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Best Online Mapping Site? 603

Posted by timothy
from the interfacing-with-the-real-world dept.
bbulzibar asks: "I've been using MapQuest most of my life, but now as my mind is slowly expanding, I want to see if Yahoo! Maps is a better service for driving directions. According to one article I have read, Yahoo! is better at displaying maps, but what about calculating directions? Does anyone have any experience with differences? For example, Yahoo! and MapQuest give differing routes to go from Bloomington, IN to Madison, WI." I particularly like MapBlast's "Line Drive" direction style -- what's your favorite online mapping software?
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Best Online Mapping Site?

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  • Definitely MapQuest (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sakeneko (447402) on Monday October 20, 2003 @07:43PM (#7265316) Homepage Journal

    I've caught them in exactly two errors in four or five years of regular use. I'd gladly pay a monthly membership fee for them if they weren't a free service. (SHHHHH!!! Don't tell them.) ;>

    • by JoshRoss (88988)
      You can get great trip ticks through AAA.com, if you are a paying member.
    • For their first couple of years of operation, their database apparently had El Camino Real through Silicon Valley marked as a freeway. The driving directions would often tell you to stay on El Camino for about six miles, which considering there is an unsynchronized traffic light every three blocks, would get old fast. They appear to have fixed that problem some time ago, though.

      • ...apparently had El Camino Real through Silicon Valley

        OK, this is driving me nuts. There's an El Camino Real Blvd in Clear Lake, Texas (just south of Houston) near JSC. I thought it was one of these local things, but if there's one in Silicon Valley I must be wrong. WTF does El Camino Real come from, there's obviously some history I'm missing here.

        • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Monday October 20, 2003 @09:22PM (#7266123)


          There's an El Camino Real Blvd in Clear Lake, Texas (just south of Houston) near JSC. I thought it was one of these local things, but if there's one in Silicon Valley I must be wrong.


          Heh. It caught my attention when I moved from the Clear Lake area to the Bay Area. Bugged me, too.

          El Camino Real is "The King's Road". There are actually two El Camino Real's - one in California and one in Texas. They are esentially the first interstate roadways in the New World. In both cases, they were built to link a series Spannish missions.

          Following El Camino Real in California [pacificnet.net] is a bit twisty, but one can piece it togeather. Texas' El Camino Real [houstonculture.org] appears to be a bit simpler.

          I would guess Clear Lake's road is simply a nod to this historic highway (located much further to the north).
          • by Graff (532189)

            El Camino Real is "The King's Road". There are actually two El Camino Real's - one in California and one in Texas. They are esentially the first interstate roadways in the New World. In both cases, they were built to link a series Spannish missions.

            Well, depending on your definition of "first interstate highway" you would have to give that title to either the Boston Post Road [wikipedia.org] or one of three roads [dot.gov] built in the 1950's. The problem is that interstate roads didn't truly exist in a legal sense until the

      • uhm.. that's because el camino real is a highway. It's highway 87.
  • Seriously?! (Score:5, Funny)

    by NoData (9132) <_NoData_@NoSPAM.yahoo.com> on Monday October 20, 2003 @07:43PM (#7265318)
    "I've been using MapQuest most of my life,

    HOLY SHIT do I feel old.
    • Yeah, back in my day, if we needed directions we had to slaughter a goat and wiggle the intestines!
  • Sweet Spot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by l810c (551591) * on Monday October 20, 2003 @07:44PM (#7265325)
    My main problem with ALL of the online mapping sites(And even Street & Trips and Rand McNally software) is they miss the Sweet Spot.

    Somewhere between 2 and 3(or similar) on the zoom scales. 2 is just a tad too close, you click 3 and BAM you get the whole town. No neighborhood street names or other smaller details to help guide you on that last mile. Sure I could print directions or two maps, but it's still very annoying.

    It would nice to be able to click on a particular street name or other landmark and have it 'stick' through zoom levels.

    Yahoo(and Some of the others also wack out my neighborhood map. I live 2 houses from the county line and Yahoo breaks my street on the county line putting the ends 200 m apart. It would cause somebody using it for directions to my house to drive about a mile out of the way if coming from the other county.

