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Google Maps Marches On

As (ahem) much of the rest of the blogosphere already noted, Google Maps just rolled out a couple of neat new features. The site now displays train stations -- light rail, subways, commuter rail and Amtrak -- and the outlines of buildings in some cities (you'll need to zoom in all the way to see the latter). Both are a huge help to people looking to get their bearings in a new neighborhood. Here, for instance, you can see how far my colleagues and I walk to the Metro at the end of the day.

These new details aren't visible everywhere, though. In the District, for example, building outlines are limited to the area east of Rock Creek, south of S and T streets NW and NE, west of 8th Street NE and SE and north of the Southwest-Southeast Freeway. In Manhattan, they halt at 60th Street, as if a glacier had ground down everything north of there.

(As for Google's competitors: Microsoft's Live Search Maps maps out train stations--including some that Google misses--while AOL's MapQuest and Yahoo Maps do not. All three competitors only feature the outlines of major buildings; for instance, in downtown D.C. you can see the Washington Convention Center, but the surrounding blocks appear vacant.)

What kinds of cartographic detail would you like to see in a Web-based map? Post your suggestions in the comments!

By Rob Pegoraro  |  February 13, 2007; 11:12 AM ET
Categories:  The Web  
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