OBJECTIVE: In this exercise, you are to compare the street network contents of four maps (really databases), for a place that you know well, as represented in several current on-line mapping services:
The emphasis here is on the contents. that you might consider are:
Secondarily, you may notice differences in the kinds of content included, the graphic design of the displays and symbols, the tools provided to aid the user, the information privided to the user (scale? grid coordinates? latitude and longitude?), etc. that would affect the utility in any given context. They probably reflect intended use of the maps.
Work with comparable scales, probably something larger than 1:24,000, maybe 1:10,000 or (better) "zoomed-in" far enough that the streets are labled. It's probably fairer to compare the on-screen maps rather than printed versions. (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.
Hints... 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.
Hints... "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.
Hints... "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.
Hints... "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.
Google Earth seems to have a different set of street data than does Google Maps. Do they talk with each other?
Hints... GE requires a download and install and may be getting ahead of ourselves but, if you are game or already using it... turn on the "Roads" layer, leave the others off, and see what it shows you. Don't be fooled by waht you can see in the image data, look for their vectors.
In 2012 Apple rolled-out a go-it-alone mapping system (kicking-out Google) and users were disappointed. Since then Apple has been shedding project managers and buying-up mapping technology (TomTom, Embark, HopStop, Locationary, etc) to build capablity. Here, you are on your own. I don't have a smart phone. But I am curious as to where they stand.
N.B. If you get stuck, let me know.