As personal GPS and 3G become more common, the demand for online mapping technology is rising rapidly. Due to its size and complexity, Buenos Aires is a city in which nearly everyone carries a map. Whether you are living in Buenos Aires or just passing through, this guide is intended to help you get around the great city of Buenos Aires. The truth is, there’s still no substitute for a trusty Guia T in your pocket, but th ere are many instances in which I find myself looking online for directions somewhere or simply to get an idea of distances between points in the city. Below, you will find a review of three different online map service options: Google Maps, Como Viajo, and Mapas Clarin.
Google Maps (www.maps.google.com):
Pros: Good for tourists and students because it’s in English, offers three viewing options: map, satellite image, and terrain, offers directions for cars and walking, easy to print and send links of maps.
Cons: Bus and subway routes are absent, no street view (yet)
Como Viajo (www.comoviajo.com):
Pros: Designed with ground transportation in mind, asks you whether you want to get from point A to point B by Car, Taxi, Subway, Bus, or train, cell-phone support through SMS messages, offers the ability to look up museums, shopping malls, monuments etc. and have them appear on a map in relation to your location, essentially an online Guia T.
Cons: Map quality is relatively low, you can’t navigate by dragging, no English language support, limited to greater Buenos Aires, Bus directions are not always correct.
Mapas Clarin (http://mapasweb.clarin.com):
Pros: Simple interface, covers the entire country, shows subway lines, options include shortest route, fastest route, and walking route, full-screen view is nice, cool clickable buttons for museums, supermarkets, stadiums etc after you’ve entered an address.
Cons: No buses, no names of the subway stops, site doesn’t always work.
The Verdict: It’s quite hard to pick the best one of these services because they all bring different things to the table. Google Maps is fast, easy, and familiar while Como Viajo is custom-tailored to Buenos Aires. Mapas Clarin is great for its simplicity. I think that if you are a student who is traveling or doing a study abroad program in Argentina, it’s probably easiest to use google maps. But if you speak Spanish and want some useful information that google can’t provide, then the other two may suit your needs better.
Are there any other map services that you use? Let us know in the comments.