The Web's Most Useful Sites

Chart: Mapping Services Compared

The best online maps give you great directions and imagery, and easy access to business (especially restaurant) reviews.

Click the icon below to view the comparison chart.

Map Site Features Best feature Bottom line
Winner Google Maps -Road, satellite, and hybrid views
-Multisource reviews
-Point-to-point driving directions
A business's location bubble shows a phone number and a link to reviews. Google's speed, integration of reviews from sites like Yelp, and high-quality images make it the best choice, but other contenders are getting close.
Runner-up Ask.com Maps and Directions -Road, satellite, and topographic views
-No reviews
-10-waypoint walking/driving directions
You can drag location markers on the map and have directions updated instantly. Ask.com's exceptional overlay of streets on satellite images and handy walking directions shine; but its lack of business searching and reviews, and its slow performance in rendering maps and computing long-distance directions, make it a second-fiddle choice.
Runner-up Windows Live Local -Road, satellite, and bird's-eye images
-No reviews
-Point-to-point driving directions
You can add pushpins to a map and save them for future reference. Microsoft's offering includes live traffic, stunning birds-eye (close-up) views, a great wide-screen view, one-click orientation change, and extensive sharing and saving functions. But the interface is busy, the business search is weak, and many features--not surprisingly--don't work in the Firefox 2.0 browser.
Runner-up Yahoo Maps Beta -Road, satellite, and hybrid views
-Reviews only from Yahoo Local
-10-plus waypoint driving directions
A thumbnail map allows you to reposition the detailed main map. Yahoo Maps Beta relies on Flash, not JavaScript, which makes the initial load time longer but allows for a pretty interface. Yahoo integrates traffic data well, but its satellite imagery lags behind competitors, and it's not nearly as accurate in finding places by name as Google.
Also-ran MapQuest -Road, satellite, and topographic views
-No reviews
-10-point driving directions
Makes creating directions that avoid toll roads or highways very easy. The original mapping site, MapQuest has finally updated its service to include now-old-hat draggable maps and satellite imagery. But the satellite imagery is of low quality compared with that of other sites, searching by business name is hit-and-miss, and the ads on three sides of the map are distracting.

Subscribe to the Daily Downloads Newsletter

Comments