    Oh yeah, and why is the push pin marker on the wrong side of the street 80% of the time?

    • Re:Sweet Spot (Score:2, Interesting)

      by cavemanf16 (303184)
      That's because the mapping software can only distinguish down to the street level the approximate location of your house, I think. I do know that our software at work relies on 'Code 1' information when we mail out the stuff that we mail out, and without the full 11-digit zip code (that's right, 11 digits - the extra two digits at the very end indicate the exact location of the house, office, etc.) we have a harder time getting the stuff we mail to the correct place 100% of the time. And since we don't mail
    • Oh yeah, and why is the push pin marker on the wrong side of the street 80% of the time?

      I'm betting they look if the house number is even or odd, and try to guess what side its on from that value.

      I dunno about other states, but many Utah addresses follow a strict numbering guide. For example, in my county, any odd numbered houses are always south or west of the road. So the mapping services place the house on the correct side almost 100% of the time.

      I'm betting you probably live in an area tha
    • I'd like to have mapping software for Mac OS X.

      On Winders, I use Mappoint (aka "Streets & Trips"). Rand McNally's Streetfinder is dreck.

      If anyone knows what Mappoint's data file format is, drop me a note.
    • Re:Sweet Spot (Score:3, Informative)

      by mindriot (96208)

      There's a mapping service for Germany and most of Europe here [map24.de]. I like their interactive map display using a JAVA applet. Works well on Linux as on Windows, and allows you to zoom around very freely. Worked well for all routes I needed recently. Don't know about your other points of critique, but at least I find the interface usable enough to get good results, and mostly exact enough to get a decent enough description.

    • why is the push pin marker on the wrong side of the street 80% of the time?

      If this is true, just remember that the marker is always on the wrong side, and you'll get the right answer 80% of the time. I suspect your real problem is that they're wrong about 50% of the time.

    • Re:Sweet Spot (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bedessen (411686)
      WIth SVG maturing, I wonder when we're going to get maps that aren't these stupid images. I want a vector map that I can pan and zoom... but it should be smart enough to only download the data that it needs for any given display. And it should be smart enough to cull enough details when I zoom out that I can get a sufficient overview of the layout of a town without downloading e.g. every street name. I'd think this would eventually be easier on the back-end, as it wouldn't have to generate all those stup
  • by bokelley (563370) * on Monday October 20, 2003 @07:44PM (#7265334)

    Something I have been looking for is a mapping site that will let me plot a route - say from 42nd and Madison to 14th and 6th - as I would walk it, not as a car would have to drive it (that is, ignore one way streets and such). Generally, because I want to find out how far I have to walk to get to a meeting or something.

    Extra credit would be if I could draw a diagonal line through a park (since I can cut through). Or if it estimated walking time the way it done driving time.

    Any ideas?

  • by Suppafly (179830)
    Isn't maps.yahoo.com powered by mapquest?
  • From personal experience on the west coast and midwest, I can say that I will never use Yahoo maps again. The third time getting lost did it for me. Mapquest has not let me down yet.
    • That's really funny. Here in Texas, I have had so many problems with Mapquest -- sending me on to streets that don't exist, saying to go too far, making you turn circles the last mile, etc. On the other hand, Yahoo maps work awesome. They consistently display several names of a single road (Mopac is Hwy 1 is Don King Blvd) and don't have the turns at the end of the trip.
  • by jimson (516491) on Monday October 20, 2003 @07:46PM (#7265366) Homepage
    I mapped out a route from Here to Timbuktu and Mapquest came out with the shortest route, therefore I conclude that Mapquest is better. QED
  • by SeanTobin (138474) * <.moc.liamtoh. .ta. .rtnuhdryb.> on Monday October 20, 2003 @07:47PM (#7265368)
    I've found that Yahoo is better at finding roads when I don't have the complete information (i.e. no zip code). I've tried a few times to find an address in mapquest, only to give up and find it instantly in yahoo maps.

