Designing route planner services that play well with paper

These days when you see someone wondering down the street looking lost, chances are they don’t have a shop-bought map in their hands – it’s much more likely they have a scrappy looking print-out from a web-based route planner service. And chances are they are looking very lost.

Take Google Maps for example – the directions they give you are completely linear. If you mess up on one step, you are completely lost as none of the steps are relevant to you anymore. And the maps it gives you are equally hopeless, only showing you the happy route, with little detail of the areas you so desperately need if you get lost.

What I want when I ask for directions on Google Maps is a series of high quality A4 maps that show me the route AND the surrounding area.

It’s like that film American Werewolf in London – “Don’t stray from the path, lads. Whatever you do, don’t stray from the path!