Top 10 Online Mapping Tools

Ever since the first GPS device appeared, advanced mapping tools have been developed on a large scale. If you want to plan your next road trip or simply get some directions around town, you can easily find all the information you need with the tools below.

10. HousingMaps – One of the most successful technology spinoffs on the list, HousingMaps is a virtual mashup of Craigslist and Google Maps. As a tool to locate real estate for sale or rent, there are few better options online. The idea is simple: extract your favourite listings, add the Google Maps API and get a visual map of the properties. Other similar mashups include Chicagocrime.org (Google Maps & Chicago crime statistics) and DoubleTrust.net (search Google and Yahoo! simultaneously).


9. Maporama – This software stands out from other similar websites because of the ability to select map sizes and styles. It includes layers such as parks, commercial and industrial areas and even street numbers. For mapping the distance from A to B, Maporama provides many options, such as: shortest, fastest, by foot or by subway. Maporama is currently a premium location-based service in Europe that is rapidly spreading to North America.


8. WikiMapia – The software is another spinoff of Google Maps that adds to it a wiki system, thus making it possible for users to add notes about any place on earth. You can tag a location and provide data for that spot in one of the 64 supported languages and add a link to a Wikipedia page. WikiMapia now has more than 1.5 million places marked, with new ones being added constantly.


7. Google Street View – A spinoff of Google Maps, Street View has become one of the most popular and intriguing online mapping tools. The software provides 360° panoramic street-level views, making it possible to view certain cities at ground level. It started offering views of urban America and has now reached France, Italy, Australia and Japan. Cameras on automobiles captured views of major cities from the various countries, with some even offering unconventional or funny images from Street View. Rumor has it that Google will hire 300 drivers for Europe and start gathering more images for 3D rendering.


6. Multimap – Recently bought by Microsoft, Multimap offers street level maps for the U.S., U.K. and most of Europe. You can get cash points, train station, Wi-Fi spots and parking for virtually every destination covered by Multimap. For the heavy traveler, it offers a bunch of complementary services through its partners. These include restaurants, train and hotel booking services, SMS weather alerts or the ability to buy prints of historic or aerial photographs. One other interesting features is the overlay with Wikipedia so that you can browse geotagged articles on the map.


5. MapQuest – Generating maps and directions on the fly, MapQuest was an instant success from the first day it was launched, now strengthening its position as a top performer in the industry. Main features include FindIt (finds a business in a certain area), Maps (creates a location map based on an address or longitude/latitude) and Driving Directions (generates the route from A to B). City Guide offers information about shopping, entertainment and even photos of missing children in an area. For travelers, Leisure provides scenic drives, maps of National Parks and the ability to plan your trip with a personal map.


4. Ask Maps – Previously using their own product, Ask.com dropped it for Microsoft’s Virtual Earth which is now used by Ask Maps, Business Search, Smart Answers and Ask City. Ask Maps offers, among others, helpful driving directions with the Auto-Drive feature, which animates your entire route. Ask City features two modes – street and aerial view – as well as the ability to look for local businesses, events or movies all across the U.S.A.

Ask Maps

3. Live Search Maps– The Local search engine from Microsoft has a unique pushpin feature that enables viewer-determined points on a map and makes it easy to share them with others. 3D Cities renders buildings and objects in high resolution with astonishing detail. You can export your data to any personal navigation device and see other maps generated with Google or Platial. Furthermore, you can grab a RSS feed from any location, even at neighborhood level.

Live Search Maps

2. Google Maps – Google’s API may not be the best one of the market, but it’s certainly the most popular, powering applications such as Google Ride finder, Goggles or Petrol Prices. There are several viewing modes (Maps, Satellite, Terrain, Street View and Traffic) and users can also search for landmarks, businesses or attractions for a certain city. The only setback is that many of the satellite images do not correspond with the present-day reality on the ground.

Google Maps

1. Yahoo! Maps – Yahoo! has one of the richest applications when it comes to driving instructions. With a Flash interface that’s easy on the eyes, Local Maps comes equipped with multi-point directions and live traffic information. Additionally, you can enter your phone number and have the directions you need sent directly to your cell phone. Driving directions can be put on paper with their print-friendly interface.

YaHoo! Maps

If we ranked any of these website too low or high in your humble opinion, or forgot to put one on the list, feel free to comment!

