From the Kenosha News on 6-17-07

Choose the map software that gets to your destination best

      I’ve been using Mapquest for years to find addresses and map routes.  Both Google Maps and Yahoo Maps offer services as well.  The web addresses for the three services are:  www.mapquest.com, maps.google.com, and maps.yahoo.com.  When you first launch Yahoo maps, it will show your default location on a map; you can set this to your home address or another address.  On first launch, Google maps will show you a map of the U.S.  Mapquest shows no map at all on the first launch, so it comes up a bit more quickly.

      I find the Mapquest search screen more intuitive to fill out because it has separate boxes for address, city, state, and zip. (You can leave the address or zip blank if you don’t know them.)  If you want to get directions from one location to another, click the Directions button at the top of the screen, and it will give you two sets of boxes to fill out.  Yahoo gives you a single box to enter the entire address; if you want to get directions, enter the second address in the box below it, and click Go.  Google’s interface more closely mimics its search screen.  If you want to map a specific address, you enter it into the single search box.  If you want directions, you enter the first address followed by the word “to” then the second address; examples are given on the screen for the correct syntax. 

      Once you have mapped a location or route, all three map services give you the option of a satellite (or aerial) view.  Mapquest’s “aerial view” is the same as the “hybrid” view in Google and Yahoo.  It shows the satellite image overlaid with the labeled roads and towns.

      If you’re doing one long trip with several stops, Yahoo’s interface is probably the easiest to use.  After each segment, another destination box is added, and you simply enter your next location.  However, it appears to “lose” the distance information on each leg of the trip.  For example, if I map a route from Kenosha to Sturgeon Bay, it will tell me the distance is 192 miles.  If I add a third location of St. Ignace, MI, it tells me that the total is 484 miles, but I’d need to do the math or do a separate route to figure out that the distance from Sturgeon Bay to St. Ignace is 292 mile.  On Mapquest, to map a trip with multiple stops, enter the first segment, then click the Add a Stop button near the top of the screen.  It will show the distance and estimated driving time of each leg of the trip.

      All three sites also have a feature to show businesses of a specific category on the map.  If you want driving directions for locations in Europe, use www.mappy.com.  For a little humor, go to Google maps, enter “Chicago, IL to Paris, France”, and take a look at step #17 in the directions! 

by Carol Sabbar from the Kenosha News on 6-17-07