I’ll stick with Google Maps thanks

A quick comparison of central Wellington as depicted in Google Maps (on a Nexus S running Jelly Bean 4.1.1) and in the new Apple Maps (on a 4th Gen iPod Touch running iOS6) that got released yesterday.

First up, Google Maps:

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And now Apple Maps:

Well, if you like it simple I guess and don’t care about all that messy detail! 😛

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OK, how about satellite imagery. Again Wellington, at the intersection of Molesworth St and Lambton Quay near the central bus station and Parliament buildings…

Google Maps (and not at full zoom I might add – I can enlarge this more, but chose this scale for a similar scale comparison with Apple):

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Apple Maps (close to full zoom before losing imagery):

Yikes – that’s a tad blurry!

Now since I had more layer info displayed in the Google Map, here’s the same area in Apple Maps with the Hybrid option turned on:

Hmmm, no thanks – terrible info overlay.

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So, I think that’s pretty convincing. Google Maps is an excellent offering. Apple, not so much! The new iOS maps lack detail while satellite imagery and the hybrid option both at full zoom are poor. And of course if you want Street View imagery you’re now out of luck with Apple Maps. 😦

Needless to say, stories regarding the new maps are all over the tech news today, eg The Verge, Mashable, CNET, BBC

On a positive note however, this is Apple’s first release and Apple’s Maps will improve in time (hopefully soon!). In the meantime, I’d suggest using Google Maps in the browser – Chrome of course! 😉

And for some bonus reading, check out the following story from The Atlantic: How Google Builds Its Maps.

Nice 1st release Apple, but I’ll stick with Google Maps thanks.

Google Transit comes to Wellington

In a New Zealand first, Wellington’s public transport info is now available in Google Maps letting you plan trips via bus and train with Google’s Transit service. To test it out, I gave it a simple trip from home to Molly Malones on Courtenay Place and it presented an interesting solution first up,

Google Transit service

The recommendation (to get me to town at the earliest time possible) was to take a bus the couple of hundred metres to the end of the street, walk down to the airport, then jump on the Airport Flyer to town. The second option was to wait 20 minutes and get a direct bus to town arriving 15 minutes after the first option. Think I’ll stick to number 2!

This type of public transport trip planning was already available in Wellington via the metlink website, but Google’s implementation is far superior in that you can enter business and place names, not just streets or addresses as with the metlink journey planner.

The real benefit however, is likely to be for Google Maps users on mobile phones. Google’s services work particularly well on cellphones (esp “smart” phones) and this will be a boon for anyone out and about in town (even those enjoying a beer at Molly’s) wondering about public transport options…

So props to Greater Wellington and Google for further improving an already useful service!

Google Street View

Google’s Street View service is now live in New Zealand!

Street View lets you get 360 degree panoramic street level views inside Google Maps. As for being interactive, you can not only spin the camera on the spot, but also zoom and move along streets to navigate around the city.

If you’re visiting somewhere for the first time this is a fantastic way to familiarise yourself with nearby buildings or scenery before you head off. For other ideas on how to use it, Google have a couple of lists of tips for everyday use and for businesses and organisations.

For a list of available locations in NZ, check out this Wikipedia page.

Enjoy! …but beware, it’s a fascinating time waster! 🙂

NZ Google Maps launches

You can now get your Google Map goodness for New Zealand via a localised version at maps.google.co.nz. From the official Google blog,

While we know New Zealanders care about a lot more than rugby, racing and beer, we’re pleased that now Google Maps can help you find the nearest place to do any of those things. Plus, you can find a cafe in Ponsonby, an Indian restaurant in Wellington , a plumber in Dunedin, or a great hotel for your next holiday. All available on a PC or mobile phone near you!

And of course, Kiwis can also use Google Maps to look up an address, get driving directions (and the ability to drag them around), browse our satellite imagery, and even create custom maps that you can share with friends, all using the simple interface.

Nice! Now if we could just get some of the streetmaps updated (notably Wellington which is badly out of date), more higher res satellite imagery (eg for Hokitika) and streetview