Multimap provided great maps; the street maps, ordnance survey maps, and birds-eye views were especially noteworthy. Now Multimap is no more, these features have been adopted by Bing Maps
From Multimap to Bing Maps
Now that Multimap is defunct, most users will have to move elsewhere, and Bing Maps is the most obvious alternative. Bing Maps has adopted many Multimap feature, but it has not adopted Multimap's user interface. Therefore, Multimap users will need to get used to new ways of doing things.
In this section, to compare a basic feature of Bing Maps with Multimap, we look at how one muight generate a simple map of one's location using both interfaces. Unfortunately, this is not as obvious as it could be in Bing Maps.
Using Multimap to get a map was straightforward, you simply went to the home page and were walked through the process. You were asked to type in an address, town, or postcode, clicked the Find button, and were shown the location in a map of the area. Nothing could be simpler. Unfortunately Bing Maps have made this simplest of procedures harder, at least for the new user.
There is nothing on the Bing Maps home page that walks you through getting a simple map. The home page is mostly geared to sending you to other pages, like directions finders and traffic information, but you don't get a clue about how to generate a map!
Fortunately the process is quite simple. At the top of the page is a search box and you simply type an address, town or postcode into that. This generates a simple street map without a hitch, but it's a shame that that Microsoft don't walk a new user (perhaps a former Multimap user...) through this process.
The next section considers alternatives to Multimap, in case you don't get on with Bing Maps. But, remember, Multimap was difficult to beat for fulfilling many everyday mapping needs, and some of these advantages have been transferred to Bing Maps. For instance, Multimap provided a superior location-based search experience. A pioneer in this area, Multimap provided great help in finding restaurants, petrol stations, and the like, from your mobile phone or computer. Bing Maps continue in this tradition, at least, to some extent.
Many of Multimap's competitors offer different and additional features. So check a wide selection of them to get the features you need... and keep checking, as things are move fast in this business. For instance, Google Maps was the first company to offer draggable driving directions. This was such a wonderful feature, that Multimap had to move quickly. It did. Soon it was offering draggable driving directions, and this has been adopted by Bing Maps.
Multimap had specific features that distinguished it from the rest of the pack, including:
- Unique maps, including Ordnance Survey and Bird's Eye View.
- It's a UK company, so Multimap UK is especially worth a gander.
- Details of local features, including transport links and Wikipedia markers, take you immediately to further information about a place.
- Multimap was great for providing driving directions and basic maps, and Bing Maps continues this tradition, although its user interface might take a little getting used to.
- Keep experimenting with Multimap and its alternatives until you find the mapping software that is an exact fit for you.
- Multimap attracted more than 4 million UK users in November 2007 according to Nielsen NetRatings.
- Amongst mapping companies, only Google Maps attracted more users in the UK than Multimap.
- Many big companies used Multimap maps on their web sites, including AA, Ford, Royal Mail and Virgin.
- Sony's online store locator used Multimap maps to show European customers where they can find photo-printing kiosks.
Multimap has been rolled into Bing Maps.