Comparison of top Free Online Map Sites (part 2)

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This is part 2 of the feature – Comparison of Free Online Map Sites ‘Bing Maps vs Google Maps’ that takes a closer look at Google & Microsoft’s web mapping services.

Bing Maps – maps.bing.ca

Ottawa - Ontario - Google Street View 1

Bing Maps is Microsoft’s web mapping service provided as a part of their Bing suite of search engines and powered by the Bing Maps for Enterprise framework. Originally called Microsoft Virtual Earth, the first version was released in 2005.

In 2010 a fully overhauled design for the default view was launched as well as adding dynamic labels. Bing optimizes the power of the Silverlight engine combined withAJAXto serve the map data into your browser application.

It offers street maps, featuring road view, aerial view, bird’s-eye view, streetside view (with geo-tagged photos from Flickr and Photosynth integration), and 3D view (as an add-on), driving directions, and several different map apps.

The Bird’s Eye imagery feature provides end-users with high-resolution, oblique look angle imagery in four different look-directions providing a different visual context appealing to many spatial tasks. This neat feature allows you to look at an object from one angle and then spin your screen around and see the same object from a different perspective.

Ottawa - Ontario - Bing Birds Eye View 2Ottawa - Ontario - Bing Birds Eye View 1

Bing Maps provides traffic information and ClearFlow traffic data, as well as allowing users to share maps and embed them into their websites. Other features include people, location, and business search functions, and satellite imagery (“Bing Maps,” 2011; Pike, 2010).

Table 1

Top Features of Bing Maps and Google Maps

Bing Maps

Google Maps

Road, Satellite, Bird’s-eye views

Road, Satellite, Terrain views

Streetside view, with Flickr and Photosynth picture overlays

Streetview

3D models ofU.S.cities

Panorama Integration

Driving Directions and Traffic Information

Mobile Map apps

Bird’s Eye imagery

Driving Directions and Traffic Information

 

Washington Bing Street View 1Washington Google Street View 1

 

Major Differences/Pros and Cons

User Experience

Bing Maps tends to offer more automated features than Google Maps does and it automatically changes style and details as the user zooms in and out. As you scroll around the map, the bar at the left dynamically updates things such as weather, pictures, and Photosynths for the current area. Google Maps is more basic in form, sticking to its trademark look, offers fewer features and uses JavaScript making it often more choppy zooming in and out.

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Things to See & Do in British Columbia

Screen Grab - Things to Do and See in (BC) British Columbia

BCParks Online Mapping Application

BCParks has created a simple online mapping application with data from the DataBC program to help people in British Columbia find things see and do in British Columbia by identifying the various locations of the Province’s Parks, Protected Areas, Recreation Areas and Ecological Reserves.

Map - Things to Do and See in BC (British Columbia)

The online interactive mapping tool based on the Google Maps platform offers various searching abilities and provides users with some control over the features and map layers that are displayed in the mapping window.

Points of interest in the map window feature places like Provincial Parks that are also interactive when clicked, providing basic information, photos and links to the respective web pages for that feature that can provide more adequate information.

Although this online map may be relatively pretty basic it still does a good job of providing people with the ability to interactive spatially, appreciate the vast geography of British Columbia and find information about things to see & do that they may have not discovered before.

Click here for more information about the The DataBC program.

Map Maker for Canada

Google Map Maker Canada

Explore Map Maker for Canada

Leave your mark on the map, share your local knowledge about Canadian places with other Canadians.

Google has launched a product that they call Map Maker for Canada that provides users with the ability to add and update geographic information for millions of others to see in Google Maps. People can add businesses, create building outlines, move other peoples place markers to the correct locations. So why not help out the cause by adding places of interest, your school, campus or add your business location.

Check the Map Maker User Guide for help to get started or just be like most other GIS professionals and give Google Map Maker a try and learn as you go.  Google.ca/mapmaker

Share your feedback and comments on this neat little Google Maps feature.

ArcGIS Desktop Application Tutorials

We often get asked for resources to help people learn how to work with GIS. Now that Esri provides a affordable not for commercial version of ArcGIS, we often suggest that they try out these ArcGIS desktop application tutorials provided by the ArcGIS Resource Center

Canadian Open Data and Free Geospatial Data

Over the past few years CanadianGIS.com has been highlighting and promoting various cities and provinces in Canada that have done a great job providing data and applications to the public.

We created this page a few years ago to collaborate links of all the open geospatial data info (sites that offer data downloads at no cost and without restrictions), fee based geospatial data, online web mapping applications and other great sources of geospatial information (including National, Provincial and Regional levels).

This comprehensive list of open geospatial data, fee based geospatial data, web mapping applications and cartographic products is a valuable asset to many people (… we get hundreds of emails and requests regarding “Where can I find data for …?”) so we continue to update it with new information and sources of Canadian data sets.