I spend a lot of time using google maps to daydream, plan, and see the world as it is laid out by city and region. The first time I logged into google maps and stared at the grainy images I was hooked on looking at the places I’d been, seeing if I could remember the streets and shops that I had visited in my travels. I also began using the database to locate local spots that I might not have known about in the cities that I wanted to visit. Google maps has opened the world of geographical research to a wider audience and on a simple to use platform.
I worked at a company for three years where I used the maps feature to map out mini road trips around cities so that people could explore different routes of their local surroundings. This allowed me to watch the traffic reports and better estimate the time it might take participants in my event to get from point A to B, and what optional routes might look like for myself as I drove large trucks around the city hauling event supplies to the different locations. These tools that allow us to see the city and its different estimated routes have changed the way many of us travel today.
When I am planning a trip to a new place I use the tools on the site to get an educated look at the region I am staying around along with a few vital need to know areas for the bet experience possible. I usually look up my Hotel or Airbnb and see were the nearest public transit is to my location. When we travel we strongly rely on utilizing local public transit to get around town due to ease of access and hopefully being able to avoid renting a car on the trip. I always keep in mind where the nearest hospital is just in case it’s needed, safety first, hospital second right?
I also look up major attractions in the area along with the distance between each destination to see if walking is an option to see more of the city. Knowing where things are in relation to each other allows us to better use out time experiencing the things we want to see rather than just packing up and going from point A to B. Plus, you can plan better food stops! Knowing these things set me up for full comfort in a new city that might use a different language, currency, and more often than not a different measurement system.
After that slightly geeky rundown of my google maps planning sessions I am grateful to Google for having an easy to use tool that helps people around the world plan better for the experiences we hope to have.