Don’t get me wrong, Google Maps finds my apartment just fine. Heck, it even has my exact building. But that is only half the value of an online map. The real value is directions. This is where Google maps falls apart.
Imagine you want to take the train somewhere. Google Maps has you covered. It’ll show you where the stations are, the departure times, and the price of the ticket. That’s great.
Yes, it is telling me to walk half the distance to my destination in the wrong direction, take the train just one stop and then get out and walk half the distance to my destination again. The math wizards out there will note that I end up walking just a much. Of course that math won’t tell you I’ll have to wait for and pay for a train.
More frustrating is the they Google Maps offers a little pull down menu that appears to have options other than going by train. However, this is a trick. The only option found in the menu is public transportation.
You can also see here that walking is much quicker. Even though Google Maps acknowledges I can walk there it stubbornly refuses to map a walking route, instead it offers a giant swooshing arrow. What do they expect? Maybe for me to exclaim, “Oh…. up! I see now! I couldn’t have figured that one out on my own because I am the stupid person within ten thousand light years of here, thanks so much.” I won’t do it. No way.
While I can easily work without any directions in this instance, longer trips become more problematic. In fact what I’ve learned is that if I want to figure out how to get somewhere in Japan by car or bicycle I have to use MapFan. MapFan is a bit harder for me to use and its maps aren’t as pretty, but it gives me options other than public transportation.