Google Maps isn’t just about zooming in to see a route or getting directions. It offers a huge array of features to help you get a great deal done very efficiently. Here are a few Google Maps tips to get you started.
An asterisk in the search box
If you would like to be able to see every piece of information about a given area that Google Maps may have, all you need to do is to zoom in or out to the level you need, and then type an asterisk into the search box. When you hit Search , Google Maps will right away mark every place on the map that it has information on with a red dot. If you have the name of a specific place, neighborhood or street that you’d like information on, the asterisk trick can still be of use. You simply type in an asterisk, followed by the name of the place. You’ll know right away what locations in the area Google has information on.
The search box on Google Maps can do more than simply show you specific places. It can understand map-related searches, too. For instance, once you zoom into a sufficiently small area, typing in searches such as art galleries or schools can bring you results on the map.
When you type a starting point and destination into Google Maps, it always gives you the shortest route to take. Sometimes, though, you may not want the shortest route. You may want to avoid a place on the route provided, or take one through specific points elsewhere. For such needs, Google Maps makes rerouting easy.
Each time Google Maps draws a route between two locations, it marks out important points along the route with white dots. These dots are active points — they can be clicked on and dragged. Whatever point along Google’s preferred route you wish to see a change made to, you simply need to click on the dot and drag it to any location on the map that you would like your new route to take. Right away, Google will replan your route.
Google Maps allows you to save maps to use off-line for the times you don’t have access to the Internet. The way to save a map for off-line use, though, is hardly an obvious one. Once you get the entire area that you need on your screen, you need to type in the words OK Maps in the search box. When you hit Search , Google Maps will ask you if you would like to save the map.
Make corrections the way you see fit
Google Maps now has its Map Maker feature live in many countries. If you see a location that’s marked incorrectly — a store, a monument or anything else — Map Maker lets you make corrections. If you see a street on Google Maps that doesn’t mention the existence of a cycling path or a pedestrian or bus stop, for instance, you get to add this information in, too.