Online Mapping Sites

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Online mapping has become an essential tool for most people today.  From providing virtual geography to driving directions, most people use some form of web mapping on a daily basis.

Technology Behind Web Mapping

How Taxi Drivers Are Helping to Create More Efficient Driving Directions

November 10, 2010: Microsoft is using the collective wisdom of taxi drivers to improve its online map directions.  The study used GPS data that tracked over 33,000 cab drivers in Beijing over a three month period to learn the subtleties of navigating through a major city to get around driving headaches such as congested roadways and traffic signals.  “These factors are very subtle and difficult to incorporate into existing routing engines,” says Yu Zheng, a researcher at Microsoft Research Asia. The approach is called T-Drive , and is the collaborative effort of Yu Zheng, Jing Yuan, and Xing Xie.  The authors are presenting their methodology at this week’s International Conference on Advances in Geographic Information Systems, in San Jose, California.

The system was tested against traditional online map directions which provide time estimates based on the posted speed limits and some limited traffic information.  The study field-tested the T-Drive directions against online mapping providers.  The study found that 60% of the routes suggested by T-Drive were faster than routes based on posted speed limits.  The study found that for each 30 minutes of driving, T-Drive saved the driver 5 minutes compared to traditional online mapping directions.

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Online Mapping and Driving Direction Web Sites

Driving directions and trip planning sites available on the Web. Find out how long it will take you to get to your destination, plan multiple stops and check traffic conditions.

EarthaMaps is run by DeLorme and features address matching as well as driving directions within the United States.

Google Maps
One of the more popular driving directions web sites, Google maps was one of the first to offer satellite and aerial imagery as a backdrop.  Along with trip planning, you can now check traffic and drag and drop multiple stops and routes.

MapQuest offers driving directions as well as the ability to browse interactive maps for cities around the world. Started back in 1967 as the Cartographic Services division of R.R. Donnelley & Sons in Chicago, MapQuest humble beginnings originated from creating road maps for gas stations to hand out. Found out more about MapQuests evolution into an online mapping application with over 40 million users each month.

Maps on Us
Maps on Us offers driving directions with yellow pages information for route planning within the United States.

Microsoft’s Bing Maps
Microsoft’s Bing Maps allows for driving directions either based on shortest route or shortest distance. Also handy is the ability to toggle back and forth between calculating distance in miles or kilometers. Microsoft has teamed up with Pictometry to offer oblique aerial views so once you map a destination you can toggle back and forth between the “map view” and “bird’s eye view”.

Provided by Michelin, create driving directions, get maps and find rest stop information for locations in Europe.

Yahoo! Maps
Yahoo! Maps offer address matching and trip planning within North America.

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