The folks over on LiveSide
have announced some coming changes to the popular online mapping service, Live Search Maps
. To begin, the two search boxes have been combined into one box and moved over to the left with the links to search Businesses, People, Collections, and Locations below it. The links to the Welcome page, Directions, Collections, Notes, Share, and PrintAs have moved as well, now over towards the top-right side of the page. These moves give more room to the map itself as the header is no longer getting in the way.
Another major improvement that I am really looking forward to is the new ability to compress either the beginning or end of a set of driving directions. For example, although I need to make 4 turns to get on the highway from my house, I do not need those turns spelled out for me when I'm getting directions from point A to point B. This feature will let me condense that into one step as opposed to showing turn-by-turn directions for each of those steps. Not only does this make the directions easier to read at a glance while driving, it has the added "green" benefit of conserving paper.
Next up is the "1-click directions" feature. If you are providing directions to others when you are hosting an event, the attendees will be coming from multiple starting points. The 1-click directions feature will show directions to the endpoint from the North, South, East, and West. These major routes are shown as well as alternative routes coming from the same direction, if there are multiple ways to arrive. Another good use of this feature is providing directions to your customers to help them locate your business.
Finally, other improvements include the ability to re-route directions to miss bad traffic, icons to the left of the driving directions showing arrows and other symbols for turns and start/endpoints, and bolded text for the turns and street names, making the directions much easier to follow when you're in traffic.