Using Google Maps UK

To get a simple Google Maps UK map:

  1. Go to the Google Maps UK (maps.google.co.uk) site. This should take you to a page that automatically provides UK maps by default. In fact, Google Maps might even be clever enough to start you off with a map of your current location.
  2. Assuming you are now on the Google Maps UK only home page, locate the field beside the Search Maps button at the top of the page. Enter the address, town, or postal code of the location for which you desire the map. 
  3. Click the Search Maps button. You should now be shown the location required in a map of the area.

If you don't know all the address details, Google Maps can deal with incomplete information. The postal code is the shortest, most accurate search term you can use.

Google Maps UK - not the only game in town

Google Maps UK (maps.google.co.uk) is not the only map provider in the UK. Several other companies provide great maps, with Multimap UK probably providing the most serious competition at the moment. Multimap UK provides maps for bing, RAC, yell, and several other companies. MapQuest is another serious competitor, although it is stronger in North America.

Google Maps UK provides maps for the AA, one of the two serious motoring organisations in the UK, the other being the RAC. 

It is worth investigating different sites showing Google Maps UK maps, depending on your needs. For instance, if you are going for a drive, the AA site is a must. If you want to compare raw map data, then compare Google maps directly with the competition - at least with Multimap UK and MapQuest UK.

If you are planning a difficult journey take your time about it and look at more than one map site. Even a site as good as Google Maps UK may have some errors or be missing some features. Especially, get details from the three main map sites (Multimap UK, MapQuest UK, Google Maps UK) and then supplement them with useful third parties. For instance, you could look at accident updates from the RAC and AA.

Google Maps UK v. Multimap UK

When Google Maps UK introduced draggable driving directions, it took a considerable advantage over Multimap UK. But Multimap UK fought back and introduced its own draggable driving directions.

Draggable driving directions allow you to alter any route on a map using your mouse. Drag the cursor over the map and see the route and directions automatically alter. 

In 2009 Google Maps started rolled out its Street View UK product; Multimap UK responded by launching a large-scale advertising campaign.

Google Maps UK only coverage

Features of Google Maps UK

The main offering of Google Maps UK is maps, but it also offers excellent driving directions. To access these simply click on the Get directions link at the top left of the Google Maps UK home page. Then enter the starting address in the A field, and the destination address in the B field.

Google Maps UK provides useful information on the maps obtained via the search field, including links to Wikipedia, and details useful to travellers, such as icons for tube stations, railway stations, parking facilities, tourist information offices, and more.

The satellite pictures provided by Google Maps UK are remarkable, and you can zoom right down to street view level. You may even be able to zoom down to see the the house number on your front door! 

Not only Google Maps UK

Google Maps is not for the UK only, in fact, it offers details for more countries than Multimap or MapQuest. MapQuest only provides details for North America and Europe. Multimap is missing many countries that Google offers, for instance Latin American countries like Mexico.

Google Maps UK - Summary

In summary, Google Maps UK (maps.google.co.uk) provides superb street maps and satellite views, and access to the widest range of countries. It provides great driving directions, although there is strong competition from other companies in most countries.

Multimap UK provides features that are useful supplements to the Google Maps UK (maps.google.co.uk) offerings. For instance, Multimap's bird's eye view Street Level maps nicely complements Google Street Level and Satellite Maps.

Whatever your mapping needs, you should take a belt and braces approach, and explore maps & directions from a variety of map sites. Google Maps UK (maps.google.co.uk) should certainly be one of those sites.