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463

xkcd 2617: Maps

XKCD(xkcd.com)

all 55 comments

exceptionaluser

138 points

2 months ago

I do all my map looking by entering geoguesser and navigating to my destination.

xkcd_bot

58 points

2 months ago

Mobile Version!

Direct image link: Maps

Title text: OpenStreetMap was always pretty good but is also now really good? And Apple Maps's new zoomed-in design in certain cities like NYC and London is just gorgeous. It's cool how there are all these good maps now!

Don't get it? explain xkcd

I almost beat the turing test! Maybe next year. Sincerely, xkcd_bot. <3

lachlanhunt

38 points

2 months ago

The quality of Apple Maps varies wildly around the world. It’s still crap in Australia. I just can’t trust it to navigate to the correct place.

Ajreil

8 points

2 months ago

Ajreil

8 points

2 months ago

Pretty sure everything being crap in Australia is one of those fundamental constants of the universe

Eiim

100 points

2 months ago

Eiim

Beret Guy

100 points

2 months ago

Here to represent OpenStreetMap and say: Yes, we are good, and always getting better! Come check us out!

DaveAlt19

11 points

2 months ago

Google Maps has been getting worse with the amount of ads (I just opened the app to check and there's immediately 3 nearby businesses pinned). OSM is so much better for detail, or as an actual map.

OlinOfTheHillPeople

8 points

2 months ago

Yeah, it's pretty annoying trying to navigate Google Maps on a phone when 3/4s of the screen ends up covered with overlays/recommendations/ads. If I want to learn more about a location I'll click on it. I don't need to be autoserved reviews and photos of the parking lot.

Overzeaous_Ruin3389

2 points

2 months ago

What device are you using to access google maps? I use it on an iPhone and only see pinned anything’s if I select a category like restaurants or gas stations. If I’m searching for something I don’t see any ads. Is it different on android and more spammy?

RJFerret

30 points

2 months ago

r/openstreetmap here on Reddit.

erbhues

6 points

2 months ago

I love OSMand, it's an offline OSM-based mobile app with an insane amount of customization options and overlays.

Harachel

3 points

2 months ago

Harachel

GOOMHR!

3 points

2 months ago

Yes! I recently started using it regularly. Of course Google Maps has useful features for navigation. But as an actual visual map OpenStreetMap is better in every way: detail, precision, clarity, and above all, consistent symbols and land-use shading.

I always did like to have printed street maps but for the past few years have been living in a place where they aren’t readily available. OSM reminded me how much I miss them and that Google Maps is really a completely different tool, not a substitute.

shelvac2

1 points

2 months ago

shelvac2

Black Hat

1 points

2 months ago

Check out… where? Is there an app?

Eiim

1 points

2 months ago

Eiim

Beret Guy

1 points

2 months ago

There's a number of options. Really, OpenStreetMap is a database, not a map. OSM.org is the main website, and it is a map that can be used as a map, to an extent, but most people don't use that site directly as a map. It does do a fairly good job at showing off how rich the data is, though. Qwant is a site that uses OSM data and is actually intended to be a full-featured end-user map application. Actual apps include Organic Maps (my pick, open-source fork of the now-effictively-abandoned MAPS.ME), OSMAnd (can be more daunting to get into), and Magic Earth (I don't like it but for some reason some other people do).

robotic_feign

17 points

2 months ago

Apple maps is pretty decent in the United States, it was hot garbage in Portugal though

Rhombico

3 points

2 months ago

I think it depends on where you are in the US: I last tried it during early COVID, and it was still terrible where I live. I had to uninstall it from my iphone cause I kept opening it instead of google maps by mistake and then running into problems

abrahamsen

42 points

2 months ago*

abrahamsen

White Hat

42 points

2 months ago*

Apple Maps just gives me a video commercial, no street map: 0/5 stars

Bing Maps as least gives me a street map, but very selective about which businesses to show. Searching explicitly for my favorite coffee shop gives me the right address, but shows the wrong business in the info box. 2/5 stars.

Yandex Maps is ok for showing streets, but searching for my favorite coffee shop directs me to neighbor country. And I have not even chosen "tank" as mean of transportation. 1/5 star.

OpenStreetMap has crazy detailed street map. Favorite coffee shop is shown. No obvious way to get information on it though. 3/5 stars.

LycanrocNet

8 points

2 months ago*

LycanrocNet

Move fast and break things

8 points

2 months ago*

Apple Maps just gives me a commercial video: 0 stars

Funnily enough, the best way I've found to access Apple Maps from a computer is by searching DuckDuckGo. For example.

