OBJECTIVE: The objective is to compare the content of maps from several current on-line mapping services. So, the assignment is to make maps (one from each of The (USGS) National Map, GoogleMaps, Yahoo Maps, and OpenStreetMap) of a place of your choice (preferably a place you know pretty well, like your home town or current neighborhood), and compare their content and design.
[Given the recent issues with Apple's mapping software, if you have access to it and want to try it as one service in the comparison, please do!]
Some aspects of the content and design that you might consider are:
To be fair, work with comparable scales, probably something larger than 1:24,000, maybe 1:18,000 or better; "zoomed-in" far enough that the streets are labled. Also, it's probably fairer to compare the on-screen maps rather than the printed ones. (I'm not sweating whether you have a color printer or not, you needn't either.)
http://viewer.nationalmap.gov/viewer/ a web interface to maps from USGS data.
Overlays. Clear Map. Pan buttons. GIS Toolbox. "Base Map", "Imagery", and "Blank" buttons.
http://www.openstreetmap.org/ offers maps and data based on user contributed information.
"Zoom and hand drag pan" to select the area. "Export" Tab, select either the Mapnik or the Osmarender Image, and the PNG or JPG format. Note that you have bounding rectangle and scale (as a representative fraction like 1:27500) on screen here. Hit the "Export" button. It should return an image file that you can save or cut and paste from your browser.
http://www.maps.google.com/ offers maps based on Google's database of geographic features.
"Zoom and hand drag pan" to select the area. "Print" link. Toggle Satelite vs Map vs Terrain etc.
http://maps.yahoo.com/ offers printable maps based apparently on Navteq's data.
"Zoom and hand drag pan" to select the area. "Print" "send" and "Save" links. Map, Hybrid, Satellite buttons. Meta-map navigation. Latitude and Longitude in the URL.
N.B. If you are getting stuck, let me know.