Simplifying Online Maps using LineDrive Line Maps
Recently I was away home meeting with a new friend who needed directions to my home. Not being a GPS owner, they needed good old fashioned directions to my home. So I drew a line map with a few of the important landmarks, a few notable side-streets, and a few indicators of distance. It only took a minute or so to draw, but it made me think about how directions are displayed on online mapping sites and how they could benefit from increased simplicity rather than increased detail. It reminded me of something I’d been shown a few months ago… LineDrive™ Maps
LineDrive™ is a concept where online directions are displayed not with a full map, but rather a simplified map that provides the essentials and resembles what a human might draw for a map. Sure it doesn’t help you as much if you miss a turn and don’t have a full map printed, but it does make it easier to follow when you’re driving by providing just the essential details and then getting out of the way. Consider the following illustration where three maps are shown– one with a full map, one with a hand-drawn map, and another using LineDrive™ technology. (Click on the image to see it larger.)
This type of display for online directions is still available on the MSN Maps site. Simply go to this URL and along the right column look for the section called “Map Style” and pick LineDrive™. Then build your route as you ordinarily would and the map will display in a line map style. You can also read a white paper on the topic here
While these days I never drive without GPS, I could see myself preferring this style of map if I were to print out driving directions.