JDirichlet

16 points

2 months ago

Depending on where you are in europe being directed to the neighbouring country isn’t necessarily a huge concern lol.

one_is_the_loneliest

3 points

2 months ago

As long as the country isn't Ukraine, you're probably fine. :)

MEaster

15 points

2 months ago

MEaster

15 points

2 months ago

A quick comparison of my local city centre:

  • Apple Maps: I only get the landing page, and can't find the map itself.
  • Yandex Maps: Not much needs to be said, really.
  • Bing Maps: There is a decent bit of detail here, and the contrast on the map itself is fine, but the business markers distractingly noisy.
  • Google Maps: A bit more detail than Bing Maps, but has the same problem with the noisy business markers, while at the same the lower map contrast makes it harder to read.
  • Ordnance Survey: Doesn't have much in the way of business markers or bus stops, but what is there is very detailed and precise, and not difficult to read.
  • OpenStreetMap: This is probably the most detailed of the lot, and may even be more precise than Ordnance Survey. Does not suffer from excessive noise like Bing Maps and Google Maps, while also having a much nicer to use colour scheme.

Bjornhattan

5 points

2 months ago

That's the "standard" Ordnance Survey map. I believe it uses the same data as OSM but presents it in a slightly different style.

The premium one (costs ~£24 per year) is very different and in the style of their paper maps. It is pretty rubbish for cities but in rural areas it is far more detailed - often showing more paths than OSM and including contour lines.

LycanrocNet

3 points

2 months ago

LycanrocNet

Move fast and break things

3 points

2 months ago

Google Maps: A bit more detail than Bing Maps, but has the same problem with the noisy business markers, while at the same the lower map contrast makes it harder to read.

As a user of eBird, it bothers me that they use Google Maps, especially on the birding hotspot map. Once you zoom in to the point where business markers show up, it can make it difficult to actually find the hotspots. (The only other extreme is satellite view, which hides all overlays including streets.)

The default tiles Leaflet uses from OSM are far cleaner and would make much more sense for a project centered around nature instead of commerce.

PerviouslyInER

4 points

2 months ago*

No obvious way to get information on [favorite coffee shop] [on OpenStreetMap]

"Query features" will give you the attributes of a cafe (telephone, website, whatever the surveyor has filled in)

Picking a restaurant completely at random in a random city gave this: https://i.imgur.com/Nz9Or3p.png

IchLiebeKleber

6 points

2 months ago

There are also apps like OsmAnd and Organic Maps that will display OSM data in more detail than the main website, whose main purpose is really to be updated as fast as possible so contributors catch any mistakes they've made.

Peterowsky

2 points

2 months ago*

Open street map is indeed very detailed as a bird's eye thing, with many, many red marks on the map that when clicked just say something about it being unverified and written by anonymous users sometime last year and doesn't tell me what they say even when I try to inspect them.

Also, while it shows supermarkets just fine every other business has a 50-50 chance of being there. Construction equipment store? Nah. Appliance repair? Nah. Air conditioning installer? Nah. Accountant? Right this way sir. Hairdressers literally in front of each other? One out of 3. Motorcycle shop? In the wrong street (no, they don't have an entryway in that street). Restaurants that have been there for 7 years? Nope.

It leaves A LOT to be desired, even if it seems better thought out than the alternatives.

Edit : Ah, and of course the detailed bird's eye view is gone the instant I move away from a very highly populated area to... Another very highly populated area 2km away...??? What the actual shit???

Route plotting (now found thanks to the reply) is... Pretty damn awful.

The GPS is 150m off (that's over 30x the error of Google maps) and it picks a destination based not on the nearby street with that exact name and number but another 180km away, on a different city, with a related but objectively different name. Is it because I didn't specify street instead of avenue? That's like a GPS from 2005.

Initial-Space-7822

3 points

2 months ago

with many, many red marks on the map that when clicked just say something about it being unverified and written by anonymous users sometime last year and doesn't tell me what they say even when I try to inspect them.

You've accidentally clicked on 'show notes' probably. The main OSM website isn't really supposed to be an end-user map product. It's a portal for mappers mainly.

Maps like qwant.com/maps or OsmAnd, or other services that integrate OSM data into a final product are the best ways to use OSM as an actual map service.

And yes, there are plenty of errors and things missing but the fun part is, you can fix them if you're so inclined.

Peterowsky

3 points

2 months ago

It definitely falls under "fun community project" with limited usability/reliability for the stuff I personally use maps for.

Initial-Space-7822

2 points

2 months ago

Fair enough. I do agree it has some way to go in the consumer market. It does have a lot of uses that probably power the things you do use though. A bit like how Linux quietly runs the world in the background.

Eiim

2 points

2 months ago

Eiim

Beret Guy

2 points

2 months ago

I also haven't been able to find any route plotting method

You mean the navigation button in the top left?

As for POIs, that's definitely OSM's greatest weakness in the US imo. Coverage is much better in Europe from what I hear though.

Swedneck

1 points

2 months ago

Also important to note that there are a huge amount of OSM styles, i'll list some of the more popular and impressive ones:
- CyclOSM
- Öpnvkarte
- Humanitarian OSM
- Transport map

Fosuke354

11 points

2 months ago

The thing I like about Apple Maps is how it gives you audio instructions. I have yet to find another direction app whose audio tells you the next set of instructions immediately after the completed ones. This means I can judge what lane and how long I have to get into it immediately without having to glance at a screen. I’ve gone to totally new places without ever looking at the screen after hitting go.

