nmap is a utility for port scanning large networks, although it works fine for single hosts. The guiding philosophy for the creation of nmap was TMTOWTDI (There's More Than One Way To Do It). This is the Perl slogan, but it is equally applicable to scanners. Sometimes you need speed, other times you may need stealth. In some cases, bypassing firewalls may be required. Not to mention the fact that you may want to scan different protocols (UDP, TCP, ICMP, etc.).