Google maps: the five best everyday tricks for the map service

The Google Maps app has become a permanent everyday and travel companion for most smartphone users. Many users have no idea how helpful the app can actually be. These tips will make your life much easier.

1. Save data with offline function

Anyone who wants to use Google Maps to find their way around a foreign environment or needs the app for navigation needs mobile access to the Internet to do so. This can be a problem abroad, for example. And frequent users will also notice that the Google app noticeably melts down their own data volume.

Google Maps Five practical everyday tips

Happy young woman using smartphone in the city model released symbol photo PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxHUNxONLY BSZF01361 (Source: imago images/Westend61)

(Source: Jan Molleken)

(Source: Jan Molleken)

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The solution for these problems is called "offline maps". With it certain map sections are simply stored on the cell phone. You can look at the map or navigate without having to transfer a single bit of data.

To save a section, tap on the user icon and then on "Offline maps". About "Choose your own map one comes to the map view. Everything that can be seen inside the blue box will be saved on the device. The box can be moved around and made larger or smaller as desired.

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Google Maps (Source: imago images/Joko)

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In the lower screen area it is indicated in each case, how much storage space is occupied for it on the device. The offline map does not offer the full range of functions – such as restaurant recommendations. But searching for destinations and navigating to them works smoothly within the offline map sections.

2. Using bus and train with Maps

Those who want to use public transportation on the road will also face major challenges with the smartphone. First you have to find a suitable app or website, in foreign countries this is – if at all – often only usable in English. And even within Germany, the search for the right offer is a pain in the ass.

This doesn’t have to be the case, because Google Maps can provide information in the same way. To do this, first select the destination via the search window in the upper display area or by tapping it directly on the map. Then select the menu field "Route" at the bottom of the screen. In the menu area that now opens, route options are offered. In addition to a car symbol, there is a pedestrian, a bicycle, a figure calling for a cab – and a stylized suburban train.

If you tap on it, Google searches for the fastest route using public transport. Even the way to the stops can be displayed.

3. Share your location with others

Anyone who is on vacation or on an excursion with friends or family will be familiar with this situation: One group would rather go shopping, a second sightseeing and the third would rather look for a nice cafe. Until now, a common meeting point and a time had to be set. If you wanted to change your plans afterwards, you had to be prepared for tedious phone calls or long waits at the meeting point.

Google offers a practical alternative here: location sharing. This way you can appear as a small dot on the Google Maps map of your fellow travelers. The location is constantly updated – of course, you can decide for yourself who can see the location and for how long.

To activate the function, select the menu icon and then the sub-item "Location sharing". Then, the first step is to set how long you want to share your location with other people before the transmission is automatically stopped. Alternatively, "Until deactivated" can also be used can be selected.

In a second step, you have to specify with which people the location should be shared. This specifies the Gmail address with which the person in question is logged into Google Maps. Unfortunately the feature does not work without such a login.

4. Remember the parking space

In your own hometown, it may be trivial to remember where you parked your car – in a foreign city, it’s often not so easy. Google offers assistance here as well. Once you have parked the car, you open Google Maps and tap on the blue dot that marks your location. In the following menu it is enough to tap on "Save as parking lot" Select.

If you want to find the parking lot again later, just tap the search bar at the top of the screen. "Parking lot is automatically displayed as a suggestion.

By the way, this parking information can also be provided with practical additional information. If you tap on the parking symbol again, you can add notes or a photo – for example the parking number in the parking garage. It is also possible to set how long the parking meter runs.

The timer counts down the time automatically, so you always know when you have to be back at the car again. And of course you can share your parking space with other Google Maps users, so they can find your car, too.

5. Find destinations

If you find yourself in a foreign city and don’t have a travel guide with you, all you have to do is open Google Maps. Tap on the "Explore" icon, opens a map with some suggestions. Many people probably know that restaurants can be found in the vicinity – but with a tap on "More" you can find the parking space again later open up many more options.

ATMs, pharmacies, garages, but also museums, libraries or parks in the area can be tracked down this way. Usually Google delivers opening times and prices by a further tap on the individual hits, in many cases tickets can even be bought directly via Google Maps.

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If you scroll down the individual map of an attraction further, you will also find helpful information such as peak times and, of course, ratings from other users.

All this works not only in the immediate vicinity. You can search for any region in the world, tap on a city district and plan your own vacation trip in advance.

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