5 Best Alternatives For Google Maps

Google Maps is a web based geographic mapping application and technology, which launched seven years ago on February 8, 2005, by Google Inc. It is available in all languages; hence it is Google’s multilingual applications.

Google Maps provides high-resolution aerial or satellite images for most urban areas all over the world and route directions up to four modes of transportation. Google Maps API is available for mobile phones as well.

Below is a screenshot of Google Maps showing every countries of the world

Google Maps

But Google Maps, and more specifically, Google Street View(which is a part of Google Maps), has recently come under scrutiny from various national agencies for issues related to privacy invasion and unauthorized snooping of Wi-Fi enabled users.

Though Google Maps is unarguably the best available geographical mapping application available today, one must take a look at the best available alternatives for Google Maps.

At the moment, The best alternatives for Google Maps are as follows:

  • Yahoo! Maps
  • Bing Maps
  • OVI Maps
  • WikiMapia
  • Bhuvan

1. Yahoo! Maps

Yahoo! Maps is one of the best alternatives to Google Maps developed by Yahoo! It is a free online mapping portal and its APIs are available for developer community too. Yahoo! Maps was launched on May 16, 2007. In Yahoo! Maps, data and Imagery were primarily supplied by “Cartifact Company”.

Here’s a screenshot of Yahoo! Maps showing every countries of the world.

Yahoo! Maps


2. Bing Maps

Bing Maps is the second best alternative to Google Maps. It is a fast and feature-rich web mapping tool developed by Microsoft. It provides the users with the ability to browse the street maps for many cities worldwide. The key features of Bing Maps include:

  • Road View
  • Street View
  • Aerial View
  • Bird’s-eye View
  • 3D Maps.

The 3D Maps enables the users to see the buildings in three dimensions. Roughly 68 cities worldwide can be viewed in 3D. Find below a screenshot of Bing Maps, showing all relevant countries of the world

Bing Maps


3. OVI Maps

OVI Maps is the one of best alternatives to Google Maps developed by NOKIA to provide navigation features to their mobile devices. It is a free application and can be downloaded from the OVI Store. For key cities of various critical International markets, Nokia OVI Maps are far more detailed than even Google Maps.

It provides three map views one is Satellite view and second one is Terrain view and 3D Maps. You can also explore the places like Eat & Drink, Shopping, and Sights & Museums. The screenshot of OVI Maps showing every countries of the world

OVI Maps


4. WikiMapia 

WikiMapia is basically the Wikipedia of the Mapping world. It is editable by anyone and majorly run by volunteers who wants to add any new info to geographical areas around the world. WikiMapia takes raw geographical data from Google Maps but user edited layers and markings/milestones etc are exclusive to WikiMapia.

The whole functioning of WikiMapia and how it manages to grow its information base is quite similar to Wikipedia. Top level moderators keep looking for contributions that aren’t suitable or wrong, in order to revert the changes and keep the Open source location mapping clean and accurate. Though it isn’t as technically sound and restrictive as Google Maps or other privately run Mapping applications, WikiMapia still works well for getting raw information about any geographical area in the world. However, as it’s openly editable, you may come across instances where contributors have randomly marked things, making things less detailed and more clumsy.

WikiMapia


5. Bhuvan [India specific]

Bhuvan is a gateway to Indian Earth Observation, which allows the users to explore a 3D representation of the surface of the Earth developed by ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization). ISRO launched the initial release of Bhuvan on August 12, 2009. The latest release of Bhuvan is its beta version of its web-based 3D satellite imagery tool, which launched on August 12, 2011. It is available in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu languages. It is a freeware virtual mapping software application. It provides features like Bhuvan 3D Visualization, Bhuvan 2D Visualization, Thematic Data Dissemination and Pocket Bhuvan for mobile devices

This article is written by David Rice. He is based in UK and works for a company that helps business leaders find the ideal office to let location. He runs WhatAndroid and Price India blogs.

Scribble And Share Customized Google Maps Easily

I have been a fan of Google Maps, that made me create a small web app for finding the postal address of any location. Using Google Maps, you can find the exact location or get the postal address of any part in the World, and it is free yes. But they don’t provide an option to edit or customize them. If you want to make it more entertaining and detailed, you can add your own details and drawings to the maps. Scribble Maps allows you to do that for free.

Scribble Google Maps

They allow you to create custom Google Maps without an account. You can also export them to Google Earth. You can check the above picture, kinda messy, but you can apply your creativity here. Planning for a vacation or plotting for a hiking trail, this is your tool!

You can also try a similar tool called QuickMaps for customizing Google Maps.

How A Hacker Can Actually Reach Your Place

An information from scratch can be used to gather certain information that can be really astonishing. Here in this post I will show you how a person can reach your place if  he/she has your IP address or domain name. Here I will demonstrate using a spam email which deliberately flooded my inbox  from a particular sender and show you how we can reach his house. So lets start….

Disclaimer: This post is actually to aware people about there online privacy rather misuse this trick.

Information Gathering :

  • From the email I got the “Domain Name” and name of the person and used it do the whois. As you all can see I got the address, phone no, fax etc from the image below. You can also use the IP address from the email header to obtain the information.

Whois of the domain name

  • Then I opened Google Maps to find the street view of the above obtained address. As you all can see I reached the street of the person and the desired place is approximately near to it.

Google map image

  • I will show you what more info I got, I used his name,city and country to find info about his family from here as shown below.

  • Then using his name and location in Google search I found his MySpace account as shown below and got to see his face.

Google search result

Countermeasures:

#1 – One should always use “Tor” like anonymous tools while browsing and especially using email accounts.

#2 – Keep the information of your Domain name set to private.

#3 – Keep the information on your Social Networking sites set to private.

#4 – Take care while sharing your Phone no or Fax no with any stranger or unknown website.

This guest article is written by Satyajit Das, Author and Owner of SecurityHunk. He is a 23 years old ethical hacking enthusiast and a part time blogger. If you wish to write for us, kindly check this.