Google Maps has become a part of our everyday life. We use it to get directions, play around with Street View, to find unknown places on the map or to get traffic updates. Even though Google Maps is a great product, which works flawlessly out of your browser, but it leaves very little scope for personalization.
eMaps is a freeware app for Mac OS X that provides you a full-fledged version of Google Maps, with the convenience of a desktop application.
eMaps has a clean, lightweight interface, with a toolbar at the top which manages all the functions.
- Search – To search for any location, just type in the name of the city or region. Works like a charm, though I had some problems while searching with the pin/zip code. Using a region name along with the code usually fixes it.
- Street View – Google’s street view feature works flawlessly with eMaps, and frankly, I found it to be much more responsive that the actual web interface of Google Maps. You can easily switch to the Street View (if it is available, of course) by going to a particular location and then clicking on the Street View button on the toolbar.
- Traffic Updates – This is a relatively newer feature, and is available at only a few locations yet, but can prove to be very useful. With the simple click of a button, you can toggle traffic updates on, and view any traffic obstructions on your journey route. See the screenshot for example. This feature too, works flawlessly on eMaps.
- Directions – Now this was a somewhat complicated procedure, because I could not find any help as to how this was to be done. In the web interface, you have a separate form for getting directions, where you enter the source and destination location. Here’s how to get directions in eMaps.Search for your source location. When you find it, press Cmd + D, or click the ‘Get Directions’ button. Next, search for your destination. When you find it, click on the orange marker on the search result map. That way, this location is marked as the destination, and the route is highlighted. Note that no textual driving directions are available.
eMaps has the charm of being a native Mac OS X app and brings the Google Maps experience to your desktop. Most part of it is simple to use, and it also offers keyboard shortcuts for power users. But something as simple as finding directions has been made complicated. I don’t know if this was a limitation from Google’s side or the application developers side, but this surely is a handicap. Also, driving directions are unavailable.
However, once one gets used to it, eMaps can be pretty useful.