22 Comments for "Top 10 Online Mapping Tools"

Joe says on August 5th, 2008 at 6:33 pm:

You missed http://www.rentrent.org

Hannes says on August 5th, 2008 at 7:00 pm:

You are missing the vision for the future. The future will be http://www.openstreetmap.org

Mathieu says on August 6th, 2008 at 4:43 am:

I agree with Hannes, don’t forget openstreetmap. What’s really incredible is when you think that 10 years ago, everyone was still using paper maps and with Internet, it all shifted online so quickly.

bob says on August 6th, 2008 at 6:12 am:

Actually, this is not a bad list of locater tools, but 8, 7, 4, 3, and 2 are photos and not maps,per se. Maps are symbolic depictions. Photography has been the biggest boost to accurate mapping since the invention of scale.
Good work.
I teach Geography, and I appreciate anyone capable of finding something they know nothing about by translating the information left them as a symbolic representation.
This trait is useful in other applications.
Think America and the politics destroying it. Apply your ability to see the big picture scaled to your understanding. Not everybody has this skill. Teach your friends.

Alex says on August 6th, 2008 at 12:32 pm:

I do agree that OpenStreetMap will have a very bright future. If you are looking into running your own mapping service instead of using one of the existing APIs, you should also take a look at http://www.openlayers.org/ which provides a zappy Javascript interface similar to the “big three” of mapping APIs.


jose flavio says on August 6th, 2008 at 1:32 pm:

openstreet.org? you must be kidding. how many times have i heard that opensource would kill windows based applications? freeware is not the place that you would to go to get accurate information.

Mark Evans says on August 6th, 2008 at 5:09 pm:

For a travel-focused online mapping tool, check out PlanetEye.com, which also features geotagged photographs and extensive content.


tom says on August 6th, 2008 at 7:27 pm:

http://www.map24.com is another good one

jim says on August 6th, 2008 at 8:17 pm:

You forgot


Thai Hotel Expert says on August 9th, 2008 at 7:27 pm:

wow thanks…all great toos.. i usually use Google Maps!

mark boardman says on December 11th, 2008 at 1:40 pm:

I would add Viamichelin as they for me provide the best and most accurate maps going. I do not use google as they lack details and have often sent me to the wrong road

Google Cash System says on February 21st, 2009 at 7:22 am:

Hey, this was a great post. Really informative. I bookmarked it, and will definitely be coming back. :D

Vietnam Portal says on April 3rd, 2009 at 8:36 am:

Wow. that’s a very nice article, and very helpful to me. Thanks a lot!

gis kid says on December 8th, 2009 at 5:26 am:

yahoo on the number one spot? u must be kidding me!

Nick Wood says on February 26th, 2010 at 4:11 pm:

Top mapping tool must be ViaMichelin.

A independant poll carried out by the IMA said

1. ViaMichelin
2. Mappy
3. Microsoft
4. Yahoo
5. Map 24
6. Google

Poll was based on brand, quality, customisation, coverage, support, SLA, price, usability, speed, and 17 other criterias.

Jason Issacs says on May 28th, 2010 at 1:55 pm:

Google API solution gets outperformed by Mapping specialist

I am a web developer and had a 2 month project testing both solutions after reading the outcome of the IMFA regarding European business mapping providers.

I noted that the free Google solution took twice as long to develop, had only basic Geocoding and everything else had to be developed from scratch I.e. criteria search, database management. Still Google business customers both paid (up to £7800) a year and free (if the solution will not be re sold (i.e. vehicle tracking) have no access to the UK postcode data from the royal mail as Google are no licensed (hence the often appalling accuracy) with only 4 digit postcode verification.

In a positive, Google is a pretty basic platform and for the most part is free to use and widely available and recognised.

The API platform from ViaMichelin (used a mixture of javascript skills) was offered to me on a free trial for 45 days and took only a few weeks to complete, Geocoding for address verification was included (so ideal for store finder, reserve and collect, etc and gave me access to live human support (to see what else I could do with their api). They provided me a platform with full Europe coverage and geocoded Ireland which Google could not offer for a price cheaper than the Google enterprise and premier.

Bing fell behind when it came to customer support as it was non existent and the former multimap owned company owned by microsoft took just over the 2 months to get back to me.

Like for like, The new ViaMichelin API solution wins, For a basic solution use Google, for business’s looking for real quality use Viamichelin

I still want to see speed bumps and low bridge notification on maps as a option.

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