When you’re traveling, it’s important to have a good map to get you where you’re going. Most everyone carries a map with them in their pocket. Of course, that map is no longer paper but a digital map on your smartphone. We prefer using Google Maps and it’s one of the seven apps we make sure to have updated when we travel.
I like using Google Maps because I can download maps of the area we’re visiting before the trip, saving time and data usage. The data isn’t as much of a problem since we changed to T-Mobile and have unlimited texts and data when we’re traveling internationally. Google has also dabbled with adding augmented reality features to the maps app, like this feature that helps you locate the best places for selfies when visiting the U.K..
While that’s a mildly helpful (or at least amusing) addition for some, the newest update to Google Maps figures to be a game changer when it comes to getting to your destination.
We’ve all been in the situation when we’re inside a large building and need to get to a specific location. You could be at an airport and you need to find your way to the train station or get from gate to gate for a short connection, like when we had to rush across Atlanta airport because of a flight delay.
The Delta app did provide directions but those don’t help much if you can’t find the escalator or miss the turn.
Google Maps is taking this to the next level, by using the app’s Live View feature. The program will use augmented reality to overlay directions arrows, showing you exactly which way to go.
Pretty cool, right? I wish we had technology when we were visiting Japan and couldn’t find where the track for our train was in the station. We got to a point and the signage just stopped. We stood in the middle of the station with a map, trying to figure where we went wrong. It took the kindness of a Japanese businessman to walk us to our train and wait to make sure we got on the right one (only in Japan).
The feature is being rolled out for other locations. Westfield Malls is one of the first partners where the app will help you find the store you’re looking for. Plans are for airports in Zurich and Tokyo to come online later this year.
Being able to carry a map around in your pocket anywhere in the world was a marvel of innovation but it doesn’t mean that people still don’t get lost. It may be easy to get to where you’re going but it’s another issue to find the exact location in the building where you want to go. This is a bigger problem when dealing with large buildings like train stations, airports and shopping malls.
Hopefully, Google has found a way to solve that problem.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary