Why Mapping Software?
Travel & map software helps you to create precise customized maps for traveling to your next appointment, summer vacation or off–road trip with confidence.
Unlike online driving direction services or traditional travel atlases and topography maps, Mapping Software offers clever features that can change the way you travel. Features like, Points of Interest (POI), which enables you to add or search for special stopping points, GPS compatibility or safety tools like real-time tracking, voice navigation and contact information for local emergency services.
Handy draw tool features let you easily insert images, text or Internet links to personalize maps that you can share or keep for yourself. These draw tools can also mark trails or planned travel routes; some allow you to draw multiple routes on the same map.
Mapping software allows you to explore endless possibilities—on the road, on the trail, and on the computer.
If you have a trip to plan or to create a custom map, please see the TopTenREVIEWS side–by–side comparisons, comprehensive reviews, and articles related to travel to start your adventure in the right direction. At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don't Have To.™
Mapping Software: What to Look For
We reviewed two types of travel mapping software for this site—street travel and topography based programs—and provided separate awards to each category.
Street Travel Mapping Software—focuses on driving directions and points of interests. Typically, the maps will include city grids, roads and highways, and contact information for local attractions.
Topography–Based Travel Mapping Software—is for people who plan to travel into the wilderness by foot or off–road vehicle. Usually the programs include topo maps or cartography tools with elevation data and terrain information.
Before choosing mapping software, identify your needs. Are you going to use mapping software to build complex topography maps with manually plotted routes? Do you need to track business travel expenses? Or perhaps, have you promised to plan a glitch-free family vacation?
Once you know how you plan to use mapping software, then you can decide what features you need, how much customization power you want for your maps and how much time you plan to spend to learn the software.
When evaluating what mapping software program is best for you, consider the following criteria that TopTenREVIEWS used to rate the programs:
Ease of Use
Mapping software should require little, if any, expertise to navigate and use the features and tools needed to create a map.
First, determine your mode of travel then search the software features to find the program best suited for you - street or topo. Features vary widely for each type of software. Overall, precision and customization are key.
Ease of Setup
Mapping software should be easy to setup and install. No special degree required.
Manufacturers that make contacting their customer service easy and timely are important. Indexing and search functions for help and support are ideal.
Personal customization of maps is the difference between mapping software and traditional maps. Software that allows photo, illustration, note attachments and draw tools can take your trip planning to a new level.
Points of Interest (POI)
Locations and sites, such as historical landmarks, entertainment centers, rest stops, and restaurants appear as icons along a given map route. Many mapping programs allow you to choose which types of icons you want to display and have contact information for local services.
Traveling can be dangerous, especially in unfamiliar areas. Look for mapping software programs with features to keep you on track and offer contact information to access up-to-date travel information.