Which map to use ?

Let's say you want to chart a route for a small tour from Bangalore. You want to avoid the larger roads (read:highways) and explore the countryside. Which map would you use ? The Eicher Road map or the Lonely Planet map lack the needed detail. Using survey maps are a possibility, but has a number of drawbacks - it is difficult to chart a route, and it is expensive. Using the very popular Google maps/Google Earth is not a good alternative as well. You probably don't agree with that last statement, but that's precisely the reason why I am posting this.

The better alternative is - Yahoo maps. To convince yourself that this is true, compare the maps around a place called Thalli which lies between Anekal (40 kms from Bangalore) and Anchetty (in Tamil Nadu, on the way to Hogenakal falls) : comparison is between Yahoo Map and Google Map. Yahoo maps show a lot of minor roads, labels notable villages too ! Big help for touring the countryside, and my preferred choice for route planning now. ( Thanks to KP for sticking to Yahoo in the face of Google's popularity )

So what did I do during the December holidays ? Me & KP did a short 7 day tour and used some information in the Yahoo map to good effect! We camped on the banks of the Kaveri river at a relatively unknown place called Dabguli which falls on the road from Hunsnahalli to Dantalli. Don't waste time finding these places on the Google map : you will fail 🙂 We had an excellent time riding in traffic free roads, pushing our cycles at places, staying in temples, a school (Details coming soon). Meanwhile, wish you a Happy New Year 2009 !

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  1. Yes, it seems to have better street maps than Google, but the satellite view seems to be a bit outdated – for example, the NICE road doesn’t figure in the view. I have been using Google maps for running trails(and potentially cycling ones) and finding out that the street maps weren’t that accurate.

  2. @Jayadeep : Right – Google maps is still better for planning small trail rides, but only if close-up satellite images are available. As you go farther from the cities, images available via Google maps are not very useful. But there are gotchas as well : referring to Google maps, we created trails which we couldn’t follow in reality !

  3. Haah. Finally someone sees the light 🙂

    Y! India driving directions is also reasonably decent; they do landmark-based routing (e.e., turn left at shree kumar’s house)

  4. waiting to hear more…..

  5. Yahoo source GIS data from CE info (mapmyindia.com). this is one of the better maps. they have covered even non tarmac jeep trails. but I have found that its not accurate in certain areas. Also they don’t allow to export lat/lon data like Google maps does 🙁

  6. @Malik: true but yahoo’s data is also free to use, unlike Google’s. So perhaps there is some hope there if the right person(s) step in to make a difference !

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