Mapquest.com used to be synonymous with online maps. They offered online maps when few others did and did a good job. Unfortunately, Mapquest hasn’t changed much since the late 90′s except get more and more advertisements hovering around their slow and out-dated system. Their innovation and improvements seemed to stop around the same time AOL bought them.
For faster, easier, and better online mapping, I like two products; Google Maps and Microsoft’s Live Search Maps.
First and foremost is Google Maps. Like all of Google’s services, they designed their Maps product for speed and accuracy. The system is extremely intuitive and easy on the eyes and lightning fast. Customizing a map and searching for nearby businesses with Google Maps takes very little effort. You can also get online traffic for some cities, sattelite maps, and special hybrid maps that combine street maps with satellite maps. In addition to their awesome desktop product, many of today’s cell phones (and all smart phones like Blackberry, iPhone and Treo) can access the power of Google Maps on the road from anywhere you have a cell signal. If you haven’t tried Google Maps, I highly suggest you start.
I don’t use it as often, but Microsoft has a product called Live Search Maps. While not as fast as Google’s map system, the maps are clear, uncluttered and also highly customizable. One downside is that some of their features are crippled in any other browser except Internet Explorer. However, I would use Live Search Maps before using Mapquest if Google Maps weren’t accessible.
Give these two online mapping giants a try, and I think you will quickly forget all about Mapquest and wonder why you didn’t leave them sooner!