7 Lesser Known Things Google Maps Can Do

There are now 150 million users of Google Maps mobile. In itself, this is already a big number. But to put things into perspective, this impressive number is only 40% of all users of this revolutionary service.

So, what makes Google Maps so useful? For the first time in man’s history, getting around in strange locales is not as daunting as it once was. Now you can plan vacations well ahead of time and even familiarize yourself with what’s there waiting for you. You can look at pictures of your destination and immediately identify the entrance when you get there. There are countless uses to the information Google Maps can give us and the following list will show you how to make the most out of it.

It can be a viable alternative to GPS.

There can be times wherein all you have to go by is a street sign. Sure, you can just type in a street address into Google and get a few leads, but sometimes, this information is not available. Google Maps mobile can give you your approximate location when your mobile device doesn’t have a GPS feature.

As with all current mobile technologies, your phone needs to connect with a tower in order to make a call or send a text message. Because cellular towers are stationary, Google Maps then uses this information to determine your whereabouts. It can’t pinpoint your exact location since it’s just using calculations based on the above information. Rather, it gives you a radius of where you are most likely located. Sure it’s inferior to the real thing, but it’s better than nothing and can serve as a good backup in a strange city.

It’s a great tool for photography.

Street view is a great way of knowing about photo opportunities when visiting a place for the first time. You can also see pictures people have taken of famous landmarks. Now that more and more cameras are capable of tagging pictures with GPS coordinates, Google Maps is becoming more and more photographer-friendly. Add the fact that you can clearly see where’s East or West and you planning for great sunset or sunrise shots is now made easier.

It’s a great addition to your blog or website.

You can add a professional-looking map to your brick-and-mortar business for free. If you know how to embed a YouTube video, you can embed a Google map.Instead of making cumbersome sketches yourself, just locate your business in Google Maps and look for the URL that you can paste onto your site. Those with web pages that accept embed tags also has the option of using a code to embed the information. Food blogs will be more useful as you show people where to get the new find you are raving about.

Mashups for special interests and niche uses.

Google Maps gives people the ability to add information and customize the maps to a great extent. Movie buffs will get a kick out of visiting famous locations or the future birthplaces of fictional characters. You can play trivia with your friends and try to outdo each other in finding or identifying different locations. There are as many mashups as there are hobbies and special interests. The geek factor alone makes it more than worth it.

You can measure distance in a pinch.

Just use the Distance Measurement Tool. To use, click the blue ruler. Click your starting point, then click your destination. Handy for measuring and plotting morning jogs, or just for finding out how far famous places are to your home.

It can be an extension of your memory.

Found a great new place to eat? How about cheaper gas? You can even tag places that don’t accept credit cards and come armed with cash next time. With Google Maps, you can save locations that you frequent and increase your efficiency in getting around.

Speaking of getting around, most people are only familiar with Google Maps as a source of driving instructions. What many don’t know is that it also provides precise walking and public transportation information. For a city like New York or Hong Kong, just click “More” and then check off “Transit”. Google Maps will display subway, train, and bus routes, as well as all the stops. You’ll get to your destination faster than driving there.

Technology is indeed making the world a smaller place. With services like Google Maps, getting lost could soon become a thing of the past. It’s fast becoming a fixture of our daily lives and we are becoming more productive because of it.

Guest Post by Daniela Baker, helps shoppers find credit cards to apply for at CreditDonkey, a credit comparison website. 

Filed under: Google
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November 30, 2011 by: Prasanth Chandra

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