Google Maps’ New “Typical Traffic” Route Planning Feature

Google Maps has just introduced a new feature that I have been patiently awaiting for several years now — Route planning with typical traffic conditions!

Route planning allows you to plot a course between two points and not just with current traffic but with typical traffic for various times during the week and day. Previously, you could only see current traffic conditions, which was not very helpful if you were trying to plan your trip to the airport a week in advance.

Continue reading “Google Maps’ New “Typical Traffic” Route Planning Feature”

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How to Use Google Maps to Map a Run

Everyone uses Google Maps. It is one of the most pervasive applications out there for finding your way around. What many people don’t know is that Google Maps can be used not just for mapping car and transit routes but can also be used for mapping bike trails and running courses.

There are ways to use Google Maps to map a run itself, however, I found the easiest way to accomplish this was to use a tool called Google Map Pedometer. Google Map Pedometer extends Google Maps to make it very easy to map a route. I’ll take you through the steps:

  1. Type in a location on the location bar to get to the area you want to create a route for.
  2. Double click to add a pointer to the map where you would like to begin your route.
  3. Double click to add another point further on in your route.
  4. You can undo the last point you placed or reset the whole route altogether, if you make a mistake.
  5. You can then opt to save your route.

That’s it! It is super simple and intuitive. Other important things to note is that it automatically keeps track of the distance you have mapped in either miles or kilometers; perfect for map out a 5KM run or a half marathon if you so choose.

One thing that I found was particularly impressive (just a feature of Google Maps, I presume) is the ability to plot a route through bike paths and trails as well as roads (see the main blog post image). Google Maps is now very impressive for mapping areas other than roads too.

It is strange that Google hasn’t developed these tools yet given how useful they are. Then again, I suppose Google has other things to worry about — like mapping the globe. No big deal.

Give it a try. I know it will personally be my go-to site for any running routes I create going forward. Did you find it easy to use?

Map Pedometer | http://www.mappedometer.com/

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Google Maps for the iPhone (iOS 6)

There was a tremendous backlash against Apple when they removed Google Maps from the iPhone when they released iOS 6, and for good reason. Google Maps was an extremely polished app that single-handedly justified owning a smartphone. After weeks of struggling with Apple Maps and plenty of boiling-over hatred, Google Maps was finally re-introduced on for iOS 6 and calmed the masses.

“Yes I have all the Maps in the world at my fingertips and can get directions anywhere virtually instantly. Also, it’s very accurate (unlike Apple Maps).”

The first thing I noticed was the difference in speed. It was hard to judge how much of the speed improvement was as a result of the newly streamlined app, as opposed to the difference in phone speed in general since I had just upgraded from the iPhone 4 to the iPhone 5. Likely a little bit of both. The speed improvements are a result of Google’s newly incorporated WebGL technologies that dynamically draw the map instead of downloading new image squares every time you zoom in.

Click here to learn more about Google Maps with WebGL and discover how to enable it for desktop Google Maps as well.

A number of new features also came with the app — features that were once available only on the Android version. The biggest feature addition was turn by turn navigation. The TomTom’s of the world are in serious trouble now, as anyone with either an Android or iOS device can now use their phone as a full GPS. I have only used the feature a handful of times but it seems to be deadly accurate, unlike the ridiculous hilarity of Apple Maps.

I am still most impressed by the overall speed of the app. Zooming in and out happens almost instantly — an enormous improvement from the old days of watching giant gray boxes float on screen while the rest of the image squares were being downloaded. Searching for directions also happens instantly which has always blown my mind. To think that Google’s servers can receive the address information, match it up with their index and automatically suggest a route which is then draw in half a second on the app is beyond me. Switching transportation methods provides new directions just as quickly (mind explosion!)

Google Maps also provides several available routes each time you request a route. This is great because you can make on-the-fly decisions about different routes if there is a reason you want to avoid a particular street or area. I never find myself choosing an alternative route though, since the route it recommends is always the best — perfectly accounting for traffic, road speeds etc.

Having recently jailbroken my iPhone 5 and downloaded the new Google Maps, I am very content 🙂

Google Maps App iOS 6 Screenshots