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aug 28 2008

A new 3-D map that's cute but hard to use

Remember the pinkie ring with the "winking" eye you sometimes found inside a Cracker Jack box? Well, the "lenticular printing" technology that enabled that "eye" to change as you looked at it from different angles has now come to maps. A company called Urban Mapping has debuted maps for Manhattan and Chicago. At first glance, each map shows a standard subway map. Move the map and you can see a street-level view. Move it again and the names of separate neighborhoods, such as Chicago's Streeterville and Greektown, appear.

Unfortunately, when I tested one of the maps on a sidewalk on a bright sunny day, I had a hard time reading the street view. I couldn't imagine paying the $20 retail price for it if I needed a pocket street map. But you may feel differently. Learn more about the maps, and where to buy one, at Panamap.com.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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