There are a lot of mapping sites out there. Mapquest was probably the king, but I think it’s safe to assume Google has taken over the mantel. Is that a good thing? I thought so, since I, like many others, am living in the Google-verse these days. And, consolidating my mapping needs into that simplifies my life a little bit more.
Now, I am not so sure, though.
It began last year when I printed out directions to Shenandoah National Park on the eve of a hiking and camping trip my son and I were taking. In fairness there was only one error and, although it was glaring, that isn’t enough to convict them on. Thankfully, it was also painfully obvious. We were coming up on a double interstate exit – you know, those ones that are distinguished by “A” and “B”? The highway exit sign said to follow “B” for Shenandoah, but the printout from Google said “A”. Against my better judgment, and like a good Google lemming, I took “A”.
It was wrong, of course. Thankfully, I knew right away since there was another turn listed within a quarter of a mile and it wasn’t there. I was able to turn around and follow the road signs with no problem.
Soon after that incident Verizon was forced, by a court, to open their phone GPS to third-parties. No longer could they require the use of VZ Navigator for $9.99 per month. I was now able to use Google Maps! And I installed it right away.
Now, Google Maps has a lot of to offer. Not only directions and GPS, but all sorts of “layers” can be added that can show traffic, gas stations, restaurants, rest areas, and all sorts of stuff.
But, last week I took my wife and kids to Hershey Park and bad Google Maps memories came back to me. We were close to Hershey – an easy two hour drive from my home, but getting to the park itself was not something I had down in my head. No problem. I pulled out my phone, punched in my starting location as “current location”, put in Hershey Park as my destination, and a map and directions instantly materialized on my screen. I was in business.
And…it got us there. We took a nice tour of the town of Hershey along the way, though! Including, early on, passing by a street that we (much) later ended our trip on.
The good news is that Bing also has mapping software for my phone that works with it’s GPS. I have heard good things about the Bing app as well. We are taking another trip in a couple of weeks and I will be trying it out. I figure it can’t do worse.