Get There Faster – 10 Google Maps & Navigation Tips

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google maps iphone ios logo 300   Get There Faster   10 Google Maps & Navigation TipsGoogle Maps is still the most powerful mapping service ever, despite what Apple might say. Whether you’re using Google Maps in a browser on your desktop or an app on your mobile phone, Google Maps is packed with useful features, some of which are a bit hidden.

Even better, the Google Maps app works in concert with the Google Maps website on your computer, allowing you to find directions on your computer and quickly view them on your phone.

Google Maps Sync

If you have Google Web History enabled, Google Maps will now remember the directions you’ve searched for. If you search for directions on your computer, you can pick up your phone and view your searches under My Places –> Recent in the Google Maps app. You can tap the directions to view them on your phone without typing in the location names again.

A list of recent direction searches is also available on the Google Maps website under My Places.

android google maps recent searches   Get There Faster   10 Google Maps & Navigation Tips

View Live Traffic

Google Maps allows you to display live traffic details on the map, allowing you to take current traffic into account when planning your route. This data is not available in all cities worldwide.

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To view live traffic, hover over the Satellite icon in the top-right corner of the Google maps view and click Traffic. This feature also works in the mobile apps.

google maps live traffic   Get There Faster   10 Google Maps & Navigation Tips

Change a Route

If you don’t like the route Google Maps suggests, you can click any point on the map and drag it elsewhere. This allows you to change the route if you want to avoid a street or take a more scenic route.

google maps drag to change route4   Get There Faster   10 Google Maps & Navigation Tips

Plan a Route With Multiple Destinations

If you need to make multiple stops, use the Add Destination link to add each destination to the list. You can then drag and drop the letters to the left of each stop to re-order the list. Google will guide you to each stop in the order you specify, choosing the most efficient route.

image   Get There Faster   10 Google Maps & Navigation Tips

Customize Your Mode of Transit

Driving and walking directions should be available everwhere. Depending on your location, you may also have access to public transit and bicycling directions.

Each different type of directions selects the best route for your mode of travel. You can also select additional options by clicking the Show Options link on the page – for example, you can avoid highways or tolls when driving or select the type of transit mode – bus, subway, or light rail – when taking public transit.

For cycling directions, you’ll see a special map of the current location that displays the best cycling paths in dark green.

google maps cycling directions   Get There Faster   10 Google Maps & Navigation Tips

Use Google Now

If you have an Android device running Android 4.1 or later, Google Now integration makes Google Maps Sync even more powerful. When you perform a search for directions on your computer, the directions (and the estimated time it takes to reach the location) will be displayed in Google Now – assuming you have web history enabled. If Google knows your home and work locations, it will display the estimated time and route you should take to get to work or go home.

google now directions   Get There Faster   10 Google Maps & Navigation Tips

Create Your Own Maps

If you have a number of important locations, you can create your own custom maps. Just use the Create Map link under My Places on the Google Maps website. You can also use the Save to map link when viewing a location to save the location to the map. You can set a custom name for each location you save – such as “That awesome pizza place” – to make the map more meaningful to you. In addition to placemarks, saved maps can contain routes – lines drawn along the map.

Saved maps can be viewed on the web or in the Google Maps app on mobile. You can also share your saved maps with other people or even allow them to edit your map.

google maps custom map with route   Get There Faster   10 Google Maps & Navigation Tips

Edit Locations

If there’s inaccurate information on Google Maps – maybe a map marker is positioned in the middle of the street or a business has closed but is still mentioned on Google Maps – you can edit the map to fix these problems. Just use the Move Marker, Edit Details, or Report a Problem links under More while viewing the location.

edit google maps locations   Get There Faster   10 Google Maps & Navigation Tips

Locate Places Of Interest

If you’re travelling somewhere – or just want to find interesting locations right in your backyard – give Tourist Path a try. It will display parks, historical sites, and other places of interest on a custom Google Maps view.

tourist path4   Get There Faster   10 Google Maps & Navigation Tips

Find Precise GPS Coordinates

To determine the precise latitude and longitude coordinates of a location – particularly useful for some types of navigation software – use iTouchMap’s Latitude and Longitude tool. You can enter an address to view its latitude and longitude, get the latitude and longitude of any point on the map, or enter coordinates and view them on a Google map.

google maps latitude and longitude   Get There Faster   10 Google Maps & Navigation Tips

Do you have any other useful tips for Google Maps or Google Navigation? Share them in the comments below!

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17 Comments - Write a Comment


Brandon Lockaby

Google maps is the best! Easy to use, and read.



I use Google maps to embed into websites; I prefer doing this rather than using map images because the user can re-frame and adjust to suit their needs. The iTouchmaps lat/long tool is incredibly useful, when setting these up. Otherwise there is a lot of trial & error. Thanks!



I like Google Maps. I tried using the custom maps for a class project once. Had quite a learning experience with students using it. Can see the potential to do some cool things with it.



Nice Review


Charles Rachor

You can find GPS coordinates on the desktop version by simply right clicking anywhere on the map….on the menu that appears, there should be an option like, “what’s here?” or something similar. Once that’s selected, the coordinates should appear.



No mention of offline maps?



Greet tips


Brian Burke

I love Google Maps, but I have a question that I’m hoping someone here can help with. When I have to put in a “From” location from my computer, I keep looking for a button that says something like “current location.” Am I missing it? If not, why isn’t it there?

Tony Karakashian

Does your computer have GPS capabilities to tell Google Maps where you are?

Brian Burke

Is this a joke? Ever heard of wifi?

Tony Karakashian

Um, yeah. And? Unless Google has your AP indexed with coordinates, that doesn’t help any. When your phone is asking you to turn on wifi to assist with location, that’s what it’s doing. It sniffs for local SSIDs. If you’re near one, and it’s indexed, Google can then locate you fairly quickly to within a couple of hundred feet while your GPS receiver acquires a lock to narrow it down further.

Although, in theory, this could be used for your home computer, it wouldn’t be accurate enough for most people to make it worthwhile. Thus, there’s no fill button for the From box.

BTW, you’re pretty snippy for someone looking for help.

Brian Burke

Snippy to your arrogant, stupid, smart-ass initial reply. You acted like a cocky ass and you know you it. Furthermore, Google can tell me where my movie theaters are based on my location. I can track my laptop’s precise location based on it being on wifi only. It’s ODD that I wonder why Maps can’t do that?


Mitesh Budhabhatti

Sometimes I am confused between Google Map and Earth. How is google map different than earth?



Also a great GPS app is app2find – gps friend tracker. You can find your friends and family with it. And it has a great Augmented Reality feature with which you can search around you trough your camera


Stu Robinson

I rely on it heavily from my desktop and from my moble. What I (and apparently a lot of others) would love to see is the ability to creat a route, save it, then navigate that route on my moble. You can save a route and bring it up, but you can’t navigate with turn by turn for that route. Would be an awsome tool for bike routes (that are custom)

Barend Stapelberg

It WAS possible to “send” the custom route’s “link” to your email and open the link on your mobile but the links it generates does not give you the option anymore to use the Maps app on your mobile…

Since the new maps, the links just open in the mobile browsers…

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