When choosing an on-line driving route, from point A to Point B, a web map application returns turn-by-turn directions based on 1.) The application’s internal route engine and 2.) The application’s underlying map data. Across the Internet you will find variations in driving directions from application to application. The variation comes in part from differences in the route engine logic and from differences in map data source details.
Some routing engines haven’t been updated in a while. These are complex programs that can be expensive to maintain. As map data options become more detailed, routing engines may need to be updated to take advantage of the new attribution in the map data. Thus some web mapping services become better than others.
About two years ago, Google Maps began placing my home address inaccurately. I know they changed some of their map data sources, so that might have been the cause. I checked and it’s back to the right location today. At any rate, the accuracy of map data and routing logic is not static – it changes. And for the record, no map engine is perfect. The best are about 95% accurate, the worst – well, you might be late for your interview.
An optimized route is generated by a route service that takes into consideration variables in the underlying map data; variables that reflect reality. Examples of these variables include: road speeds, road classifications (major highway, back road), turn restrictions, as well as one-ways and two ways. An optimized route will provide a route that minimizes the distance or minimizes the time required to complete the route. Not all web mapping engines offer an optimized route based on map data variables. Some simply compile routes from various map engines and offer the shortest route option.
A multi-stop optimized route provides an optimized route across multiple destinations or stops. Multi-stop route functionality is rare within on-line services. Make sure to ask if the optimized route is multi-stop. The big advantage of multi-stop routing is that it removes human decision making from the route creation process and provides the best route, across multiple stops based on computer logic applied to map data.
Future optimized routing capabilities will include real-time routing optimization that considers traffic, construction, and emergencies.
Ad Alert. SpatialTEQ’s http://healthcare.mapbusinessonline.com/ provides a truly optimized route with multi-stop functionality. The maps are visually compelling, accurate and based on the latest up-to-date map data releases. We’ve added the ability to manage route stop ordering based on your client priorities, and options that incorporate customer work flows.
Esri’s www.ArcGIS.com on-line maps, the source for SpatialTEQ’s Map Business Online web-map, take advantage of the latest map data releases from the major map data providers. Esri’s web-map engine is meticulously maintained to provide accurate routing logic and the best cartographic map representation possible: http://www.esri.com/news/arcuser/0112/make-maps-people-want-to-look-at.html.
Mapping, routing, GIS, and GPS tools are what Esri and SpatialTEQ do – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.