- Aug 11, 2010
Searching for and Viewing Locations
Mapping is all about locations, of course. You can use your iPad to search for locations, mark them, and view them in several modes, including in Street View.
Finding Your Current Location and Showing the Compass
For mapping and directions, it's very important to see where you are—or, at least, where the Maps app thinks you are! Follow these instructions to find yourself on the map:
- Tap the Maps app to open and start it.
- Tap the compass icon in the Maps app's status bar at the top of the screen. This re-centers the map on your current location, which is shown by a blue dot.
- To get information about your current location, tap the blue dot. A brief description of your current location appears.
- To see a fuller description of your current location, press the "i" in the brief description. A fuller description of your current location displays, with options, as shown in Figure 10.1. These options are described in the section "Finding Directions and Businesses."
Figure 10.1 The Maps app gives you many options for each location.
- To see your current location in Street View, press the Street View icon. Your location appears as described in the following section.
- To show a digital compass, press the compass icon again. The map updates to show a compass icon and the direction of North, as shown in Figure 10.2 (shown in Terrain view, described later in this lesson). Hold the iPad flat to see which way the compass is facing and find North. Text labels appear sideways unless you point the iPad in a northerly direction.
Figure 10.2 Let Google Maps on iPad be your compass.
- To return to map view, without the compass, press the compass icon again.
Using Street View
Street View is an amazing capability of Google Maps. Using Street View, you can navigate onscreen as if you were live and in person in places all over the world.
Google sent specially equipped cars and trucks around the streets and highways of most countries in the world to capture images, and then stitched them together to create panoramas of a large part of the world, as seen from its roads.
The only thing more amazing than Street View itself is Street View as seen and used on the iPad. The large and bright screen, the fact that the iPad is handheld, the way in which you can take it with you to get directions, and the way you manipulate the screen directly with your hands, bring Street View to a new level.
Follow these steps to use Street View:
- Bring up a description of a location, as described in the previous section.
- Press the Street View icon to see the location in Street View. The location appears in Street View, as shown in Figure 10.3.
Figure 10.3 Street View immerses you in an onscreen "real world."
- From Street View, use gestures to look around within the view. Drag the image to pan in all directions.
- To change your location within Street View, press the arrows located on the road (where available). Your viewpoint will move down the road in the indicated direction. You can then pan in all directions again.
- To exit Street View, press the map icon in the lower-right corner.
Using Map Views and Traffic
Google Maps defaults to what's called the Classic view. This is a map view, with lots of useful detail, such as lot outlines for homes, businesses, and so on, for many locations.
To see additional views, put your finger in the lower-right corner, where it appears as if the map is curled away from the corner. Drag the corner up and to the left. You'll uncover mapping options, as shown in Figure 10.4.
Figure 10.4 Mapping options give you lots of power.
Not all options are available for all locations. Where available, the mapping options are as follows:
- Classic. The default view that shows lot outlines, businesses, and other useful features.
- Satellite. A view made up of satellite photographs taken during the daytime on non-cloudy days. Shows an amazing level of detail.
- Hybrid. A very useful view for familiarizing yourself with an area (or just for gawking around in your current area). Combines text showing street names, business names, icons for things like transit stops, and satellite photography.
- Terrain. A map showing elevations, street names, and major feature names, such as parks and university campuses. Great for planning a walk, a bicycle ride, or a hike.
Traffic. An overlay that shows traffic conditions on major streets, highways, and freeways, shown overlaying the Terrain map on Figure 10.5. Green shows roads operating at or near top posted speed—or, for highways and freeways, more than 50 mph; yellow is slower than the posted speed—or, for highways and freeways, from 25–50 mph; and red is below 25 mph.
Figure 10.5 Traffic information can overlay any view, including the Satellite view.
- Drop pin. Puts a pin into the map that you can use to get information on that location. You can also drop a pin by pressing and holding on the map directly.
Finding Destinations and Businesses
Finding locations is easy on iPad, though entering addresses using the onscreen keyboard can be a bit tricky. It might take a couple of tries.
Once you find a location, you can view it (including in Street View, where available) and drop a pin on locations of your own.
Follow these steps to search for a location:
- Press the Search button in the upper-right corner. The map you've viewed most recently in Search appears.
- Press the Search field. Press the X to clear it, if needed. The onscreen keyboard appears, along with a list of recent searches.
Type an address or other search information. Google is pretty good with relatively free-form searches, but the most reliable format is still the street address (number and street name) followed by the city, or an abbreviation ("sf" or "nyc", for instance).
You can also try more general searches, such as "picante berk" for a Mexican food restaurant in Berkeley, California, but be careful of multiple matches and mismatches. You might end up being steered to the Berkshires in Massachusetts!
- Press Search on the keyboard. One or more pins appear to show matches for your search.
- Use gestures such as pinching to zoom, and panning to look at different areas of the map, to focus in on the pin(s). If there are multiple pins, tap a pin to see the descriptor for it.
- The destination becomes a Recent, meaning it appears in the Recents list for searches and for creating directions.
- Tap the blue "i" on a descriptor to see detailed information about a location. Detailed information about the location appears, as described earlier in this lesson.
Press one of the buttons in the information to get directions to the destination or directions from the destination to somewhere else, to add the destination to your Contacts, to share the destination via email (this doesn't close the Maps app), or to add the location to your Bookmarks. Press the URL, if one is provided, to go to the associated web page (this does close the Maps app). Press the Street View icon to see the location in Street View, as described earlier in this lesson.
Sharing the destination via email gives you a chance to add a note, and then send both a Microsoft Outlook business card file and a Google Maps link to the destination.
- To drop a pin on a location, simply zoom in very tightly (down to the level where you can see lot lines, where available); then press on the map in the desired spot. A pin appears, showing the destination address.
- To see and use options for the dropped pin's location, press the blue "i" button. Options appear, as shown previously in Figure 10.4 and described in Step 7.
- To remove the pin, press the Remove Pin button in the information area.