    I'm sure there are several examples going the other way as well. In any event, its always better to have several competing services than one monopolistic non-innovative service.
  • Some UK map sites (Score:5, Informative)

    by bartash (93498) on Monday October 20, 2003 @07:47PM (#7265369)
    In the UK try Streetmap [streetmap.co.uk]or Multimap [multimap.com]. IMHO UK Yahoo maps [yahoo.com] isn't very good.

    • I forgot to say that in the Czech Republic I like mapy.cz [mapy.cz]. It doesn't have an English language version (that I could find)
    • Re:Some UK map sites (Score:3, Interesting)

      by moreati (119629)
      If you have a recent java installed, then map24 [map24.com] knocks the veritable socks off all the competition. It displays an interactive vector map, complete with smooth scrolling, zooming and mouse over feature description.

      The formatting of the route planning directions leaves a little to be desired, but that's the biggest fault I can think of. On the whole it compares favourably even to MS Autoroute - except it's free, always up to date and cross platform.

      If you don't have java it falls back to a static image.

      Re
  • by Delusional (574271) on Monday October 20, 2003 @07:48PM (#7265380)
    MapBlast has always produced easier-to-read maps and better quality directions, in my experience. Sadly, their availability waivered for a while there (presumably financial/business model difficulties), and at some point they got bought by ... M$. But you can still type in mapblast.com, it just points to a mapping page on MSN, which, at least so far, retains most of the quality that I always appreciated.
  • yes this will probably get me flamed to hell...
    but i love microsoft's mappoint. [mappoint.com] it has pretty good maps and shows where theres construction on roads and the time periods the construction goes through. (i.e. there is construction for the next 20 miles on i-40 east from august 2, 2002 to october 4, 2004) and it has an easy to use interface, but i haven't tried it with anything but IE so it will probably kill mozilla or something.
    i've also used expedia.com which i have found to be horrible, and i used to use
  • by lemming552 (101935) on Monday October 20, 2003 @07:49PM (#7265392) Homepage Journal
    They both get their maps from NavTech. I'm surprised they'd give a different result.

    I always amused by the direction that Navtech would give for one path a couple blocks from home. It would direct me over the barrier between the N & S lanes of a road. Doubly Ironic that my wife worked for NavTech at the time.

    Other than that, I use mapquest more often than not, just out of habit.
  • Don't kid yourself. They all use the same backend databases (i.e., NavTech) and direction-finders. The only difference you are likely to find is in the interface, and how they choose to present the maps, directions, information. That is where they are different.
  • by NearlyHeadless (110901) on Monday October 20, 2003 @07:50PM (#7265403)
    Not for the U.S., but check this [ooblick.com] out.
  • In the UK: My vote is for Line Drive on Mapblast [mapblast.com] for directions, and streetmap.co.uk [streetmap.co.uk] for er, street-type maps.

    Line Drive is surprisingly accurate (to 1/10 mile) if you reset your mileometer at every turning and reference point, and follow the distances. But who does that? (A: me, I'm a navigational klutz and need all the help I can get)... MapKlutz Hint: Do a return journey route too...

    ...Oh, and MS bought Mapblast, so it sucks now (sorry, forget where I was for a minute!)

  • by someguy456 (607900) <someguy456@phreaker.net> on Monday October 20, 2003 @07:51PM (#7265420) Homepage Journal
    I hope I don't get modded down into oblivion, but I really like Microsoft Streets and Trips. I have the 2002 edition that came with Microsoft Works Suite. Online maps are slow (I'm on modem) and they don't feel right. I get the feeling that they are limited to certain rectangles. With S&T, I can get the feel for the whole map. I can scroll to the edges just as easy/fast as I would scroll on a web page or spreadsheet. From the routes I've gotten from around my area, I can't say either (Yahoo, MapQuest, S&T) is any better than the other. For example, they all insist on me taking highways, even if it takes longer to get there (yes, I know about scenic, shorter, faster,etc, but it didn't make much of a difference)
    • by cmowire (254489) on Monday October 20, 2003 @08:03PM (#7265558) Homepage
      Good points. ;)

      The best part about S&T is that it's more interactive. I've got DSL and S&T is still faster. You can reroute the map if you *know* there's a better way. You can define multiple points on the journey and have a complete route. You can use it to print out *good* directions to meet up at some point.

