Need a map service?
A map is a universal representation of an area depicting elements such as objects, themes and regions. Many maps are two-dimensional and geometrically accurate or three-dimensional, dynamic and even interactive. Most are used to depict geography, but some can represent any space, real or imaginary, without regard to context or scale. The earliest form was for astrology with maps depicting the stars and the planets, but even geographical maps can also date back to ancient cultures when the earliest form of cartography or map making was first introduced. Roadmaps are most commonly used today and other forms include nautical charts, railroad networks, underground lines, hiking and bicycle maps. Street maps are composed from local surveys and convey important information to local authorities such as military services, utilities, assessors, emergency services and other local agencies. Maps convey contour lines indicating elevation, rainfall and temperature and some also have landmarks, churches, post offices, tourist spots and other points of interest marked. Today with the invention of the Internet, there are many services available to download to PCs and also in apps for using with mobile phones. Below is a list of ten of the best map service providers available for anyone who has an interest and finding places of interest.
Bing.com has maps local to your area and also from any place around the globe. You can zoom into a map to see airports, places of interest, shopping centres, museums, stadiums and zoos as well as see streets and motorways. They can be made larger or smaller to suit your needs and requirements and there are over 5,250 maps around the world to view.
Terrafly.com has topography maps and a vast database with images from around the world. There are web tools to use for enhancing imagery and data and photographs can be viewed in aerial or satellite format. There are prints of posters and photo cards and images can be customised and overlaid with a selection for which layers you choose to be visible. The tools are interfaced with real-time data and towns, roads, places, people and the environment can be selected.
Mappoint from Microsoft has the latest updated maps with refreshed geographical data. You can customise your settings to show features such as cities and boundaries with symbols or with labels and there are also push-pin images that can be used. You can share your route to other devices as well as enable voice prompt or text prompt directions. There are useful tools to assist with visualisation and the programme is available on a free trial so you can try before you buy.
The National Geographic supplies many different maps from all over the world. There are interactive maps with graphics illustrating nature, collections of print, photography, political and physical maps as well as explorer’s maps and atlas jigsaw puzzles. There are maps that can be used for planning trips and there are apps that are compatible with iPods, iPhones and Ipads. A section on the site called ‘EarthPulse’ shows vital earth statistics and global trends and ordering of goods can be made online.
Apple has a map app that gives spoken directions and interactive 3D views that easily scale and zoom to suit the size you need. There is a sensor built-in that makes reading easy at night and angles change dynamically to show you where to go as well as re-routing if you take a wrong turn. Real-time traffic updates can be found with alternative routes if there is traffic ahead and cities and landmarks can be seen in 3D from the air in rotation mode. Once you mark a destination you can see useful information about the place concerned and the app is compatible with most devices.
This site has maps which can be chosen from any area in the world. You can zoom in and out to make the size you request to see roads and towns to facilitate the planning of your journey. You can see live traffic reports or select a satellite view as well as share your map with friends. There are links embedded to show train lines and stations, lodgings, shopping, restaurants, activities, airports and other travel services as well as local points of interest.
Google Earth is one of the most widely known and map services on the Internet giving virtual journeys to any place in the world. Images, terrain and 3D buildings can be explored and cities, places and local businesses found. An upgraded version called Google Earth Pro is now available with additional options, measurement tools and high-definition printing. Full details about Google Earth can be found on the site and a blog is available for further information.
Yahoo.com has a map section which allows you to search from your location all over the world. The maps permit you to get directions between two places so you can plan and see your journey with places of interest along the way. Towns and roads are clearly marked and you can select to view them from the satellite facility. There is a traffic indicator warning of potential queues and accidents and the maps can be zoomed in and out to make viewing easier.
Ask.com has maps to help you with your journey. You can input your starting point and your destination and a route will be mapped out for you. There are towns and roads marked with the option to change to bird’s eye view or satellite. Traffic details are given along with other places of interest and all map images can be printed. They can be made smaller or larger and there is the option to email them too.
This works very similar to Google Earth as you can explore satellite and aerial imagery from above. You can click and drag to move around the earth and use your mousse to zoom in and out. The site works in connection with Yahoo! and Bing and rotation can be achieved by clicking on the compass. Latitudes and longitudes are shown and there is the facility to search for locations.