Microsoft wins a round in the online mapping war

When Google came out with their mapping service it was the best thing out there, at least the best thing out there free and not requiring installation on your computer. Now they have google earth which is also pretty cool, but dog slow on my old computer. It's neat but hasn't been all that useful to me yet, mainly due to the old PIII-550. And while maps.google draws strange cartoonish maps that are very good in cities, it's worthless for small towns and country roads, even in Missouri where the country has a lot of roads. The roads don't get labels until you're zoomed in so far that only one is on the screen.

Well microsoft has jumped in with both feet with the curiously-named local.live.com. Unlike google, it actually shows the names of the roads at useful times. The maps of the boonies are better and it has aerial views, click-and-drag panning, and google.earth-like zoom-in when you double-click. It works ok for me with firefox on windows 2k, winxp, and linux, although like windows, it makes my computer slower when it's up. I have no idea if it runs on a mac.

Example: where do you think this is? (You have to click these images to see them full-size.)



Worthless... Maybe this will make it more clear.



And what the hell is up with this All Roads Named 3 business? I've seen this all over. Many MO highways get erroneously numbered 3. Maybe that's why they hide the labels...

Google Maps still has some things going for it, but I guess they're going to have to step it up in the accuracy and usability departments. I still use both, and I'm hoping one of them will decide to show us rivers someday...

As always, your mileage may vary.

2 comments:

David S. Brown said...

It runs ok on my dog slow g3 ibook with firefox. One thing I do like about googles is the sat view, however, microsofts does indeed have better road naming. Here is a permalink to where we will be racing Bonk Hard Chill this weekend!

Lake of the Ozarks State Park

terbo said...

Cool. I half-tried to get another idiot to do that race with me but in the shape I'm in it's probably best I failed. Best of luck to your team.

They have the "aerial" view. It's up by the zoom slider.

Lake of the Ozarks State Park Aerial View