Google Maps

Last Wednesday, dad was admitted into his local hospital with congestive heart failure. That name alone is pretty scary. I've been away from home sitting with him while he started his recovery. I've been watching his vitals go up and down, have been eating only the best foods the candy machine has to offer, have seen family that I haven't seen in some time, and have enjoyed the Professor Xavier lounge chair in his room quite a bit. (Seriously, the Prof X chair ROCKS!)

Anyway, waking up every 2 - 4 hours with dad has helped delay my writing. I started to write about Techno Tools I Use While Traveling, but since I'm not a big traveler, the post would have the same impact as a diaper in the ocean. I quickly realized that my top tools were Google Maps based. So here are my favorite things about Google Maps.

1. Variety of Maps - There is so much one can do with Google Maps. The first, best use of it of course is for finding addresses. I can type in an address and see it on a street map, view it from a satellite, look at a topographical map, or even view the address from actual pictures from the street. It's great to view the unknown place that I'm going to and recognize it when I get there. The picture included here is a sweet 3D Google Earth view of downtown Austin.

2. Google History - I'm having way too many issues with my MyTouch Google phone to be anywhere near happy with it, but there is one great thing about it. Doing a Google search for an address and finding that location will save it to my Google history. So, when I open up Google Maps on my Google phone, I can type the first few letters or numbers and the previously-found address comes up quickly as a search term. It's a great time saver!

3. Map Directions - I'm sitting in South Austin and wanting to get to the Fado Irish Pub downtown. I hit the Get Directions link in Google Maps and get the option to put in a beginning and ending address. Now, I can see a map with directions, turn by turn and even an estimated travel time.

But did you see the 'Also Available' links? I can also get Public Trans directions with schedule times and everything. What a great way to save resources and be able to easily find trans routes.

4. My Maps - Probably my favorite Maps feature, saving maps is a great way to keep track of locations that you have found. Create directions, find several places, or whatever and hit the Save To My Maps link at the bottom. The next time you need them, they are already there.

Give Google Earth a shot and create maps that include photos and html coding. When you save those maps, they can go right into Google Maps as well. Once in My Maps, share that map with friends and the world. 

5. Now, while not a feature of Google Maps, using Google Maps on a smart phone takes all of these features on the road with you. Now, directions to a place will give you live turn by turn directions on your GPS enabled phone. Researching your trip on your laptop and saving to My Maps now means no need to print out your work. You have it where ever you go.

So, while Google isn't going to save the Earth from mountain-sized asteroids falling from deep space, it will quite possibly help you find the crater afterward or create your own map of near-earth-ending asteroid collisions.
1 Response
  1. Red Says:

    Hope your dad gets better soon. CHF at any age can be scary for both the patients and the people who love them.

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