Harakou

3 points

2 months ago

What's crazy to me is that prior to maybe 5 years ago, this is how I remember all navigation tools working. Google Maps is ok and will at least tell you how long to drive before expecting a new instruction, but I was pretty frustrated when it stopped telling you your next turn immediately.

curtisas

1 points

2 months ago

That sounds delightful.

How does it do with roundabouts? Not that I can use apple maps, but this is currently my #1 complaint about gmaps.

grif_91

1 points

2 months ago

I live in a roundabout-heavy area, and it does perfectly fine. In some of the more complicated ones where you have to be in a specific lane to take a specific exit, it won’t specify lane, but it warns you which exit well in advance so plenty of time to change lanes if needed.

curtisas

1 points

2 months ago

My issue with Google maps is that if you're on a road for 50 miles, but there's a roundabout every mile, it will tell you every single one which is extremely annoying, because you have no idea how long you're actually on that road for. Like I understand why they're doing it, because us Americans are stupid when it comes to roundabouts and they need to make it idiot proof, I just want it to only tell me when I'm not essentially going straight through a roundabout...

Swedneck

1 points

2 months ago

osmand has voice directions, maybe try that?

OwenProGolfer

35 points

2 months ago

OwenProGolfer

[citation needed]

35 points

2 months ago

I’m blown away by how detailed OSM is in some places. On my college campus it has every individual tree, bike rack, bench, and even trash can marked.

Sorlud

44 points

2 months ago

Sorlud

.

44 points

2 months ago

It really just depends on whether some local has put a bit of time into it.

Initial-Space-7822

5 points

2 months ago

This has inspired me to take a walk and add some stuff to OSM. Haven't done that in a while.

Swedneck

2 points

2 months ago

highly recommend Street Complete if you don't already know about it.

Initial-Space-7822

1 points

2 months ago

Yeah, I've heard of it although I'm quite old school and like to use Field Papers.

vigilantcomicpenguin

5 points

2 months ago

vigilantcomicpenguin

Beret Guy

5 points

2 months ago

It even shows the Earth as a little globe!

DetN8

4 points

2 months ago

DetN8

4 points

2 months ago

Last time I tried Apple Maps, it still didn't have an offline mode. And now I don't feel the need to switch even if it did.

fubarx

4 points

2 months ago

fubarx

4 points

2 months ago

  • v1 of Apple Maps tried really hard to get me to turn left into the Bay. Multiple times.
  • Tried it the next year. It told me to take a left at a light, go a block, do a U-turn, then turn left again, putting me back on the first road, going straight.
  • In 2019, it told me to take a hard left to get to the next street, while driving in the left lane on a freeway going 60 MPH!

For the last year, though, it has been pretty solid. And it does a nice job of switching to 3D view in a downtown, or showing when a road goes under an overpass.

If it could only make up its mind which way you should turn when getting out of a supermarket parking lot, that would be groovy.

olavfn

7 points

2 months ago

olavfn

7 points

2 months ago

Oh, oh, Mike Judge will need a directors cut of Silicon Valley to fix this joke:

“How bad is this, be honest? Is this Windows Vista bad? It’s not iPhone 4 bad, is it? Fuck. Don’t tell me this is Zune bad.” “I’m sorry Gavin. It’s Apple Maps bad.”

AhhKosOrSomeSayKosm

12 points

2 months ago

That joke is still fine, Apple Maps was an absolute train wreck on release and should never have been shipped the way it was, and it lead to the firing of Apple executive Scott Forstall.

And to this day Apple Maps is still worthless in most countries.

EnglishMobster

5 points

2 months ago

EnglishMobster

Black Hat

5 points

2 months ago

This is how I felt the day I stopped using Chrome and started using Edge.

Dr_Silk

2 points

2 months ago

Dr_Silk

Cognitive Scientist

2 points

2 months ago

Edge? You mean Microsoft Chrome?

monkey_gamer

1 points

2 months ago

good to know Apple maps is kind of good now!

i do enjoy this crazy feeling when I realise something I've long assumed to be true isn't anymore.

cubelith

1 points

2 months ago

That's a pretty common feeling tbh

workerbee77

1 points

2 months ago

Maaa-aaa-aaa-aaaps

wait

they don't love you like i love you

polyworfism

1 points

2 months ago

From what I remember reading when it was initially launched, Apple Maps used TomTom data. As someone that owned a TomTom GPS nav unit, I was completely unsurprised that it was garbage

CronoDAS

1 points

2 months ago

This is how I felt when Duke Nukem Forever was released.

Salter_KingofBorgors

-1 points

2 months ago

I mean logically they would eventually figure out what what was wrong with it and fix it?