Learn the Basics of Digital Mapping Services

Online map services can help you to get from point A to point B with ease- if you know how to effectively use the software. Online maps can help you to find local destinations or can be used to plot out multiple stops on a road trip. Online maps can also help you to get directions to your desired destination based on your own specifications, such as avoiding highways or toll roads. If you are new to using online map services, don’t worry. After using an online mapping service a few times, you will wonder how you ever did without it. Online map services have been designed with the user in mind, making them reliable, safe and intuitive. There are many different types of online map services available to choose from depending on your technology comfort level and preferences. Many online map services have a variety of features and functions available to help you plan out your trip safe and with ease. Using an online mapping service can allow you to feel confident when heading out to a new destination. Keep reading to find out how to make your next trip a success using online mapping services.

How Does it Work? Online Map Services

Online map services are very easy to use and can transform how you travel by car and by foot. Online mapping services generally use graphical and text information to create comprehensive maps, which are often interactive, allowing you to physically zoom in and get a topographic or street-view. MapQuest was one of the first online map services first being created in 1996. Since then, there are many online map services to choose from including Google Maps, Bing Maps, and Yahoo Maps. Online map services will create an interactive map that you can easily plot out your route. You can use online map services in a variety of different ways depending on your personal preferences.

A few of the most common ways that you can use online map services for your next trip include:

  • Print out maps and directions from your computer
  • Export maps to your mobile phone or tablet
  • Download a map application to your mobile phone
  • Use turn-by-turn voice navigation features through your mobile device

A few of the key functions that many online map services provide include:

  • Customize your route based on certain landmarks such as gas stations and restaurants
  • Find the most efficient directions based on your route
  • See what storefronts and landmarks look like from a street view perspective so that you will know what to keep an eye out for
  • Directions and maps not only of the outdoors, but the interior of malls, airports and other facilities
  • Zoom in on certain areas and change your view
  • Find the route that avoids traffic
  • Save maps and directions from past trips
  • Share your maps with friends and family
  • Collaborate on maps with others
  • Traffic information including accidents and congestion
  • Weather information and road conditions

There are many popular online map services that you can choose from depending on your preferences. A few of the most popular online map services available today include Bing Maps, Google Maps, Here, MapQuest and Waze.

Questions and Answers

Now that you have a bit of information about online map services, you most likely still have some questions. Here are some of the most common questions and answers that people have regarding online map services.

Q: Are online map services free?

A: Most online map services are free to use including Bing Maps, Google Maps, MapQuest and Yahoo Maps.

Q: Are online map services reliable?

A: Most online map services are reliable and accurate when they give directions, but it is important that you are aware of any weather conditions, construction and other possible issues that may affect your route and travel time. You should always leave a bit early in case there are any issues with your route.

Q: Do I need a smartphone to use online map services?

A: You do not need a smartphone to use an online map service. You can easily use your computer to get directions and maps and print them out to bring with you. If you have a smartphone, many online map services allow you to export the map, so it will work offline when you do not have an internet connection available.

Q: Can an online map show current traffic accidents? 

A: Some online maps are able to show what appears to be traffic accidents. For example, Google Maps will aggregate the information given to them through GPS phones. When it registers consistent slowdowns in areas there shouldn't be, it can determine accidents. It should be noted that not all of these may be accidents. There could be construction or other slow downs as the cause. 

Q: How do I get an online map to give me directions on my smartphone?

A: Many online map services allow you to get voice navigation on your mobile phone so that you do not have to look at the screen. This allows you to stay focused and keep your eyes on the road. If you would like your online map service to give you voice navigation turn-by-turn directions that you can follow while on your phone you may have to download the map application or launch the online map services from your home screen and enable voice navigation. Many online map services websites will guide you through the process of getting voice navigation on your device.

Q: What online map service should I use?

A: There are many useful online map services out there to choose from. You may want to try out a few to find out which one meets your needs the best. The most popular and trusted online map services include Bing Maps, Google Maps, Here, and MapQuest.

Other Articles