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Map sites: Google vs. Bing vs. Here vs. MapQuest
GoneNomad
Local search by picking a POI by selecting it on a map

Test 1: a local Home Depot:

On Google.com/maps, placing the pointer over a POI on the map highlights it and pops up a flag:


...and it's possible to directly select that POI as a named place and see all the info associated with it:


===============================================================

On Bing.com/maps, this POI shows up but it's a static part of the map. Placing the pointer over it does nothing, and the POI itself cannot be selected. Instead, you can only select that point on the map:

...which is given a generic name, and it's easy to end up with multiple saved "places" for what is actually the same place, and without manually renaming them they will all have the same generic name (in this case "Street"):



===============================================================

On mapquest.com, this Home Depot doesn't even show up:


...even if zoomed in all the way:




===============================================================

On wego.here.com, this Home Depot doesn't even show up:


However, I tried another area, where some other POIs in more common categories DID did show up. In this case Here works very similar to the way Bing maps works: the POI name is a static part of the map, and while the POI's location can be selected, the POI itself cannot, when searching this way:





....
Attached Images
1.-google-maps-find-poi-map-save-.png   1.-bing-maps-find-poi-map-save-.png   1.-here-maps-find-poi-map-save-.png   1.-mapquest-find-poi-map-save-.jpg   2.-google-maps-pick-poi-map-save-.png  

3.-bing-maps-find-poi-map-save-.png   1a.-mapquest-find-poi-map-save-.jpg   1a.-here-maps-find-poi-map-save-.png  
GoneNomad
Google is the only one of these four that allows you to get POI info asfter simply selecting it on a map.

All three others (Bing, MapqQuest & Here) require typing in the name to find the same POI, and another step to select it from a list, like this:

Next step:
Attached Images
b1.-bing-maps-text-search-poi-save-.png   b2.-bing-maps-text-search-poi-save-.png  
GoneNomad
Tests to see if Google's "My Maps" can do some of the POI import functions that S&T has.

Here's a 3-year old article about the different ways to do this
7 Ways To Make A Google Map Using Google Spreadsheet Data

...and here's my recent test:
Spreadsheet data can be imported into My Maps: google.com/maps/d

Would need an internet connection to use it though, and can't built a route with multiple stops directly from it either.
...............

Tried importing a few POI factory .csv POI files. Got error messages on some (apparently minor problems with names having invalid characters or exceeding maximum length allowed by My Maps - evidently 64 characters).

But google My Maps imported the Home Depot POI file without any problem.
Below is the result:



With one click, all POI "balloons" can be highlighted (the white "halo" on the map)
and all the POI names can be turned on or off:



Plenty of Map "balloon" colors are available:


There's a LARGE selection of built-in icon choices available too:



And you can also easily add custom icons, like logos
"You can upload a .jpg, .png, .bmp, or .gif file of any size. My Maps will scale the icon to the right size, which is 32x32 pixels"


...with names turned off:



...and this information "flag" is opened by clicking on the POI:



ref.: images @ http://imgur.com/a/Rz3Rq
Attached Images
4.-google-my-maps-homedepot-poi-csv-many-stock-icon-choices-50-size-.png  
GoneNomad
Here's the drawback to google's "My Maps"
www.google.com/maps/d

How To Plan A Road Trip Route With Google Maps
http://www.outdoorblueprint.com/read/plan-a-road-trip-route-with-google-maps/
LIMITATIONS
While Google My Maps has made some improvements (such as more layers and Drive integration), there are some notable limitations.
  • Limited Driving Directions Points: Only 10 points can be added to each directions layer. For long trips this might mean you need multiple directions layers or even multiple maps (with specific sections).
  • No Turn-by-Turn Navigation: At this point there isn't any support for turning a My Map into turn-by-turn directions while on the road. You can access your maps on Android and iOS, but only for big picture planning purposes.
and...


Mobile Navigation using a saved My Maps map?

https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!topic/maps/D5_q8Hh9nYE
"No, it is not possible to navigate any type of custom directions on Google Maps and My Maps. Google has never explained why they do not implement this feature."
......


Maps created in My Maps can be opened into the "regular" Google Maps that CAN be used to build a route list for navigation, but it appears that it's not possible to add any more than ONE place (POI, etc.) on that "My Maps" to the route list, because here's the only way I can find to do it:

A "My Maps" map can be opened from the "Your Places" menu in google.com/maps (or the GoogleMaps app).

You can choose any place on a "My Map" to be used as the start or end, but after that, you can't get back to the map shown above.


Effectively, "My Maps" maps with multi-point routes can only be used for navigation by choosing the points one at a time.
...which is really dumb, as many people have pointed out in the google forums, here...


It appears that the closest it comes is to show a list step-by-step directions...
Save directions on My Maps
https://support.google.com/mymaps/answer/3502610?hl=en...but we don't want a directions list.
GoneNomad
So it appears that the easiest way to get a route created in MyMaps into the route builder in google.com/maps is to copy the names of each stop into the route builder.


