Friday, July 11, 2008

Google Maps vs Mapquest

As we are finalizing the travel arrangements for the last leg of our trip, I find myself weighing the two tools. It started with a discussion of the route we'd take home from Taos, NM. Raine kept mentioning driving through the Oklahoma panhandle. I google mapped it and sure enough, it said go back to I-40. Raine said mapquest it, so I did. Sure enough, it maps it out going up through Oklahoma panhandle. 96 miles shorter!

So now, I have to know if MQ is actually smarter than Google...

Everything in me prefers Google. The user interface is so much easier to use, from the ability to scroll in/out on the map with the scroll wheel to it's visual intuitiveness.

On the other hand, I've always hated mapquest. The visual appearance of the site makes my stomach churn. Ok, maybe not quite that bad, but it's painful to use. Some of the specific things I found and didn't like:
* No memory for autocomplete of previously used destinations.
* The over/under layout of the map vs the directions. Side by Side FTW!
* If you build a map with the routes turned off (so it doesn't show detailed driving directions), the time/mileage estimation is WAY off.
* TOO much advertising. None is much better than lots.
* The real deal killer for me is the max 10 stops on a trip. I couldn't map my entire trip out in one map. I had to split it up into 2 maps, then combine them for an overall trip plan. That's completely lame.

End Result for the entire Trip:
Google Map
2,268 miles - 1 day, 13 hours

2,172.39 miles - 1 day 11 hours 56 minutes.

Mapquest wins the mathmatical analysis with a savings of 96 miles and an hour.

In the frustration category, Google wins hands down. I plotted the trip out in about 5 minutes. MQ on the other hand, either map took me 10+ minutes to plot.

Other than the one 96 mile difference on Taos home, they ended up with the same travel route.

The final decision was based on economics. Take the I-40 route, and I'll be back on CNG in Elk City, most if not all the way home. Google still wins for me but I'm glad Raine will be doublechecking me on MQ. End result, I'll save money taking the low road.

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