Mapping Decisions

My kayaking site KayakVB has been behaving itself for 3 years now, with very little change, and that lack of change is really starting to be apparent. I have decided to essentially do a complete re-write.

Probably the most popular section is the launch site section, that details kayak and small boat launch sites in Southeast Virginia, and I figured that would be that ideal place to start, I guess because I was never really happy with it. I settled on using Yahoo maps over Google, because Yahoo had much better satellite coverage for the area and for the most part Google was still using 16 meter Landsat imagery. The other thing that I was not supported at the time was the directions to/from here capability.

Then there was Microsoft Maps, which at the time was really not in contention with Google or Yahoo, the aerial/satelite imagery was from the 80’s and in some cases erosion and storms had completely changed the landscape, and they offered no API to speak of, and at the time Mapquest has no real aerial or satellite views

Well things have changed, Google now has better resolution then Yahoo, and Live has both of them beat as far as resolution goes (especially where Birds Eye is available), but maybe not in the freshness of imagery, and Mapquest just completely missed the boat

For comparison here are screen shots pretty much centered on 36.708094 North and 75.970427 West or here

Google Maps

Yahoo Maps

Microsoft ( Virtual Earth

Aerial View

Birds Eye View

TerraServer (aka The USGS National Map)

As a point of reference, the Virtual Earth Birds Eye image is the most current, but I guess that is evident by the nearly completed construction.

Image Freshness

Image freshness is another big factor in my decision, below is a very drastic comparison, but I guess it goes to show how nothing is really permanent. The first image is USGS imagery circa 1990, and the second and third images are, as far as I can tell are from 2005 maybe 2006.

TerraServer 1990 Image

This is the confluence of the the Blackwater River and the North Landing River in Virginia Beach Va. The peninsula is very prominent in this image, but when you fast forward 25 years, things a quite different.

VirtualEarth Image ~2005

As you can see the peninsula is nearly gone, and you can barely see a small island in the center of the image where the tip of the peninsula once was.

VirtualEarth Image ~2005

This is looking East, and the erosion is really evident here, I think I may take the Kayak out here this weekend and get some pictures of what is left.

All this being said, I am more confused then before, I guess the only decision I have made, is that I probably wont be using Yahoo Maps going forward. There just isn’t the popularity, as there is with Google Maps. VirtualEarth is the long shot, and I’ll probably end up with Google Maps.



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