Online Maps, Bing vs Google
October 15, 2010
Google Vs. Bing
Both Google and Bing offer a variety of ways to view any geographic point, however each do it differently. Let's break down what each offers and how they differ.
Google offers four primary views, road (1), satellite (2), street level (3), and 3d (4). Each of these views has some variants which can make them more useful for certain task but in general these are big four buttons to push.
The road view has good color contrast, clearly defining different types of roads, buildings, and other land marks. Google also marks many smaller businesses and note worthy elements, which enhances this view as an overall navigational tool.
The satellite view brings the map view to life, however it appears slightly muddled with a blue hue. Certainly an interesting view to play with, offering a different perspective on the world we know. Though not at useful as a navigational tool for roads, it can be very helpful when looking for mountain biking trails, or other non marked items.
Street level is pretty cool, also kinda creepy. A few special images noted by Mashable can be seen here. That being said, this view can be really helpful. When going to meetings, or places unfamiliarity, this feature can offer a view of what I should be looking for when driving by.
The 3D view requires the Google Earth plug in to be installed, which is a relatively quick process to complete. After playing with this tool for a bit, a couple things became clear; this tool is pretty boring and kinda ugly when zooming in on areas with little topographical relief or areas that haven't have 3D models developed of many buildings, however this tool can make areas such as NYC really pop with depth, though it does give off a cartoonish feel.
Bing seems to offer three primary views, road, aerial (satellite), and bird's eye. They also offer a fourth, 3D, however this requires Internet Explorer to function properly, so I'm not going to discus it here.
Bing's road map is what I believe to be their weakest point. the roads have little contrast against surrounding elements, and substantially fewer land marks appear around city's such as Portland.
The aerial view offers saturated, vibrant colors without the blueish haze Google is plagued by. I do think that the font Google uses to label street names is clearer and generally makes reading the map easier, but it doesn't really affect the overall usability of the map.
The bird's eye view is really pretty excellent. Crisp imagery, offering a unique angle on landscapes. I'm amazed at the quality of the photography in this section. A great tool for real estate companies and other businesses which benefit from displaying buildings/land from views other than directly above.
Google 3D New York, NY
Bing Birds Eye