Among the web's most successful ventures to date have been search engines, which astutely guide disorientated netizens through the back streets of cyberspace.
By comparison, the web's terrestrial map services remain clumsy and mundane in the way they squire you from A to B. But they're working on it.
To glimpse the road under construction, do a wide detour around the ineptly designed www.streetmap. co.uk and head instead for multimap.com, which claims to be one of the UK's 10 most visited sites and which makes its money by running advertisements and leasing services to others.
The site is laid out with clear, simple navigation, and includes both national and world maps. Visitors start their search either by typing in their destination address or by clicking on a sub-area of a UK map. You may print out the maps or the aerial photographs that accompany them (now there's an innovation), both of which are surprisingly helpful.
Yet mere maps make the user do all the work. What we need most are accurate 'driving directions', informed by live traffic reports, phone directories and current travel-guide information, all neatly packed into WAP devices for hand or car. By this measure, the elementary directions offered on multimap.com still have quite a ways to go.