. Try the following methods and create your own crawler to get the data you need!
Yes, Google Maps Platform provides Places API for developers! It's one of the best ways to gather places data from Google Maps, and developers are able to get up-to-date information about millions of locations using HTTP requests via the API.
Before using Places API, you should set up an account and create your own API key. The Places API is not free and uses a pay-as-you-go pricing model. Nevertheless, the data fields provided are limited by the Places API, and thus you may not get all the data you need.
Octoparse is a free web scraping tool for non-programmers in which you can build crawlers to scrape data. Within several clicks, you are able to turn the websites into valuable data. Features within Octoparse enable you to customize the crawlers to deal with 99% complicated structure of websites and scrape data.
Moreover, there are web scraping templates for certain websites including Google Maps in Octoparse, making web scraping easier and more accessible to anyone. Just enter keywords or URL and the template will start to scrape data automatically.
Crawlers created with Octoparse including the templates can be run in both local machines or in the Cloud. Octoparse is powerful and easy-to-use, you'll learn how to build your own crawler within seconds with its industry-leading data auto-detection feature.
3. Python Framework or Library
You can make use of powerful Python Frameworks or Libraries such as Scrapy and Beautiful Soup to customize your crawler and scrape exactly what you want. To be specific, Scrapy is a framework that is used to download, clean, store data from the web pages, and has a lot of built-in code to save you time while BeautifulSoup is a library that helps programmer quickly extract data from web pages.
In this way, you have to write codes yourself to build the crawler and deal with everything. Therefore, only those programmers who master web scraping are competent in this project.
4. Open-source Projects on GitHub
Some projects for crawling Google Maps can be found on GitHub such as this project written in Node.js. There are plenty of good open-source projects which have already created by others, so let's not re-invent the wheels.
Even if you don't need to write the most of the codes yourself, you still need to know the rudiments and write some codes to run the script, making it difficult for those who know little about coding. Quantity and quality of the dataset are highly dependent on the open-source project on GitHub, which lacks maintenance. Also, the output can only be a .txt file, and thus if you want a large scale of data, it may not be the best way for you to get data.
5. Web Scraper
Web Scraper is the most popular web scraping extension. Download the Google Chrome browser and install the extension Web Scraper and you can start to use it. You don't have to write codes or download software to scrape data, a Chrome extension will be enough for most cases.
However, the extension is not that powerful when handling complex structures of web pages or scraping some heavy data.
Artículo en español: Los 5 Mejores Rastreadores de Google Maps en 2020
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