SmartyPins

How this small town girl helped a hip New Yorker

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a few days in New York City. I was tagging along for fun while my husband attended a conference. As soon as we settled into our hotel, I went on my iPhone to search for the subway map. I like walking and using the subway in NYC on my own during the daytime, and I wanted to map out my routes for my activities.

Somehow, I figured out that Google Maps for the iPhone would show me all the subway lines and provide walking and subway directions for any place I was going. I was thrilled. Having a newish iPhone 5, I had not downloaded Google Maps yet. (Remember, Apple recently opted to ship new iPhones with its own maps app instead of Googles’.) I quickly downloaded the free Google Maps from the App store and began exploring the routes I would take to museums, restaurants and shopping.

Like any maps or navigation program, you enter a destination name or address and request a route from either your current location or a different address that you enter. With Google Maps and public transportation in a city like New York, you simply select from a variety of options and, voilà, detailed walking and subway instructions are at your fingertips.

If you’ve ever ridden a subway, you know that choosing the direction of the train you are boarding can be confusing among the rush of the crowd. The final station for each train is the only posted directional, and subway map posters are not easy to read. The Google Maps subway route instructions clearly spell out the final train stations, the number of stops before you get off, and show the walking parts of your route on a map.

While waiting on a subway platform one evening in Greenwich Village, an attractive young lady who was obviously going out on the town was struggling with her iPhone and asked us for help. Because her destination was near ours and I had total confidence in my Google Maps directions, I was able to help her make it to her party. Plus, she was happy to learn that all she needed to do for her future subway excursions was to download Google Maps for the iPhone.

You may not have a need for public transportation routes on a regular basis, but Google Maps is now one of my favorite sightseeing tools for exploring new places, whether by foot, car or public transportation.

How to Use Google Maps for the iPhone/iPad

  • Once you have downloaded Google Maps to your iPhone/iPad, touch the Google-Maps-Icon-36x36 icon to open it.
  • Enter your destination address or place.
  • Google Maps will show your destination on the map and the address at the bottom.

Getting Directions By Car

  • To the right of your address, you will see one of the following: Google-Maps-Car  Google-Maps-Public-Transit  Google-Maps-Walker (for car, mass transit or walking directions)
  • Touch the one that you see.
  • If it’s not the Google-Maps-Car, touch the Google-Maps-Car when the next screen appears.
  • Choose a starting point for your directions by touch My location.
  • Either enter an address in the top field and select from the locations listed, or touch My location to use your current location. For audio driving directions, it works best if you use My location as your starting point.
  • If you want to avoid highways or toll road, touch Route options. Otherwise, you don’t need to go into Route options.
  • Google Maps will list one or more routes.
  • Select one and the map will appear with your selected route in blue.
  • Press Start to begin audio navigation.
  • To return to your list of routes, touch the From/To box at the top of the map.

Getting Directions By Walking

  • To the right of your address, you will see one of the following: Google-Maps-Car  Google-Maps-Public-Transit  Google-Maps-Walker (for car, mass transit or walking directions)
  • Touch the one that you see.
  • If it’s not the Google-Maps-Walker, touch the Google-Maps-Walker when the next screen appears.
  • Choose a starting point for your directions by touch My location.
  • Either enter an address in the top field and select from the locations listed, or touch My location to use your current location.
  • Google Maps will list one or more routes.
  • Select one and the map will appear with your selected route in blue.
  • Currently, walking directions are not in audio. You have two options:
    • To visually see your route touch Preview and then the top right ‘>’ repeatedly.
    • For written walking directions, touch the left side of the route bar at the bottom.
  • Once you are walking, you can follow your moving blue dot along the route.

Getting Directions By Public Transportation (Local Train and Bus)

  • To the right of your address, you will see one of the following: Google-Maps-Car  Google-Maps-Public-Transit  Google-Maps-Walker (for car, mass transit or walking directions)
  • Touch the one that you see.
  • If it’s not the Google-Maps-Public-Transit, touch the Google-Maps-Public-Transit when the next screen appears.
  • Choose a starting point for your directions by touch My location.
  • Either enter an address in the top field and select from the locations listed, or touch My location to use your current location.
  • Google Maps will list one or more routes.
  • Select one and the map will appear with your selected route in blue.
  • On the right lower edge of the map, you will see three vertical dots. Touch the dots.
  • Touch Public transit to see all public transportation routes overlaid on the map.
  • Touch the route bar on the bottom. Written directions for boarding the correct transit, number of stops and walking portions will be listed.
  • You can also follow your progress on the map via your moving blue dot.

Extra Options

  • To place your current position on the map, touch the arrow on the bottom left.
  • To see current traffic conditions, touch the three vertical dots, and then Traffic.
  • To see Satellite view with roads, touch the three vertical dots, and then Satellite.
  • To see Google Earth view, touch the three vertical dots and then Google Earth. If you haven’t installed the Google Earth app, you will be prompted to do so. Google Earth is fun, but not a good choice for directions.

 

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