3 online mapping services compared

I decided to do a comparison of the three major online mapping services – Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps and Microsoft’s Local Live.

I couldn’t get Live.com to work in Camino so I used IE7 for it – the other two worked fine in Camino. Minus 10 points for Microsoft!

The satellite/aerial photography on all sites of our locale was pretty poor – the first one below is Microsoft’s view of our area. This was as much as I could zoom in and as you can see, it is very poor resolution.

Microsoft map of our locale

Yahoo!’s image of our area
is marginally better (but only very marginally). There is still very little detail visible and the image is terribly grainy.
Yahoo Map of our locale

Google’s image of our area was best of the three but it too is quite poor (our house is on the right hand side of the image – the left hand side is much higher resolution).
Google map of our locale

Curiously, when looking at the maps (as opposed to the satellite imagery) the Google Maps were by far the worst! Both Yahoo! and Microsoft use maps which are very high resolution and up-to-date (our street was built in 2004 and is on both maps) whereas Google has no street information for around here.

Maybe that’s just in this area – or have others noticed similar?

12 thoughts on “3 online mapping services compared”

  1. Was recently looking for maps to a church very much in the middle of nowhere in south Tipperary. Google was by far the worst and only had the main national roads. There wasn’t much to separate Microsoft and Yahoo but I went with Yahoo in the end as I thought the maps looked marginally better.

  2. I know that the major problem with Google maps is that they use Navteq who are less than brilliant on the recency of their offering.

    I dunno Richard, my GPS unit (Garmin 660) uses Navteq maps which are as up-to-date as the Microsoft and Yahoo! offerings. Perhaps Google needs to update the ones they are licencing from Navteq.

  3. You forgot maps.ask.com, but in your case Tom, I wouldn’t blame you. In some rare cases their satellite imagery is the best.

    Live.com -> take a look at San Francisco: maps – the most beautiful of them all, satellite – very good, traffic information – excellent, ‘But’ API – non existent, rest of the world – rubbish. On the plus side if they would make a serious effort to improve and build an open API which does not need dotnet etc. it would be amazing.

    Google satellite imagery is bad in Ireland, In Germany and Holland it is very good, In Paris it is amazing. Maybe the Irish tourist board could help Google. That is what happened in Holland anyway.

    Yahoo is a real pity. On Flickr their maps are a bit of a let down.

    Also in Ireland Google would do well to roll out maps.google.ie just like they rolled out maps.google.nl in Holland (which is really great).

  4. For my location (Greystones, Co. Wicklow), Yahoo was by far the best with highest resolution, most high-res cover (extending as far south as Newcastle village), and most recent images.

    Google came second with lower-res images than Yahoo, that only covered part of the town and are a few years old at best (in a town whose built-up area has grown hugely in recent years)

    Microsoft was by far the worst, with no high-res images for the area (they don’t even have high-res for Dublin city centre)

  5. I have to agree with everything Neil said above Yahoo seems to be the best I have seen for my area which is only slightly north of himself here to be exact in Bray Co. Wicklow although google has improved since I last checked a year or so ago.

  6. does anyone know how to resolve the issue w/ google maps that causes the computer to shut down and then restart once you get to a certain resolution of the map ? googles online help service is useless.

  7. I dont think resolution really matters that much its the usibility and accuracy, when will google be rolling out accurate maps for Ireland? that work like uk maps or US maps with addresses etc…
    anyone know?

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