Rand McNally has been a leading map producer since the mid-1800s. Many of us know the brand by its big pull-down maps that hang in elementary school classrooms. Rand McNally Online Maps is a service that provides area maps, driving directions and trip-planning resources. This service is one of the most useful for planning adventures and local navigation.
The homepage does not immediately display a map and instead shows a set of options for searching the maps. From here, you can ask for directions, a map of an area, the distance between two points on a map by address or help planning a trip.
The trip-planning feature is unique to this site, and it helps you create a custom itinerary. The layout is simple enough that even new users can figure out how to begin searching maps, and as you progress, you can take advantage of other options and features.
Rand McNally makes it exceptionally easy to get driving directions from any airport in the U.S.; you simply click on Airport and type in the city or airport name. From there, you must input an exact destination address to plan your driving route. When you start building your map, you can select your trip settings, including fastest route and shortest distance, and you can even choose to travel by bicycle. You can also avoid highways, toll roads and unpaved roads.
You use the directional arrows to browse your map. When you double click the map, it re-centers itself around your marked location. When you’re done, you can print or email your map. Registered users can also save maps, set a default location and keep track of past maps.
The company specializes in printed maps for education, reference and wall art. There are links for purchasing maps from the map store on the site.
Rand McNally has a set of FAQs for new users. There is also a blog full of articles on various topics, many of which are not map related. If you need to report a problem with one of your maps, there is a link at the very bottom of the page.
Rand McNally Online Maps is most notable for its Plan a Trip feature that allows you to search an area and map out an entire trip with all stops included. The integration of airport listings makes it even easier to plan an out-of-town trip starting from your arrival at the airport. However, the driving directions don’t always take you along the most efficient routes, and you cannot edit the routes. This site is a great source for map prints, and the map store can provide you with foldable city and state maps and decorative custom map prints.