Finding your way around the real world
I love maps. When I am traveling (and not driving) I like to compare what I see, with the maps that are provided. Lately, I have been using Yahoo’s maps and Mapquest to find the way around for my partner, who has gotten a job as a driver. She is forever calling me from the job, asking for directions, and I’ve learned that it is easier just to go to Mapquest or Yahoo maps, then try to picture all the turns in my head.
So, I was intrigued when I read about Google Maps. Instead of the usual maps that are show, Google shows a whole page of a map, with a 3D stickpin. So, I tried it out, witness below.
Very cool, but if I followed this map I would drive about two or three blocks past the address. This map puts me on the other side of Bay, and down into the "Circles", while the actual school, whose address this is, backs up to Neary Lagoon, and is on the other side of the railroad tracks. There are people that joke that you shouldn’t follow Mapquest directions too closely, because you won’t get where you need to go, so I guess Google, at least in beta, if falling to the same problem. I know when maps are created that people have to put in slight imperfections, mythical streets, and such, so that they can catch other people copying them. But, why would you put in wrong directions?
I tried looking up my own address, which I won’t show a screen shot of. Not necessarily because I don’t want you to know where I live, but because Google put up a blank screen, with no streets, and then told me it couldn’t give me directions from my house at all.
Other than not getting you to the right place, the maps that are created is quite cool, and all the major streets are marked off in yellow, so you don’t have to guess. And I suppose I shouldn’t complain to much, because Yahoo maps got this address just as wrong as did Mapquest. This is probably because they are all getting their information from the same place, Navteq and Tele Atlas (according to an AP story.)
The other cool thing, is you can look up local businesses with this service, a bit like Yahoo Local does. I typed in Thai Food in Santa Cruz, and it came up with quite a number of restaurants (only four of which were actually in Santa Cruz area, but hey, this is beta, right?)