Question: Small-town Directions?

Jeff’s getting married, and he needs to provide directions to the wedding’s small-town location.

We’re getting ready to order and send out invitations for our wedding, which will be in a small town in Wisconsin. None of the mapping sites do all that good a job mapping these smaller towns. Is there any software out there you’d recommend to create your own maps — maybe some freeware or shareware? I’ve been to numerous out-of-town weddings where it’s a wonder we made it to them with the maps that were sent with the invites. We’d like to make it a bit easier on our guests and send them something so they won’t get lost. Any insight would be quite helpful. Thanks.

I live in a small town myself, and I’m actually surprised to find how much detail there is on the online mapping sites: my town’s streets are named; directions work. So my experience isn’t necessarily as bad as Jeff’s. It may depend on what each of us is expecting from online maps. Generally speaking, I don’t think you’re going to be able to get the detail you need from a printout of a web page: giving people a URL — or even creating something with one of the mapping APIs — might be more helpful.

The best directions, in my experience, aren’t necessarily computer generated. A photocopy of the relevant section of a paper map, or even a hand drawn map, might be more effective than printing something from Yahoo! or Google, particularly if they’re accompanied by a detailed set of directions. (I’ve provided such directions to people visiting me, and they’ve been able to find me with ordinary highway maps.)

But — my generalities aside — does anyone have any more specific (and, presumably, better) advice for Jeff?