      Best part of all is portability. You can download a S&T map to your PDA (Ain't vendor-lockin grand?) or keep it on your laptop and view the directions that way.
    • I have a copy of S&T that came with Works, too (and for the other respondants, sometimes you get Works when you order PCs from Dell). :-) I started using it when MapQuest steered me into the wrong half of a medium-sized city and I had to stop and ask directions. I hate that.

      One nice thing about it is that you can take a laptop along and always be able to find your way. On trips if your navigator/passenger isn't totally brain dead you can use it to get around traffic jams, etc. in real time. It's also p
    • At the atlanta Winxp Launch Event, they were giving away Mappoint 2002. I had owned Streets and Trips 2001 and liked it. Mappoint's COM extensions were great for integrating it into other apps.

      When Streets and Trips 2004 came out, grabbed a copy of it on sale (was like $25) after rebates.

      Just got my copy of Mappoint 2004 about 2 weeks ago. Really like the updated maps.

      What I do think needs some work is the GPS interface. MP can track the location of your vehicle from a gps device, but it does NOT hel
  • MapsOnUs / TeleAtlas (Score:3, Informative)

    by emcdermid (136598) on Monday October 20, 2003 @07:53PM (#7265440)
    My preferred site is www.mapsonus.com, which uses data from TeleAtlas North America (aka TANA, formerly Etak).

    A few years ago, I was told by someone in the know that TANA tended to be more accurate in actually knowing where a given location was, while NavTech was better at turn-by-turn directions. No idea where MapQuest fits in (at the time, I thought they used NavTech).

    IMHO, it's worth checking several sources to triangulate. Just check the fine print on the generated maps, to ensure that you're not looking at two presentations of the same data.
  • I just moved to Cincinnati so I've been using map websites almost every day. Yahoo! has the big advantage of integrating the Yellow Pages with their mapping program, so you don't have to type in the address like you do with Mapquest...

    I've found that Yahoo! has a tendency to map the the shortest distance as the crow flies, which almost inevitably turns out to be a long drive than Mapquest, which tends to get you to a freeway faster. Since I live next to a major freeway most trips are faster by using it i
  • by frenchgates (531731) on Monday October 20, 2003 @07:55PM (#7265460)
    I love MSN best for maps because it is the only one I've found that lets me expand the map display to actually use the resolution of my monitor instead of scrolling the postage stamp map around.
  • I've been using MapQuest most of my life...

    Uh oh, he's posting to /.
    NetNanny must be on the blink again.

  • The accuracy of the directions from each varies. I've seen both produce better results than the other for different routes. They usually both follow the same general directions though. Yahoo's maps are easier read when zoomed in close, since they only include side streets that are relevant to the route you're taking. Mapquest's tend to look cluttered. Yahoo also deosn't overstate the time it's takes to get there as much. In Mapquest's time estimates it's seems like they assumae you're going to stop at every
  • I like Rand Mcnally's site [randmcnally.com]. In my experience it often gives more detailed descriptions than Mapquest. Oh and I used Mapblast too before it became a wholly owned subsidiary of the underworld.
  • Then it sold, off and the others have been less than the best.

  • mapquest is one big mother fucking BITCH for canadians (and probably other international users as well). Even if you go to mapquest.ca and search for Montreal (a 3million person plus canadian city) it shows some shitty little town of montreal, idaho or something. What the fuck mapquest? You suck.

    On the other hand I have found maps.yahoo.ca to be quite an excellent service. Go yahoo go.

  • mapquest it NEVER giives me the best directions, how can you use a mapping solution in NJ that never uses the freaking parkway as the easiest route.

    I needed direction to a school in newark I was student teaching at, it gave me these unbeleiveable direction through elzabeth and newark when all I had to do is take the parkway to bloomfield and drive down the road into newark.

  • It looks like everyone uses NavTech data for all of these in car navigation systems.

