Different Maps
August 22, 2011 5:50 PM   Subscribe

What are some good alternatives to google maps?
posted by coffeefilter to Computers & Internet (14 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Pretty much the only one is Bing's equivalent.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:53 PM on August 22, 2011

The new MapQuest isn't too bad.
posted by blue_beetle at 5:58 PM on August 22, 2011

OpenStreetMap is open, so you can fix it if it's wrong.
posted by scruss at 6:02 PM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Another alternative is Yahoo Maps. Google Maps street view cannot be beat though and is a very useful tool for my work. It provides information that used to be found only by taking a car and going out in the field.
posted by JJ86 at 6:12 PM on August 22, 2011

Maybe worth mentioning that Google Earth (free download for your desktop) is like Maps on steroids. Not only do you get routing and zooming and 3D buildings woo-hoo, and street view, but you can drive around at ground level in street view and it kind of simulates 3D buildings out of the street view photos even if there aren't any actual 3D models available.

I waste too much time on it, but it is excellent research for walkability/drivability scenarios in my town.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:02 PM on August 22, 2011

Nokia Maps. Nokia bought Navteq for $8B years ago and is working hard to become a contender in this field.
posted by gertzedek at 7:15 PM on August 22, 2011

For mapping in China, Baidu maps
posted by jef at 7:22 PM on August 22, 2011

I guess I was wrong about Bing being the only one. Sorry.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:49 PM on August 22, 2011

There are also smaller map services (e.g. the local versions of eniro have maps of Finland, Sweden, and Denmark; map.search.ch has Switzerland; streetmaps.co.za has South Africa; planos.amarillas.cl points to Chile; there are local streetdirectory sites with maps for Malaysia, Singapore, & Indonesia; etc.) There doesn't seem to be a good list of these anywhere, but there are at least two dozen or so local services like these that cover various countries or regions. I know of more services for European countries than anywhere else, though there may well be other sites I do not know of in Africa, South America, and Asia. Not sure whether services like these quite count as "alternatives to Google Maps" for your purposes - they're often good but clearly limited.

Wikimapia is based on Google Maps, but anyone can add features. In some areas (especially India in my experience), this can result in some very useful details that Google Maps itself lacks... though those details are surrounded by people tagging their own houses and other useless information.

Many of the big name map services actually share data. For example, Bing and Yahoo Maps both serve Navteq data, and Navteq was bought by Nokia. Similarly, Mapquest indicates that at least some of its data still comes from Navteq, along with some from OpenStreetMap. So between Bing, Yahoo, Navteq, Mapquest, OpenStreetMap and Ovi/Nokia, your basic map information is coming primarily from only two major, distinct sources (Nokia/Navteq and OpenStreetMap) though there may be additional partners for some parts of the world/some types of features.
posted by ubersturm at 10:24 PM on August 22, 2011

In the UK, the one I use is Streetmap.co.uk which has the advantage of showing the OS Explorer information - that is, all the historical sites and walking and cycling paths and public rights of way!

For Europe driving maps, I find ViaMichelin can't be beat.
posted by vacapinta at 2:06 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

This isn't good for general navigation, but if you want to make a map, ArcGIS explorer uses basemaps from several sources.
posted by desjardins at 9:32 AM on August 23, 2011

Not to be snarky, but it would help me and other users if you tell us what functions of google maps you're looking for and where you are located.

- Looking to create your own map or do a google-maps like mashup ? This answer depends on what you're looking for.
Openstreetmap, which has been noted (I am a contributer to it) is an open-sourced, free to use, and the data (points of interest, names of roads, etc) can be updated by users.

If you're looking for a map of something specific, like the parks in your province (I presume you're in canada based on your past questions), check the websites of your local government(s), like the natural resources dept for my example; although you could also check Openstreetmap as well.

are you looking for an equivalent google street view ? I don't think one exists.

- Looking for driving directions ? Mapquest, bing, yahoo.
posted by fizzix at 12:47 PM on August 23, 2011

Flash Earth can do some of the same kinds of things as google maps and provide layers from some of other online map systems (bing, yahoo), but it mostly does satellite images as the background. Don't expect it to give you driving directions or anything like that though.
posted by pappy at 5:50 PM on August 23, 2011

Ooh, very nice - I like all of them! I hadn't heard of a lot of those. Thanks everyone.
posted by coffeefilter at 4:38 AM on August 24, 2011

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