Online mapping services have come a long way over the last several years, and now there are numerous good options available. MapQuest is probably one of the most well-known services out there, thanks largely in part to the fact that they entered the online mapping world before some of the other major services that we know and use today. Popular services like Google, Yahoo, Windows Live Local, MapQuest, and Ask.com are all great in their own way, but I thought today we’d take a look at five mapping service alternatives that offer something different.
National Geographic Map Machine
This service has the typical road map and satellite view, but it is unique because they offer a physical map view and allow you to create a themed map. There are tons of options to choose from if you’re wanting to create a theme map including weather, natural disasters, population density, trip planning, nature and conversation, and more. The map below shows where earthquakes have been in California.
Visit National Geographic’s Map Machine!
Weather.com’s Map Room
Weather.com isn’t your typical map service. They offer maps that would suit a business traveler, someone seeking a great golf course, or maybe a family on a drive to see fall foliage. Another helpful offering is the “Current Airport Delays” map which will tell you which airports are experiencing delays. For example, at the moment, I can see that LaGuardia International Airport is experiencing about an 85 minute delay. There are all kinds of non-traditional maps here and I recommend checking it out.
Not everybody is really interested in topographic maps, but just in case you are, checkout Topozone. They’ve had topographic maps available on the web since 1999, and they offer a great collection of both digital topo maps as well as aerial photographs. Additionally, they have GPS as well as land maps. The maps here are organized by state if you’re in the United States (and then further broken down by county), or Provinces if you’re in Canada.
Fodor’s is known as one of the leading providers of travel resources like guide books. On their website they offer basic maps for some of the top World travel destinations. For example, I clicked on Maui which pulled up a map of Maui Neighborhoods that I could explore.
Visit Fodor’s Destination Maps
Wunderground.com – Personal Weather Stations Google Map
Wunderground offers all kinds of weather information from locations all over the world. When you visit the site, you’ll enter your location in a sidebar menu on the right. In that same sidebar you’ll notice a map key which explains what the different symbols on the map stand for. For example, the “stick” coming out from each temperature marking shows which direction the wind is blowing . By clicking on a temperature marking, you’ll be able to view more detailed information as well as view a forecast for the area.
Visit Wunderground Personal Weather Stations