Friday, April 15, 2005
I have always been a huge fan of MapBlast and MapQuest with MapBlast being my preference because of its wonderful LineDirections! Who needs to see all those unnecessary small roads and who wants to waste ink printing color-shaded route maps that aren't going to add to the journey? I used to have the opinion that MapQuest was better in the City and MapBlast better in the rural areas. Now-a-days I don't think one matters over the other although I still occasionally can find an address on one but not the other. I even continued to like MapBlast when Microsoft bought them and tried to get me to type http://maps.msn.com.
I recently installed Microsoft's MapPoint (for developers) from my MS Partner kit and was so completely impressed that I figured I would never use an online mapping program again. MapPoint even updates its data to show me current construction information which allows for better trip time prediction.
Google Maps is one of the latest on the online mapping scene and I must say I'm thoroughly impressed. Google Maps is stealing my attention away from MapBlast and Mappoint. Jon Udell writes in "Annotating the planet with Google Maps" that Google Maps was receiving a negative response to his article "Google Maps pushes the envelope" as the directions were off and its coverage wasn't as comprehensive as MapBlast or Multimap. Jon puts all these concerns aside as he describes some of the potential that is soon to be realized from Google Maps. He focuses on describing how Google Map data can be downloaded into a GPS receiver and used to give walking tours of our choice!
Other online mapping tools include:
- Yahoo Maps
- US Census Bureau
- American Fact Finder - yes, there is a map link in the data
- Australian Government - Geoscience Australia
Geoscience Australia now provides these free maps of Australia for you to download and use in reports, projects, and as a reference source.
- Knoxville Geographic Information System -- A personal favorite! I can use the map to find out the history of who owned my house and its sales prices!