MapQuest Canada - mapquest.ca

MapQuest Canada (mapquest.ca) is the first site to try when looking for street maps or driving directions.

Finding an address

To find a street map, simply enter the address, city, province code or postal code into a Free Street Maps tool. If you don't know all these pieces of information, type in what you can. The software is excellent at dealing with incomplete information. The Canadian province codes are given to the left.

After clicking on Get Map, you should be shown the address required in a map of the local area. You will need to click the back button to get back here for more information.

Areas covered by mapquest.ca include: Alaska (U.S.), Alberta, Baffin Island, British Columbia, Banks Island, Calgar, Coast Mountains, Edmonton, Ellesmere Island, Halifax, Ontario.

In 2006 MapQuest added the main Canadian airports to its maps. Try experimenting with typing the name of the airports into the search forms.

Alternative Map and Search Sites

Other great online map sites include: 

You might also try the map facilities provided by the general search engines. For instance, Google Maps and Yahoo Maps both have solid reputations. But don't forget MSN and Ask. 

Amongst the search engines, Ask is becoming a favourite of mine as it provides great maps, and great search capabilities. The maps in Ask are provided by MultiMap, so you get a great second opinion to MapQuest.

To test Ask's search facilities I typed the following question into its general search box: What is the best route from Ontario to British Columbia? As expected, the response was more random than you might expect from a real butler.

Jeeves came back with route maps for Kayak trips, wine excursions, and bicycle rides. More obscurely, it came back with pages on internet routing technology. More usefully, perhaps, it provided a page on cheap air tickets.

The moral is: if you want to find maps, go to specific map sites. If you want to do some lateral thinking about your planned routes then a general search engine can come back with some interesting suggestions. Fortunately, Ask did provide a map to click on above its search results. This took me directly to street map facilities provided by MultiMap.

MapQuest history

The MapQuest company was founded in 1960s by R.R. Donnelley & Sons in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It began by creating free road maps for gas station customers, and later became a leading provider of custom maps for publishers of reference works.

In the 1990s, as Geosystems Global Corporation, the company developed various electronic applications. In February 1996, it launched the first interactive consumer mapping site on the Web. The company changed its name to MapQuest.com, Inc., and in 2000 was acquired by America Online, Inc.

The company is now based in Denver, CO and Mountville, PA. It is ranked in the top 10 of most powerful brands on the Internet by NetRatings, and as number one mapping site by comScore Media Metrix.

By allowing any website owner to put maps on their site, the company provides useful free facilities to the internet, and useful advertising of its own best features.