Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Online Mapping Services

Today I cover mapping web sites. Most of these offer driving directions as well, although I think MapQuest's directions are the best, followed closely by Google and Yahoo! directions. The sites below, however, offer a close-up look of our streets and our world.

Google Local
Google Maps is the standard by which I judge all other mapping programs. Google was the first to seriously intergrate satelite imagery, and their overlay (hybrid) option came quickly on the heels of their Google Earth product. You should try out the Hybrid View of Google Local. Google Maps has detailed coverage of the U.S., the U.K. and Japan. Image coverage is available of the entire world; I can only hope Taiwan is next. If you like satellite imagery, also check out Google Earth, a Windows-only download I wrote about in previous posts. (Click)

Yahoo! Maps beta
Yahoo! Maps beta is a Flash application that is pretty slick. It supports mouse wheels for zooming (similar to Google Earth). What is very cool about Yahoo! Maps beta, though, are the Live Traffic overlay and the customizable look (check this link out). (Click)

Microsoft Virtual Earth BETA
Got Internet Explorer (and sticking with it)? Love Microsoft? Try Microsoft Virtual Earth BETA. The aerial photos are comparitively old when displayed next to Google Local, but there are some nice features, such as mouse wheel support and better International labeling of cities and borders. (Click)

Flash Earth
For the those who like satelite imagery of Earth, Flash Earth combines Google Maps and Microsoft Virtual Earth imagery in a Flash application that greatly resembles Google Earth. This is quick alternative to Google Earth, and is not Windows-only. (Click)

A9 Maps beta
Amazon's A9 Maps beta has the interesting feature of street-level images of entire blocks of city streets, called BlockView. A9 trucks with GPS equipment and digital cameras drove around and took pictures of public streets, resulting in an intersting look of the local not afforded by digital maps or satelite imagery. BlockView coverage is limited (for now?) but very interesting. (Click)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lee - I have created a side-by-side demo of Google Maps and Yahoo Maps -