Google Maps

How can I take the scenic route in Google Maps?

Episode 1493

Dave from Anaheim
Google Maps logo

Dave uses Google Maps on his phone, but it always chooses the faster routes and sometimes he wants to take the scenic route. How can he do that? Leo says that if he looks in the options, he can choose to avoid highways. That's a start. Although the desktop version of Google Maps will let users move routes with a click and drag, the mobile app doesn't support that yet.

How can I stay in touch with people at home while traveling overseas?

Episode 1408

Carl from Las Vegas, NV
Cell Tower

Carl's wife is going to the Philippines soon and he wants to know the best way to stay in touch internationally. Leo says that the real answer is WiFi. She'll be able to make calls or even video conference via Skype, Facebook, or WhatsApp. If she uses WiFi, it won't cost her anything. She should just make sure to turn off data roaming on her phone. She can also use Google Maps and preload map data so that she's not using data while getting around.

How can I get Google Now to open Waze instead of Google Maps?

Episode 1388

Mike from Orange, CA
Waze

If Mike goes into the app settings, he can make Waze his default navigation app. He'll also want to get rid of Google Maps, or at least disable it. He may need to go into the Google Now settings as well. If he goes into the Waze settings, he can tap on "Open supported links" and select "Open in this app."

This worked for Leo, but Mike is on a Samsung Galaxy S8, so it's conceivable that Samsung has done something to prevent him from being able to change that default.

How can I program data on Google Maps?

Nick from Thousand Oaks, CA

Episode 1310

Nick's uncle has a bunch of certifications and wants to map out what people make all over the country to figure out what he's worth. Leo says that using Google Maps API can do that without having to buy any mapping data. It will require knowing Java to do it. Google has training at developers.google.com/maps and there's also a tutorial of how to do it at w3schools.com/googleapi.

Why can't Google Maps accurately read my location?

Jim from Simi Valley, CA

Episode 1301

Jim says that every time he does a search on Google Maps, it always comes up with a location in Richardson, TX. Leo says that's probably a regional default when Google Maps can't find what he wants it to find. It may also be that Google Maps thinks that's where he is. Google can sometimes use IP addresses to figure out where you are so it can do a search for locations near you. An IP address can also be read as part of the ISP's headquarters, though. AT&T HQ is in Dallas/Richardson, so that is likely why it's showing up that way. There's not much Jim can do about that.

Why is my GPS location data inaccurate?

Jonathan from Scottsdale, AZ

Episode 1296

Jonathan's phone has been reporting inaccurate location information. It's always connected to the data network. Leo says that the data network often defaults to the data center which can change. Leo says to try a different app to see if it's an app centric issue or a phone issue. He should go to Google Maps. It will tell him where he is at all times and he can see where the GPS is reading in its history. It could be a failing GPS chip, or sometimes the location information being transmitted from the network.

Create Your Own Customized Google Maps

Google Maps has a feature that makes it possible to create your own customized maps that you can then share with friends or embed on a website. To do this, go to google.com/mymaps and sign in with your Google login. Then click the "Create a New Map" button. This will take you to an interface where you can add various things to the map. You can drop pins and label them, draw a line or shape, define a driving, biking, or walking route, add directions and more.

How can I make large prints of Google Maps?

Ryan from South Dakota

Episode 1291

Ryan wants to be able to get large printouts of Google Maps, around 60" by 50". He'd also like to fill in some ancient places for education purposes. He would have to become a developer to do this. There's an API that would allow him to tell Google Maps what he wants and what he wants to add.

Ryan can get more information on how to do this at developers.google.com

How can I export my Google Maps data?

Episode 1252

Kenny from Temple, TX
Google Maps

Kenny wants to know how he can export his Google Maps searches. Leo says he can go to Google.com/Dashboard to see all of the data that Google has collected on him. He can then export the Maps data, along with any other data he wants, at Google.com/Takeout. He should make sure to export it as a KML file for his GPS location history. He can also export his saved places, but he'll have to convert that, since Google puts it in a GeoJSON format.

How can I use Waze internationally without data?

Jim from Atlanta, GA

Episode 1200

Jim wants to know if he can use Waze in New Zealand. Leo says that it looks like Waze does support New Zealand. So his issue is going to be with data. Google Maps would allow him to precache map information before hand, so he could do that while at the hotel. But Waze does not have an offline mode. So he'll have to get a local SIM card in order to have data.