How to use Google Maps

Google Maps can be great for getting directions on the go. If you’re not already using it, get yourself in the know with Drew’s handy guide to Google Maps.

What is Google Maps?
Think of Google Maps as an interactive online road atlas. You can view Google Maps as an illustration or as a satellite image. The illustration looks like a simpler version of what you would expect to see in a street directory, whereas the satellite image is a photograph of the area with streets highlighted for ease of viewing.

Getting Started
You can access Google Maps in a couple of different ways. You can visit the Google Maps website directly, or you can download the Google Maps app onto most smartphones. The simplest option is the website, so if you are unfamiliar with Google Maps I suggest you start there.

Searching Google Maps
Once you have open in your browser you are ready to start searching. To search, click on the search bar, type in the location you are looking for (e.g. a street address, a suburb or a country) then click on the magnifying glass to the right of the search bar to start your search.

When your search matches more than one location, a list of possibilities will appear on the left hand side. Click on the pin beside the placename you were looking for and that pin will become more prominent on the map.

How to control Google Maps
On the left-hand side of the map is a ruler with a plus sign at the top and a minus sign at the bottom. Clicking on the plus will allow you to zoom in and clicking on the minus will allow you to zoom out. To move to another area on the map simply click and hold anywhere on the map. While still holding the mouse down move your mouse – the map will follow (like when you are clicking and dragging files around on your desktop). Click the box in the top right hand corner which says ‘Map’ or ‘Satellite’ to view the different versions of the map.

How to get directions
Click the ‘Get Directions’ button and under ‘A’ and ‘B’, enter the location you wish to travel from and to, then click ‘Get Directions’. In Australia you can choose between travelling by car and on foot by clicking the picture of the car or of the person. If you happen to be travelling through Europe or America, you can also choose to travel by public transport or bicycle.