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Map sites

 4:28 pm on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

So, we all know MapQuest is painful to use - all that reloading and constant clicking to get a postage stamp size map you barely can read. Yahoo'zer isn't much better.

What's that leave?



 4:31 pm on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

I've been happy with MapBlast. Lots of ads but hey they've got to make money somehow if we're to keep viewing free maps. :)


 4:49 pm on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

DMOZ added regional maps to many of their categories quite some time back. I drew 16 maps of the British Virgin Islands and submitted them to that regional category with no joy.

There are only two maps listed for the BVI. One is pretty good and the other is plain awful.

I thought the additional categories in DMOZ was a stroke of genius on their part and did the maps with the thought that it would provide great additional info for my customers and at the same time, give me an additional DMOZ listing.

Its a shame DMOZ haven't followed through with adding sites to these categories. It could have been much better than MapQuest. Oh well.


 4:52 pm on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

Depends upon what you want it for. I'm working with someone to build our own mapserver for very specific applications. Our information is GIS driven but the images are dynamically generated using either SVG or the GD module of PHP. Very fast and very accurate.


 4:54 pm on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

I would put expedia in the same boat as mapquest and yahoo. The mapping sites need an upgrade.


 4:56 pm on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

I've been using multimap great little tool and like most free :)


 5:07 pm on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

What's that leave?


from CGRER NetSurfing:

from Stanford University:

from the fine folks at The NASA/JPL Imaging Radar Home Page

Color Landform Atlas of the United States

Historical Maps from David Rumsey:

Duke U. Perkins Library Public Docs & Maps - Maps & GIS

Geography and Map Division Homepage, Library of Congress

Map Machine @ nationalgeographic.com

Maps On Us

Oddens' Bookmarks.

The American Experience - Nuclear Blast Mapper

There's Autopilot too:

I hope these have been of some help.



 5:15 pm on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

I hope these have been of some help.



 8:44 pm on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

Obviously pendanticist is a cartographer of sorts or...

Has a second bad habit beyond WebmasterWorld. ;)


 8:55 pm on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

...or, he's pedantically inclined. :)



 9:28 pm on Dec 31, 2002 (gmt 0)

Streetmap.co.uk is good for the UK.


 6:25 am on Jan 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

Topozone is a good source of USGS maps online.

Also, quite a few government agencies provide interactive maps from GIS data with ESRI's ArcIMS; some use MapInfo. Local government data tends to have higher precision and accuracy than state or federal because of the smaller areas covered-- it might be worth searching by county or city if you're interested in a particular area. One problem with IMS is that the interface is typically layed out like a GIS application, which is pretty difficult for most people to understand and use.

In any case, I think it's unlikely you'll find maps online that are very readable-- the best maps are custom-designed for the display size, view, and purpose. National Geographic does a good job customizing maps for screen viewing but they (at least the ones I've seen) aren't automatically generated, and they look good mainly because NG emphasizes background information like shaded relief, limiting detailed overlays like roads and labels. Interactive mapping software attempts to enable customization by size and view, but maps are just too complex and variable to customize using programmed rules and thresholds.

The main reason online maps look clunky, though, is that screen resolution is too coarse to display the detail a map is capable of portraying-- maps viewed on screen just can't match maps in print. IMO, the best you can hope for from an interactive map is a one that is useful for a reference but not necessarily easy or pleasant to read. Not to say Mapblast, Yahoo or MapQuest couldn't do a better display job with some tweeking and larger display space, but the medium itself is severely limited IMO.

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