29 Август 2008

What Driving Directions to Use? Google or Map Quest?

I know I am probably dating myself just a little… but web based map services like G-Maps just blow me away. Whoever found out how to map any block on the planet in 5 seconds has got to be rich… if not they should be.

Check out maps.google.com. Although they got into the map game just recently, they are now the 1,000 lb gorilla when it comes to maps and directions.

G-Maps has been my favorite for a few years already. The technology in the geo-mapping field has improved amazingly yielding miraculous immediate maps of most of the planet and directions to just about any point on planet Earth.

What follows are brief reviews of G-Maps, MapQuest And Rand McNally, reading them should curtail your learning curve when you arrive at the websites.

I switched to G-Maps after using MapQuest for almost nine years (more about MapQuest below). What switched my loyalty after all those years, was reading the directions at G-Maps. You know, when all else fails read the directions?

It is a remarkable bit of technology which will present you with both maps nearly anywhere in the world and detailed driving directions in most countries.

G-maps is extremely feature rich and their tutorial does a way better job of teaching than we can. With that in mind, let’s cover the main features, you will find heaps more when you delve into the site.

All of G-Maps is based on earth satellite imagery. You can quickly locate Physical maps, Political maps, Road maps and Topographic maps anywhere on the planet.

You can see people wandering around Red Square in Moscow or read the home plate logo at Coors field in Denver. In most parts of the world, you can also generate point to point driving instructions.

Another exclusive tool of G-Maps is that it allows you to modify the route it has laid out for you, simply by dragging the route marking to a different point. We often know alternate routes, learned by experience that we want to stick to. The other services won’t let you change the path… with G-Maps it’s easy and immediate.

Rand McNally has been publishing road atlases for a very long time. Word has it that Fred Flintstone used their atlas. They still prefer the printed map or atlas and publish a lot of them. Next time you stop at a gas station check by the register, I bet you’ll find Rand McNally maps for sale. Now, having said that, they have outstanding e-maps and directions. I find them very effective for comparing routes with Google or MapQuest as a double check kind of thing.

Map Quest is the granddad of online mapping having been started in the 1960’s by Donnelly Advertising. They were purchased in 2000 by AOL.

I have used Map Quest plenty of times and they always work. They have great maps for the US, Canada and Europe but are weaker in the rest of the world in their quality and detail. US instructions are totally detailed and usually very accurate. In some growth areas they can be a little behind, simply because of trying to stay current with new growth can be challenging.

The last chief goodie on MapQuest, is that it will search for the least expensive gas or diesel no matter where you are in the US. It’s a good way to keep an eye on your gas budget and it only takes about 30 seconds.

Hope this helps you never to get lost again, and safe travels to you always.

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