Finding maps online makes a lot of sense. You will have the latest information updated in real-time for a new street in your neighborhood or up-to-the-minute traffic reports to help you plan your commute. Step-by-step driving directions make any trip a breeze. Yet which online map site reigns supreme: Google, Yahoo or MapQuest?
First let’s look at simple directions. That is why most of us find driving directions online after all, is it not? If you are worried about road hazards, construction zones and thick traffic, then Yahoo Maps is good for that function. MapQuest lets you check boxes to avoid highways and tolls, choose the shortest distance or take the route with the shortest time. The user-friendly, simple nature of this site is also a good perk for someone who wants their directions right away.
They also have recently added the drag-and-drop function that Yahoo has had, which helps you navigate around traffic obstructions. If you are walking or jogging, then Ask is the only site that lets you plot your pedestrian course. Google Maps can zoom in for close topographical views of any continent. To sum up, Yahoo is the best site when traffic or construction sites are a concern, while MapQuest provides quick point-A-to-point-B directions.
So what about maps of sightseeing? MapQuest does not offer satellite images currently, although if you have the addresses, you can plot out multiple points on your sightseeing tour to discover an efficient route. Google can show you extremely close-up views all around the world from Nairobi and Lima to Baghdad and Tokyo.
Yahoo also takes you right to the heart of the world’s most far-flung continents using a number of sources for its images, although Google and Ask have more display pixels. Conclusively, Google Maps probably has the most comprehensive database of real-world images and the fastest response time for your sightseeing needs. In fact, there are entire websites dedicated to “sightseeing without leaving your living room via Google satellite maps.”
Another site not detailed here, but worth looking at, is the newer Microsoft Windows Live Local. You can stick a pushpin on favorite locations, record notes and upload pictures to your sites to save or share with friends, which is sort of like the Google map creator function. You can also view traffic reports and get the clearest route, explore collections of sightseeing landmarks and tour 3-D cities.
This new player seems to perceptibly take the best of the other sites and do it better. As you browse, you will notice that all the sites have similar interfaces (except for that rebel, MapQuest) but the subtle differences are what make people so adamant about their favorite mapping engines.