    I was wondering if the data on the CDs you buy from NavTech is actually available in a handy electronic form for free?

    It just seems like linux is missing a really cool opportunity to cash in on the embedded navigation market but doesn't seem to be doing so and I was wondering if this is because we can't get any access to decent electronic roadmap data without significant cost or NDAs.

    • Of course not. Are you acrazy? Do you realize how many millions of dollars NavTech has spent on developing their database, and how much they continue to spend? Do you realize how many years it has taken them? Do you realize how poor their return has been?

      We're extremely lucky there any sites left that offer free NavTech data. Don't push it.

    • It is, although not preparsed or incredibly well formatted. All of the mapping systems (for the US) use the US Census TIGER/LINE data, which can be downloaded in original form. It's not the simplest of data to decode, and the reason that NavTech et al. charge for theirs is that they went through the trauma of fixing the more horribly broken bits, and realigning the data to be more usuable.
  • Recently,

    Yahoo changed their mapping program such that many of the buttons no longer work using Mozilla 1.4.

    Is it an issue with Mozilla or with Yahoo! I don't know but I know who won out in my case. Mapquest did!!!
    • Fud, Fud, Fud.

      I use Yahoo with Mozilla almost on a daily basis. On multiple computers, I can assure you that it's your problem and not Mozilla.

      Yahoo is superior to MapQuest just in the capacities of the Yellow Page integration.
  • by bender647 (705126)
    I use http://www.mapsonus.com
    Can't say its better than the rest though.
  • you insensitive clod!!

    Wait, was this a poll? I don't remember. Maybe you could direct me to the proper section...
  • The old guy hanging out at AAA. He'll give you the right directions and more detail than you'll ever want to know.
    • The nearest highway? Why shore, sonny, no problem.

      Just git out here on the street and make a left. No, sorry, that's right. No, no, wait, left is right. Now, once you're headin' out that way, be shore to drive slow, cuzza dem potholes the danged gummint never fixes. I swear, those politicians never do a damned thang whut they don't hafta. Spendin' all that money on trips and whatnot, and never a thought atall about the little guy and his shocks.

      Why, I remember, just last month, it was. Or maybe the month
  • Granted you have to be a member, but I've had the best luck with AAA TripTik. It tells you details on construction which can be very helpful especially in CT.
  • Good subject.

    I am looking for software that will let me map several (or more) locations throughout a city, attach a marker to each, and publish it to the web - as a guide.

    Even better would be one that allows a mouse-over or a click on the markers to reveal the address, or take you to another page, etc.

    Anyone know of such a creature? Thanks.
  • I'm sure this type of thing is going to be VERY subjective - but in my last few experiences looking up residential addresses on MapQuest, I was given inaccurate maps. I don't live in the middle of nowhere either. (I'm in St. Louis, Missouri.) The big problem I had was with it incorrectly indicating where on a street an address really was. It puts the little star on the map as the indicator, but when you actually drive there - you realize it's much further down (or not nearly as far down) the road as it
  • My preference is an obscure site in Canada, http://pisces.env.gov.bc.ca/ This site is great for exploring BC. As an avid fly fisher it gets my vote.
    The maps are PDF so it appeals to my computer senibilities. The site does not include navigational info unless you can read coordinates, so it is useless to dummies. All in all it is the best map site on the net.
  • Having recently reviewed about 25 different O-R mapping tools, including top finishers Apache OJB, Oracle TopLink and Hibernate, I feel comfortable saying that this [hibernate.org] is the best online mapping site. What's that? Geography you say? Oh, oops, sorry, O-R on the brain. Carry on.
  • I've bought every version of Delorme's Street Atlas [delorme.com] since version 4. The interface has always worked extremely well for me and the directions are top-notch. Plus, it integrates directly with my Garmin GPS. The only downside is that it doesn't run well under WINE, so I have to boot to Windows to use it. :-(
  • I used MapBlast all the time. Then it was bought by Microsoft and was replaced by MSN which is really crappy - low resolution and few street names.

    I wonder if there is any way to force Microsoft to sell the original MapBlast system, rather than simply suppressing it.

