The younger you are, the easier it is to take technology for granted. Whether you are cynical or, like me, more easily entertained, I find mapping services like G-Maps or Mapquest simply marvelous. The people who have built this technology over the last 10 years are geniuses.
If you never utilized this terrific service, go to maps.google.com now. It doesn't matter where you are going... the shortest most up to date driving instructions and maps are seconds away.
G-Maps has been my choice for a few years now. The technology in the geo-mapping field has advanced amazingly yielding marvelous maps of most of the planet and driving directions to just about any point in the world.
Below are cursory reviews of G-Maps, MapQuest And Rand McNally, reading them should curtail your learning curve when you arrive.
After years with MapQuest I typically use G-Maps these days (although Map Quest still has one very unique feature I will let you know about in a sec). My liking for this Google service developed after finally studying their very easy to comprehend directions.
It is an astounding bit of technology which will present you with both maps anywhere in the world and detailed driving instructions in most countries.
G-maps is very feature rich and their tutorial does a way better job of explaining it than we can. With that in mind, let's deal with the main applications, you will find plenty more when you delve into the website.
All of G-Maps is based on earth satellite imagery. You can quickly locate Physical maps, Political maps, Road maps and Topographic maps anywhere on the planet.
You can see people walking around Red Square in Moscow or read the home plate logo at Coors field in Denver. In most parts of the world, you can also generate point to point driving directions.
Perhaps the most unique feature of mapping is the users ability to alter any route the service shows. If you want to drive a different route all you need to do is drag and drop the route trail to a different position. Many times you want to go to different positions on your route... other sites won't really let you do this, with Google it's a breeze.
Rand McNally has been making road atlases for a very long time. Word has it that Fred Flintstone used their atlas. They still favor the printed map or atlas and sell a lot of them. Next time you stop at a large fuel stop check by the register, it's a safe bet you'll find Rand McNally maps for sale. Now, having said that, they have first-rate e-maps and driving directions. I find them very useful for comparing routes with Google or MapQuest as a double check kind of thing.
Map Quest is the granddad of online mapping having been started in the 1960's by Donnelly Advertising. They were bought in 2000 by AOL.
I could not count how many times this service has provided me accurate road maps. They have outstanding US and European maps but are definitely weaker on the rest of the world. If you use them in the States, they are quite specific and usually reliable. The map accuracy drops off a little in high growth cities, mapping always lags hyper growth .
Map Quest has a "Gas Prices" button right on the top menu bar that will search for the best gas or diesel prices anywhere in the US. This is a real money saver and personally, I check it before every fill up if I can.
Hope this helps you never to get lost again, and safe travels to you always.
I have used both Google and Map Quest on my sites. Here are examples:Using Google API for driving directionsUsing Mapquest API for driving directions