This is another look at the map I imported the Home Depot POI .csv into (they're turned off in this screencap). I created a test route between St. Louis & Miami, with two intermediary stops.
Here's what this map looks like opened into "MyMaps":


Here's what this "MyMap" map looks like opened into the regular "Google Maps":


And finally, this is after I copied the stop names & pasted them - one-by-one into
the Google Maps route builder:



One downside of this approach is that it won't include any custom via points added in MyMaps.
UPDATE: I don't see any way in "MyMaps" to change a route except by adding named waypoints
(I presumed those were stops, but now i think they're just waypoints).
.......

When a "MyMaps" maps is opened into Google Maps, you can still turn layers off & on (in this case the layer with the Home Depot POI icons is ON):

...but the icon on the map (to right of my drawn-ion red arrow) DOES NOT highlight in ANY way,
unlike how that works in "MyMaps:

...selecting a POI causes the flag to pop up.
But the only way to get a POI chosen here into the normal googlemaps route builder is to copy & paste the name, address or coordinates.


Since google hasn't made it as easy as they could to make places & routes built in "MyMaps" transfer more easily to the normal googlemaps, there is one good side effect: Since you have to
copy & paste, the "paste" part can also be into something entirely different... like Bing Maps!

......
GoneNomad

This is another example, with three different POI sets visible.
Home Depot & Five Guys use custom imported logo icons, and the rest areas use on of the built-in icons.

GoneNomad
Just as is the case with the "Upcoming" items (from the calendar), one big drawback of using "MyMaps" for POI maps is this:
"MyMaps" maps cannot be opened into the GoogleMaps app without a data connection
(not surprisingly, saving the area offline makes no difference).
Attached Images
googlemap-app-try-load-mymap-without-data-connection.png  
GoneNomad
Ref: Who wants to help design an all-new trip planner from the ground up? (#150)

A comparison of how four mapping sites and Streets & Trips 2013 handle an intentionally difficult route.

START:

1200 Main St, Imperial, MO 63052

Waypoint 1
Whitehaven Welcome Center
1845 Lone Oak Rd, Paducah, KY 42003
37.051110, -88.653367

END
204 Largo Dr, Nashville, TN 37211

Alternate END
1530 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139


This has been one of my test routes for quite a while.
Most of the map sites now handle the first leg (to Whitehaven Welcome Center) correctly... or almost correctly:
S&T2013 still doesn't quite get this right.

While almost any POI in Paducah, KY would be OK, the Whitehaven Welcome Center was chosen because it is as close as possible to the interstate highway that continues on to the subsequent destinations.
Even S&T now finds the Whitehaven Welcome Center as a named place. But as you can see in the screen caps below, only BING MAPS directs you to the correct exit.

If you were just following their instructions of all the others, you'd miss the exit.
True, in this case, there's another entrance after the first one, but that's not always the case.

WINNER:
bing.com/maps - It found the correct exit.



google.com/maps


wego.here.com


mydrive.tomtom.com


Streets & Trips 2013





..........
GoneNomad
Ref: Who wants to help design an all-new trip planner from the ground up? (#151)

This has been one of my test routes for quite a while. It's a tricky route that's intended to find flawed routing algorithms.

Most of the map sites now handle the first leg (to Whitehaven Welcome Center) correctly... or almost.

On the longer routes (to Nashville or Miami), Here, Bing & TomTom all plot entirely different routes unless other via points are added.
Only
Streets & Trips 2013 and
Google Maps don't do this. S&T's default routing to the Whitehaven Welcome Center isn't optimal,
but it's a reasonable route that trades shorter distance for a higher percentage on the interstate.
Only Google maps plots the correct route by default AND doesn't
change completely just because a more distant destination is added.

Here maps seems to have the worst routing on longer routes
... (not that this is exactly an epic trip length).

The Here default route for
1200 Main St, Imperial, MO 63052 to Whitehaven Welcome Center
(which is directly on the best route to Nashville):



But go much further than that and the route changes completely, and not for the better.

And even worse, it "resisted" attempts to manually correct the route;
adding a via point often resulted in unexpected rerouting away from where the via point was added.

Try the addresses below for yourself, and you'll see what I mean.

1200 Main St, Imperial, MO 63052 to 204 Largo Dr, Nashville, TN 37211

Here default route is 336 miles

(which is about 10% farther than the route that is typically the best one for this trip)



One via point should have been enough... NOPE!



How about another via point? NOPE! Still not there!

What if I move that 2nd point to a different place? NOPE!



It finally took 3 carefully placed via points to nail down the route.

Now it's only 302.8 miles
,
and although the time is shorter too, it's still longer than the real-world time would be.



screen caps: http://imgur.com/a/w8qc8
GoneNomad
Ref: Who wants to help design an all-new trip planner from the ground up? (#152)

The Bing maps default route had the routing mistake as Here:


But it was a LOT easier to fix.

And Bing also has a feature that allows points like this to be added to the list (though not differentiated from actual stops).
GoneNomad
A comparison of the capabilities of Google's "MyMaps" vs. Streets & Trips...

