Google Maps and MapQuest Driving Directions Round-Up
The younger you are, the easier it is to take technology for granted. Whether you are jaded or, like me, more easily amused, I find mapping services like Google Maps or Mapquest simply wonderful. The ...
The younger you are, the easier it is to take technology for granted. Whether you are jaded or, like me, more easily amused, I find mapping services like Google Maps or Mapquest simply wonderful. The people who have put together this technology over the last 10 years are brilliant.
Take a look at maps.google.com. Although they got into the map game only a few years ago, they are now the 1,000 lb gorilla when it comes to maps and driving directions.
Google Maps has been my favorite for a few years already. The know-how in the geo-mapping arena has advanced remarkably yielding wonderful maps of most of the planet and driving directions to just about any point on planet Earth.
I'm going to do a short review of these three services, which with any luck will save you some exploration time when you get to the websites.
I switched to Google Maps after using Map Quest for almost 10 years (more about Map Quest below). What switched my allegiance after all those years, was reading the instructions at Google Maps. You know, when all else fails read the instruction?
If Google keeps going like they have they'll be in charge of the world in no time. Google has first-rate point-to-point mapping worldwide but their true power comes in their satellite mapping.
Google maps is extremely feature rich and their manual does a way better job of explaining it than we can. With that in mind, let's cover the main features, you will find heaps more when you explore the website.
All of Google Maps is based on actual earth satellite imagery. You can quickly locate Physical maps, Political maps, Road maps and Topographic maps anywhere on the planet.
You can zoom into Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and actually distinguish tourists walking around or see the traffic entering the on ramp of the Brooklyn Bridge. Map overlays can be added for almost anywhere as well.
Another exclusive feature of Google Maps is that it lets you to amend 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 use. The other services won't let you change the path... with Google Maps it's easy.
Rand McNally has been publishing maps and road atlases for a long time. Word has it that Fred Flintstone used their atlas. They still favor the printed map or atlas and sell lots of them. Next time you stop at a gas station check by the register, I bet you'll find Rand McNally atlases for sale. Now, having said that, they have outstanding e-maps and driving directions. I find them especially effective for comparing routes with Google or Map Quest as a double check kind of thing.
Map Quest has been around since the good old days of the internet... 1996... so by e-standards, it's very mature if not antique. AOL bought it in 2000 and remains in charge.
I have used these guys plenty of times and they always work. They have remarkable maps for the US, Canada and Europe but are weaker in the rest of the world in their quality and detail. US driving 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 difficult.
The last major goodie on Map Quest, is that it will search for the cheapest 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 30 seconds.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joshua Nestor is a writer for real world defensive driving website Fun and Safe Driving. Among other things, site features encyclopedia, forums, defensive driving videos, and map quest road maps.