Infospace.com is a comprehensive source of directory information. Its focus is on "content with broad appeal, such as yellow pages, and white pages, maps, classified advertisements, real-time stock quotes, information on local businesses and events, weather forecasts and horoscopes." While Infospace.com is not unique in providing access to this kind of content, it does a good job of efficiently connecting the user with news, e-shopping, entertainment, and the focus of this review, maps and directions.
While there are many sites that provide access to maps and directions between two addresses, including MapBlast.com, Delorme.com and MapQuest.com, Infospace.com is my first choice when I need maps or directions. Users can access U.S., Canadian, and International maps, driving directions, and route maps. The driving directions are the most useful aspect. Users enter the starting and destination addresses and the database, powered by Vicinity.com, generates step-by-step directions that include total distance and estimated travel time. Once the step-by-step directions are available, users can also access return directions, new directions and a route map. Additionally, the search results in region-specific links including city guides, classified advertisements, and weather information.
In comparison to other map sites, Infospace.com is not graphics heavy and as a result downloads results quickly. Most users, regardless of Internet-connection speed, should find Infospace.com to be fairly speedy. However, there are some aspects of Infospace.com that could be improved. The maps and directions are in the yellow pages, but the small font makes it difficult to immediately locate the link. Also, although Infospace.com says that its "directions engine" requires that the starting and destination points be in the same U.S. region or metro area, I was able to perform a search between Maine and Montana. That is certainly not the same region, but the results seemed accurate. However, a subsequent long-distance search did not produce successful results.
Overall, the maps and directions section of Infospace.com is a good one. It is a logical and efficient resource for anyone who runs the risk of being asked, "how do I get there from here?"
Jennifer K. Snow
Educational Technology Task Force