Like S&T:

Google's "MyMaps" can import POI data from spreadsheets in .csv & other file formats.

Google's "MyMaps" can assign one of an assortment of built-in colors and/or icons.

"MyMaps"has many more built-in icons & colors than S&T; both can import images for use as map icons.

Neither Google's "MyMaps" nor S&T adjust the size of POI icons according to zoom level, which results in gigantic icons when zoomed out (see screen caps below).


Not quite like S&T:

An entire set of POI in Google's "MyMaps" can be chosen to highlight the icons or display the names of all POIs in that group;
But "MyMaps" informational flags can only be shown one-by-one (S&T allows all at once).

S&T also allows much more information to be shown on the info flag than "MyMaps"

"MyMaps" can import 32x32 pixel images for icons, SMALLER than S&T2013, which supports 128x128 pixel images. Although 32x32 is large enough most in most cases, sometimes larger icons (though maybe not 128 pixels, but it's nice to have that capability) are useful, so S&T has the advantage here (see screen caps below: S&T "Pilot" icons are 128 pixels wide, and this type of rectangular logo is where having more than 32 pixels helps).

Places in Google's "MyMaps" be chosen in GoogleMaps as start or destination for navigation, but not for both start AND destination, nor for intermediate stops. S&T allows complete multi-stop routes to be built from imported places.


Not like S&T:

Google's "MyMaps" requires an internet connection to create new maps, make changes, or even to view existing maps. S&T does not.

Routes that appear to be for navigation can be built in Google's "MyMaps" but they cannot actually be directly used for navigation in the GoogleMaps/Nav app. The closest "MyMaps" comes to making its routes useful for navigation is to display a list of driving directions.


...to be continued...
Attached Images
11a.-google-my-maps-home-depot-logo-icons-while-zoomed-out-7z.png   11b.-google-my-maps-home-depot-logo-icons-while-zoomed-10z.png   11a.-s-t2013-pilot-logo-icons-while-zoomed-out.png   11b.-s-t2013-pilot-logo-icons-while-zoomed-little-more.png  
GoneNomad
Two more examples of why WeGoHere's slogan should be
"Run Away From Here!"

Even with the start WAY to the south, Here is still backtracking to the North, and making users who follow "Here's" guidance travel a lot further:



Have to move the start amazingly far to the south to force Here to come up with what starts out as the correct route (I-55 south), but not only does it miss the "shortcut" at Cape Giradeau (which is a forgiveable mistake) then look what happens after that!
GoneNomad
The specific places used for this test:

START: Home Depot, 1131 W Gannon Dr, Festus, MO 63052
END: Walmart Supercenter, 3458 Dickerson Pike, Nashville, TN 37207
_________________________________________________________

"Here" has another problem: It can't find most places (even very common ones that need the address for differentiation)
if the place name AND the address are pasted/typed in in the route builder:

...more about Here's actual routing in this test in the next post.

==================

MapQuest accepts the POI name & address in one line, but even if it exactly matches their database,
it still asks you to choose each stop from a list:


Once past that inconvenience, MapQuest does come up with the "correct" route as its default:


And MapQuest 's #2 route is also what I would expect:


==============

Bing and Google don't have any problem accepting a POI name & address in one line
, and (after you hit the "enter" key) both calculate a route automatically:


........
Attached Images
home-depot-festus-walmart-nashville-here-default-cant-find-place-name-address-have-el.png  
GoneNomad
The specific places used for this test:

START: Home Depot, 1131 W Gannon Dr, Festus, MO 63052
END: Walmart Supercenter, 3458 Dickerson Pike, Nashville, TN 37207

"Here" has an even worse problem than Mapquest:
"Here" can't find most places (even very common ones that need the address for differentiation)
if the place name AND the address are pasted/typed in in the route builder:

...and "Here" only gets worse from there (pun intended).
Compared to
Google's default route, the default "Here" route is more than 55 miles further (337.4 miles), and over 40 minutes longer (5:09):


What if,
instead of starting exactly from the Home Depot in Festus, MO, we start from a point just a few miles farther south?
This is the default route "Here" comes up with. We started a few miles closer to Nashville,
but "Here" came up with this even longer (347 miles), slower (5:11) route:



How does that stack up to google's default route? Very poorly!
Here's route is 71 miles further (almost 26% further!) and 49 minutes slower!




......



GoneNomad
Now let's just look at the section of this route that heads down I-24,
passing VERY close by the Whitehaven Welcome Center near Paducah, KY:


In a post above from a few days ago, there is a similar route that STOPS at the Whitehaven Welcome Center.
On that day, "Here" managed to come up with the correct route for this trip:


But today that is the second route, even though it's shorter & faster, and there's road closures on the default route:



What if,
instead of
passing VERY close by the Whitehaven Welcome Center, we STOP right there on I-24?

...Not
actually taking the exit to to the Whitehaven Welcome Center, but STOPPING on I-24, on
EXACTLY the same route as shown above?
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