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Creative Ways to Use Google Driving Directions
Using Google to get maps and driving directions is one of the best ways to take advantage of a massive free online resource available to each and every one of us. Google offers several advantages over other navigation assistance websites such as Mapquest.com and Yahoo Maps.
If you’re like me and you aren't always good with written directions, sometimes it helps to be able to visualize landmarks, intersections, and other important features along the way. Google makes this a reality by providing convenient visual snapshots of key points along the route so you know what to look for as you are approaching turns or a street address.
How many times have you been sent to look for a house or office and wondered things like whether it is one or two stories or what else is nearby? When you plan out your path with Google, you can see all of this information before you ever leave the house.
You still get the standard turn by turn instructions with distances and time estimates you have come to expect with an added level of detail that includes 360 degree panoramas from key waypoints. This is a great way to get a sneak preview of your destination before you arrive so you know what to look for along the way. Google makes it easy to print or email your directions so you can have them right at your fingertips when you need them.
How to Use Google Driving Directions
From the Google homepage, click on the link in the upper left hand corner labeled “Maps”. Again on the left side of your screen just below the famous Google logo, you will see a link titled “Get Directions”. Select that link and you will see two drop down fields labeled with a green A and B. Enter the address of your starting location in the field labeled as A, then enter your destination in the field labeled B. If you need to be more specific such as avoiding highways or toll roads, you can select the “Show options” link to make your selection before generating your route. Once you've filled out the appropriate information and made your choices, simply tap the button labeled “Get Directions” and your route will be displayed as an overlay on the map.
Want to do more? Here’s where the power of their unique navigation product really starts to get both fun and useful at the same time! At the top of the map, you will notice several white tabs with black text. From left to right, they will read traffic, more, map, satellite, and earth. By using these tabs, you can vary the look and style of your driving directions by adding powerful features like a satellite overlay to display local businesses and parking lots. This can be a major time and money saving feature if you are attending a concert or sporting event!
For me, one of the most frustrating things I could ever have to deal with when I’m travelling is traffic. Have you ever wished you could have known about that construction zone or traffic jam an exit or two sooner to avoid getting stuck for hours? Google put’s that information right in front of you with one simple button. Just select the “traffic” overlay tab and see live color coded traffic data for each section of your trip so you know which sections of roadway to avoid. That feature alone makes Google Maps my favorite website for getting driving directions online! In case that isn't enough, you can also save your maps for easy access anytime you need them or use them to locate webcams or real estate in your area! The list goes on and on but one thing is for sure; this is one of the best map resources you will ever find.
Additional Options for Navigation and Directions
Need something that will tell you where to go without having access to a computer? Auto navigation systems and portable GPS units can be another great way to help get where you are going. The prices on these devices have dropped dramatically over the past few years while the quality of the technology has been steadily improving.
Even if your vehicle didn't come with a navigation system direct from the factory, there are several great products on the market for as little as $100! At that price, it really is something that is worth owning; especially if you do a lot of driving.
Most of these devices are small and portable meaning you can easily take them with you on trips or move them from car to car without any professional installation being required. Some of the most popular GPS models include the Garmin Nuvi and the TomTom which both consistently get outstanding reviews from customers.
One of the best selling models currently on the market is the Garmin Nuvi 255W 4.3 inch widescreen portable GPS Navigator. This small, light-weight unit provides turn by turn driving directions and can accept directions directly from Google Maps using the “send link” feature. The convenient size makes it easy to carry in a pocket or tuck inside a purse. With a price point under $130 and the quality of one of the most-trusted navigation system manufacturers in the world, it is easy to see why this device continues to be so popular with consumers.
If you’d rather not add another electronic gadget to what you already have, you may want to consider the Magellan Premium Car Kit for the iPhone or iPod Touch. This handy kit instantly transforms your iPhone into a complete GPS navigation system with turn by turn navigation and an in-car charging dash mount. This kit will work with any navigation or location based app to provide voice guided driving directions from virtually anywhere.
Useful Websites for Getting Directions
- Yahoo! Maps, Driving Directions, and Traffic
Yahoo has another good resource for helping you plan out your next trip.
- Google Maps
Use Google maps to help you find your way to your destination.
- MapQuest Maps - Driving Directions
Use MapQuest for driving directions and maps. See local traffic and road conditions, find nearby businesses and restaurants, plus explore street maps and satellite photos.