With Google maps you can view almost any address or landmark in the world, as though you were standing right there. Google “Street View” – images taken from a 360° camera allow you to virtually stroll down streets on your computer.
Google maps is not only entertaining. It allows us to see what your penfriend’s street on the other side of the world looks like, but it is also a very useful tool. If you need directions to an address, or want an idea of how long it will take to drive to a particular place, Google maps can help you with that as well.
Go to maps.google.com and your local maps should show. In the top left hand corner, type an address or the name of a landmark or location you want to look up, and press the Enter key on your keyboard. A map will now open showing the location in a familiar map format showing street names and other landmarks such as train stations and schools.
On the right hand side there are two buttons with plus and minus symbols. These allow you to zoom in for a closer view, or zoom out to help get your bearings. You can also move the map around by clicking with your mouse and dragging it in any direction you wish.
If you need directions to get to an address, enter the address and then click the “Directions” button. This is either labelled as directions or shows an icon that looks like a “Y” in a road with an arrow. This will open a second box where you can type in your own address, or the starting address. Once this is entered, Google will display a suggested route.
If there is more than one route or other transport means available, such as the train, Google will display a list of the options, each with its distance and the estimated travel time. To filter the list to show just road travel, click the car icon at the top of the route options. As you click each option, Google will display the route on the map.
If you wish to print the instructions for your selected route, click the “Details” link on the list of route options and a new panel will open. At the top of that panel is a printer icon. Select this icon and choose the option you want to print. You can also copy the website address in the browser address bar and send it to others, who will see the exact same route when they open the link.
If you want to see what your destination looks like, find the little yellow man in the bottom right hand corner and drag him onto the location you want to see. This will open up Street View, which allows you to look around, and even “walk” down the roads. Use your mouse to drag the image to the left or right to rotate the view and look behind you, and click your mouse on a section of the street to move forward to that position.