Don’t map while driving
March 8, 2007
Google Maps Mobile. This is one must-have program for your cellphone, Blackberry, or Palm / Window Mobile wireless PDA. You MUST get it. No argument. Just do it.
Sorry folks, the Sidekick and some older Blackberries aren’t supported.
What is Google Maps Mobile? It allows you to view Google maps world-wide on your cellphone or mobile PDA. You can scroll / move the map around, zoom in and out, and even do satellite views – I was able to zoom in and see my house and yards. (Hmm. Whose car is that parked at my house?) Search for nearby businesses, and get directions from one point to another. In selected cities, you can even view traffic info on the freeways. It remembers your old searches, making it easy to go back to the same locations (ie, check traffic each day) or do directions from previously looked-up point to point.
So, lots and lots of amazing features all rolled into one amazingly simple application.
In your cellphone or mobile PDA, using its Internet browser, go to www.google.com/gmm … Google will then tell you if your device is supported, and give you a link where you can download and install the application. (On a Blackberry, upon running Google Map Mobile, it will ask you if you want to establish a HTTP proxy – say Yes, always for all.) Once you’ve got it running, check out the following features. Most of these can be used just by pressing the corresponding letter on the keyboard if your device has one, but different devices may have different key assignments (or even none at all) so check the “Shortcuts” or “Help” screen while using this application:
- L – find location (address or city or zip or airport code)
- I or + – zoom in
- O or – - zoom out
- H / U / K / J (or 5-direction keypad if available, or touching / dragging the screen on a Palm, or using the Blackberry’s wheel in conjunction with the Alt key) – move map left / up / right / down (differs from device to device)
- D – directions (use space key to go to the next “turn”, or backspace key to back up)
- B – search for a business nearby (name or type of business – “Starbucks” or “coffee”) – will display up to nine choices – jump to each one by pressing the space bar, or back up via the backspace key
- # – turn on / off traffic info for selected cities (freeways turn green if traffic is moving over 50 mph, yellow if 25-50 mph, and red if below 25 mph)
- V – turn on / off satellite view (be sure to check your home out, but not all locations have “high-resolution” satellite views yet)
- 1-9 – Jump directly to that point (when using Business search or Directions)
- On some or all devices, Google Maps Mobile remembers all of the map areas you viewed. So, after a while, its memory cache becomes huge and can interfere with your device. So, be sure to do the “Erase All” option every once in a while.
- Don’t use it while driving. Well, that’s what this program tells you. I, uh, use it quite often to get from point to point, or check traffic …
Again, point your device to www.google.com/gmm and, if supported, download it. Happy Mapping!
(And, yes, this is now my 6th time specifically writing about a Google “property.” See previous posts about Google Reader, Google Docs, Google Earth, Google Picasa, and Google-brought YouTube. 7th time, if you count my quick mention of Google Talk.)