Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth, MapQuest

Since the emergence of Google Maps giving us the ability to put an interactive map on your own web page(s), there are now four separate APIs to choose from: Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Microsoft Virtual Earth and MapQuest. These APIs are similar, so once you understand one; it is just a matter of learning the differences of the others.
To get you started, I created four separate maps using each one of the APIs.  For comparison purposes, I used the same location points and functional code to create each map, so the only difference is the implementation of the API themselves.

It’s pretty interesting noticing the visual and functional differences as you go back and forth looking at each one. Personally, I favor Google Maps because of its smooth interface, clean look, and easy to understand documentation, but Yahoo! Maps is a close second. Yahoo! Maps also provides a Flash API version (see below) that can use either JavaScript or Flash ActionScript code. Virtual Earth reminds me of the interfaces Microsoft has for many of its development products (which can be good or bad), but provides the most intriguing visual experience with its aerial and bird’s eye views. MapQuest is the new kid on the block and has the least visually entertaining experience, but incorporates its biggest strength with driving directions so it has some potential.
All of the APIs are built upon the theory of geocoding, but offer different implementations for allowing you to retrieve latitude/longitude points either within the JavaScript API or using external REST calls. For the later, you will need to incorporate some server-side scripting (PHP, ASP, etc) to retrieve the information you want. If you do not want to be bothered with that, but need specific points (latitude/longitude) for an address(s) you can use websites such as http://geocoder.us/ or you can use my simple geocoding example.
There actually is another mapping API called Map24, but requires that the browser have the Java Runtime installed.
Google Maps:     example   code   documentation   official blog
Yahoo! Maps:     example   code   documentation   official blog
Virtual Earth:     example   code   documentation   official blog
MapQuest:         example   code   documentation   official blog

Aly Chiman

Aly Chiman is a Blogger & Reporter at AlyChiTech.com which covers a wide variety of topics from local news from digital world fashion and beauty . AlyChiTech covers the top notch content from the around the world covering a wide variety of topics. Aly is currently studying BS Mass Communication at University.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.