    Aren't anti-competitive takeovers wonderful?
  • I found that MapQuest and Yahoo do a pritty good job. The MSN one (Which mapblast seem to have merged into.) Really stinks at least for the Albany, NY area, where they give a lot of really bad directions and get their compass points messed up and don't seem to know how interstate work. When they tell me to take i90 south I was really turned off. Even though that point of i90 goes south all the sign call it i90 East because the road will go more east. Then they told me to take the wrong exits off it and go
  • I print off directions from both sites. Sometimes the pages get mixed up, but then I just end up back home, or somewhere else.
  • I've been using MapQuest most of my life,

    I sure hope he means his Driving life, otherwise he's is no more than 10 years old. And if he is driving at 10, I understand why he uses MapQuest, he can't see over the dashboard!

    Automap services are great if you are going somewhere new, but if you are going to take a route frequently, nothing beats driving it a few times then getting out an old-fashion paper map and seeing if you can shave a few minutes of your trip going down side roads, etc.

    Traffic is still

  • by sgifford (9982) <sgifford@suspectclass.com> on Monday October 20, 2003 @08:25PM (#7265744) Homepage Journal

    MapQuest has some security issues, and I wouldn't recommend using it without cookies turned off or blocked.

    There's a cross-site scripting attack which allows people to steal cookies for the site, which will include personal information such as the last three searches you did.

    See this advisory [securiteam.com] for more info.

  • I typically cruise around the SOuth Shore of MA, so I sue this thing called, a map book. It takes me like three seconds to find where a street is and the biggest problem is driving there. Unless I'm going somewhere totally crazy I avoid map programs because for me it removes some of a the magic, and I do enjoy the magic.
  • I've found that Yahoo Maps works for best for me, at least for directions around Toronto. MapQuest was too often completely wrong, or unable to find one of the addresses.

    When I got to the UK, I use multimap.co.uk myself. It seems to work pretty well with just a postcode.
  • by tbuskey (135499)
    A whole county at a time is great for finding the backroads. I can zoom in and trace across towns, etc. It fits in my palm and doesn't cost much either. There are also free version with less detail.
  • from Bloomington, IN to Madison, WI.

    Well, I just happen to be an expert on that. First, take 37 to the loop around Indy. Go north to 65. Continue on 65 until 94, and go west. From 94, take 294 West/North. Then, 290 West/North. Then 90 West/North. This will take you to Madison.

    Bring a bunch of quarters, dimes, and nickels to pay for toll. It's just a few bucks.

  • Yahoo! Maps suck. They remain completely (and perhaps blissfully) unaware of the existance of the Hutchinson River Parkway, a relatively important North-South highway for those in the Bronx/Westchester/Long Island area. For those not in the know, the Hutch (as it's called) leads to the Whitestone Bridge, one of the 3 major crossings from the Bronx to Long Island. This lack causes all manner of directions to indicate the Throggs Neck Bridge or the Triboro Bridge, both of which end up 10-20 miles away (and it
  • At least for California is to download the DRGs, DEMs, DOQQs, road data, hydrography data, landmarks, and anything else that you might find interesting from here CASIL [ca.gov]. Also download a GIS viewer, such as Global Mapper [globalmapper.com] runs great under Wine BTW. Get a nice serial interface GPS receiver. Plug them all into your Sony VAIO R505 running Gentoo and go flyfishing where no man has been before ;)

    My family and I did this over labor day and the amount of detail I was able to extract from the maps was amazing. I
  • Really sucks when you follow the directions to the letter and end up going several miles in the wrong direction at 10:30 PM, ultimately missing a party you just drove 5 hours to get to.

    I keep going back to figuring out my own route once I know where the destination is. I'll use Yahoo or MapQuest to give me an idea of roughly how to get there, but I always take an atlas or local roadmap and my GPS with me.

  • Aereal photos (Score:5, Informative)

    by YetAnotherName (168064) on Monday October 20, 2003 @08:58PM (#7265967) Homepage
    MapQuest [mapquest.com] has the aereal photos feature. 'nuff said.
  • I once printed out some maps for a trip I was taking to Seattle using yahoo ... the maps seemed easier to read than mapquest maps, so why the hell not.

