Just because Google is pervasive doesn't mean it's always the best option
Proxi has a few competitors in the web-based mapping sphere. The most well known is Google My Maps, a branch of Google Maps that allows users to add points to their own maps. For many applications, Google My Maps is too simplistic and uncollaborative.
Google’s suite has become ubiquitous for users, but just because Google is pervasive doesn’t mean it’s always the best option.
Google My Maps provides very limited customization functionality for their user maps, with a very small color palette and range of icons. When they only give users 30 color options, your aesthetic choices are greatly reduced. You can’t use your favorite color, or upload your custom brand color palette. The base map options are also highly limited, and not tailored to specific uses: maps either auto populate every road and business, or none at all.
Color Selection Options on Google My Maps
Color selection tool on Proxi
Google My Maps also lacks variety in their choice of icons, which is fine for some uses but it allows for a more narrow range of map variables. Proxi has a vast catalog of icons to choose from, even with different designs for the same category if you’re making a map that has to chart multiple versions of the same thing.
Google My Maps icon finder tool
Proxi icon finder tool
Access and Collaboration Features
Viewing and collaborating on a map
Google My Maps is uncollaborative. Its sharing interface is difficult to understand, and even harder to use. In order to collaborate on a map, both users need to be logged in to a Google account. And even then, access permissions are confusing to navigate. There is no button to share editing functions within the map creation interface; users have to save the map to their google drive before allowing editors. And even when shared and edited by multiple people, there is no way to differentiate what edits were made by which users, so the map owner has no easy way to moderate additions to their map. Users have complained about this feature, as maps can quickly get out-of-hand when anyone with the link can add whatever they want to the map.
Google My Maps share settings
Proxi mappers have a much easier time sharing and working together on maps. Functions on the map-making interface allow users to share a map publicly or privately via a personalized link (send to whomever you wish!), and the “crowdsource map points” button makes it easy to invite collaborators from a variety of platforms at the click of a button. Owners can select if they’d like to approve map points before they appear on the map, and can even collect date elements for points, which inform users what date a point was added to the map.
Proxi also provides valuable analytics for map owners. Proxi provides analytics in your map dashboard, giving owners information on the # of views their map got, and the # of clicks for each individual point. Owners can enable ‘liking’ points on a map, which displays points that map viewers and contributors have chosen to ‘like’. This gives mappers key insight into which points are the most and least popular.
Example of Proxi’s map analytics
Time to try out Proxi
Google Maps was an initial innovator in the web-based mapping discipline, but their successes lie in the atlas of information stored in Google Maps, not on the user-creation side. Google My Maps tries to capitalize on the need for customizable maps, but fails on many fronts. It might be good for single-use, simple maps, where users don’t need to worry about the aesthetics or sharing privileges of their map. But when these functions don’t suffice, or mappers just want a more streamlined, user-friendly interface, they should turn to other mapping sites like Proxi.