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A Review of Online Mapping Sites: Maporama


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This is part 4 of a 9 part series reviewing online mapping sites. Click here for the introduction to the series.

Maporama’s search interface is rather non-descript. Aside from the usual address fields that users must complete, there is also the country name drop-down box that is defaulted to the United Kingdom. Once having visited the site, it seems to save the last search and automatically populates the fields accordingly (at least during a session of use). The resulting map is where Maporama stands out from the other online mapping sites.

As well as offering users six choices in map size, it allows users to select from over 30 different map set map styles, many of them curiously named after countries. If you prefer the double line streets, pick one of the European styles. If you like the single line streets, pick one of the US styles. In the Standard mode, a wealth of layers are displayed, including parks, large buildings, and commercial and industrial areas (depending on the area being looked at and the scale of the display). Also included are street numbers posted alongside each street, between each block. Users might find this helpful or distracting, depending on their perspective. Some of the text placement was surprisingly blatant in running into each other (see image ot the right).

For finding directions from A to B Maporama has the shortest / fastest option, as do some of the other online mapping services, but also offers the option of going on foot or by subway. Strangely, in the test set of directions, Maporama’s fastest option took longer than its shortest distance. The shortest distance resulted in the same route as the test route which Maporama suggested was 42.2 km long (actual 41.3) and would take 35 minutes to complete (actual 32).

In short: if you are looking to be able to customize the appearance and style of a map, then Maporama is the site to use. Other than this feature, Maporama is a fairly standard and basic online mapping site.

Tomorrow: Mapquest


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