    So I get there and start driving to my destination, only to discover that the directions on the map had me driving the wrong direction down one way streets.

    I also noticed that the maps did not indicate which street were one way vs bi-directional.

    I ended up buying some maps from a gas station ...
  • Really, they do. Or at least they all used to 3 years ago. I remember when I first moved to Pittsburg, KS and I needed to drive to Wichita, KS on business. I knew a couple different ways of getting there but I didn't know the best way. I checked out MapQuest and Yahoo. The co-worker that was riding along checked a couple others. One of the ones he checked was, IIRC, run by Microsoft in some manner. Anyhow, *all* of the generated maps at that time said the best way to go from Pittsburg to Wichita was
  • by SashaM (520334)

    Available from MapMinder [mapminder.co.uk], is a mapping service developed by Telmap [telmap.com]. The map itself is beautiful (especially compared to MapQuest and Yahoo! Maps).The client is in Java, and works on all platforms with a Java Virtual Machine, but the website itself is sometimes broken on various browsers - if you decide to test it, I suggest going straight for the map [mapminder.co.uk] after registering (they have a 30 day free account). The map on this particular website is only for the UK, but the underlying technology is (obviously) not li

  • I just moved to a new area and the "Nearby Businesses" from Yahoo! has come in very handy. I don't really pay much attention to the driving directions for inside the city, but letting me search by name or category is quite helpful. As far as I can tell MapQuest has no equivalent.
  • When I drove from NYC to Myrtle Beach this past summer, Yahoo said 12 hours, and MQ said 10, so I used Mapquest's directions. Well, the "major highway" that I was on for 6 hours (707) added 5 hours to my drive. I was on a side road w/ traffic lights for 300 miles
  • by babbage (61057) <cdeversNO@SPAMcis.usouthal.edu> on Monday October 20, 2003 @09:48PM (#7266273) Homepage Journal

    When searching for an address, I've taken to just searching Google for it. The search is recognized as an address, and the top two links are for Yahoo & MapQuest; each gets opened in a new browser tab for comparison. Sometimes I prefer one, sometimes I prefer the other, but being able to have them side by side so easily gets the job done nicely.

    Random recent observations, based on things I happened to be searching for earlier today:

    • Given an address in Dorchester MA, Yahoo couldn't find it and gave me a generic map of the city; MapQuest got it just right, and had a properly zoomed in map of the street I was looking for.
    • Given an address in Somerville MA, both sites were able to find the address, and gave a map with substantially the same magnification. However, Mapquest was the only one that indicated one way streets, which is kind of critical info when figuring out how what route you'll have to take.
    • Given an address in Paris FRA, Mapquest gives up, but Yahoo will automagically redirect to yahoo.fr and the map you were looking for. It's a different site, different layout, all in French, etc -- but the info you're looking for is available from Yahoo, and it wasn't from Mapquest. (On the other hand, Google was also a letdown here -- it's search term parser doesn't seem to be able to do anything useful with a foreign address. Maybe this example would work on google.fr...)
    • Subjectively, I kind of prefer the web design on the Yahoo map site. But then, they used to drown me in popups. But then I stopped using browsers where that's an issue, so it doesn't matter again. MapQuest isn't so bad if you click the "Big Map" button over on the right side of a given map, but the setting doesn't seem to be sticky across searches, and it really ought to be a user preference controlled by a cookie.

    For searching for domestic addresses, neither Yahoo Maps nor MapQuest has completely won me over. Searching both is easy enough that, barring a site redesign on the Mapquest side or a software upgrade on the Yahoo side, I for one will probably keep using both.

    Does anyone know of any good alternatives to the "big two"? Or how about for international addresses -- is Yahoo good enough for addresses in e.g. Canada or Europe, or are there better local alternatives? I've seen streetmap.co.uk cited a lot by Londoners, but I don't know what people tend to use elsewhere, or if streetmap.co.uk has any major competition.

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