How Google Maps Help You to be Local Travel Guide

I am just back from participating in a road-trip cum experiential activity conducted by Google India team. Sanket Gupta, programme manager of Google Maps India headed this team of journalists and bloggers. Prior to this my Google Maps usage was limited to finding shortest route or traffic scene in real time and sometimes to explore tourist spots. But this trip with Google team enabled me to understand other features of Google Maps app that help make travel smooth and fun.

Top 8 Tips to Enhance Google Maps usage

Before I explain further how the trip to Mysore from Bangalore was done with Google Maps here is a short explanation on top 8 tips to enhance Google Maps usage:

1. Multi waypoint directions

With this feature you fix your location, final destination and then add couple of places to halt. It is easy to plan the itinerary now.

Open the apps, tap the corner menu, click ‘add stop’. You can add several stops in this manner. To rearrange the order of stops you need to drag them up and down.

Sanket Gupta Google Maps

Sanket Gupta, programme manager of Google Maps India

2. Search along route

You can search along the way for fuel, restaurants, grocery stores and cafes. The icons pop up along the route and you can reroute the path to follow.

3. Live Traffic & Traffic Alerts

This needs no introduction, particularly for Bangalore commuters who are always caught in a jam. You can find with this feature what the traffic will be along the route. This will help you to avoid spots with possible traffic jams.

Sunset at Srrangapatna

Sunset at Srirangapatna taken during road trip with Google Maps

4. Offline Maps

Many a time your travels take you remote places where there is no connectivity. This offline maps feature is of great help then. You can plan ahead and download the map of the route. Offline maps work even in no connectivity situation so it is available for use later.

5. Add a pit stop with Search along Route

This feature helps to determine which stop would be closer. You may have crossed a fuel station and the next one is quite a distance away, Google maps help you decide how long a stop will add to the trip while keeping you on your route.

Traffic Alerts Google Maps

Traffic Alerts on Google Map

 

6. Hire a cab

This feature in Google Maps apps helps to compare all commuting options in a city. There is a dedicated tab in the apps that gives information for cab services; this is in addition to existing driving, public transport, and walking options. Commuting in a new big city gets easier with this.

For example in Bangalore the apps will enable to choose from Ola or Uber cab services. From the providers’ apps you will be able to see fare estimates, pick up times and whether a car is available nearby.

7. Find and Share Hidden Gems with ‘sharing location and photos’

This feature in the apps enables you to explore, review and share experiences of places.

  • You can get information like opening hours, price and peak hours of restaurants.
  • You can also call up and visit their websites.
  • See reviews of the place by others and also contribute reviews.
  • Sharing with friends from Google maps apps through email, sms and even through whatsapp is possible.
Contribution to Google Maps

Adding new place to Google Maps

8. Share your local expertise

You can become a local guide if you are an expert of your area. Keep adding reviews, contribute pictures and add new destinations.

How to sign up as local guide in Google Maps? Sign up directly from within Google maps app. You can unlock great benefits such as Google Drive 100 GB storage for 1 year and exclusive invitation to events.

How Google Maps Help You to be Local Guide

Here is my experience of road trip to Mysore with Google Maps Apps.

The start point was ITC Gardenia Bangalore, final destination Raddison BLU, Mysore. Our plan was to take a leisurely drive. Normally a trip to Mysore, a distance of 157kms without halts will take approximately 3hours 40minutes. We added some halts to the road trip to Mysore.
A – Panchamukha Ganesha Temple (sight seeing)
B – Rasta Café for lunch (restaurant)
C – Halt for tea/snacks at Empire near Srirangapatna (restaurant)
So the redesigned map looked like this. The drive time had increased to 4hours 24minutes.

How Google Maps Help you

Add stops between present location to final destination

At the first halt at Panchamukha Ganesha Temple we paused for around 10 minutes and took several photographs. We did the first exercise of adding picture and review of the place to Google Maps. Similarly at Rasta Café, where we halted for lunch, all of us added pictures and review of the restaurant in Google Maps.

Panchamukha Ganesha

Picture contributed to Google Maps

Add New Place to Google Maps

Next activity was to add a place to Google Maps. (This is important) We selected a modest souvenir shop on the way, a Chennapatna Toy shop. Since this was not a recognised place yet in Google Maps we contributed this place to the map. For contributing – Add name of the shop (Kaveri Handicrafts Emporium), address (nearby landmark), category (toy shop) time of functioning, phone numbers.

You can add travel and tourist related info in this manner. (Take care not to add defence related confidential info or defence strategic landmarks.) This will help small time businesses too to get recognized and you will be contributing to responsible tourism. After you add the place Google verifies it. So it will take some time before the place gets marked on Google Maps. Subsequently you will get a notification or mail from Google stating “your suggestion… has been added to map”.

Final Destination

After a halt at Empire Restaurant near Srirangapatna we reached our final destination Radisson BLU, MYsuru.

I am now a Level 2 Local Guide in Google Maps

I am now a Level 2 Local Guide in Google Maps

By the end of this trip I had 7 points in my kitty of “Your Contributions”. I had got promoted from Local Guide Level 1 to Local Guide Level 2.

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73 Responses to “How Google Maps Help You to be Local Travel Guide

  • Nice post! I am a Google Local Guide as well

  • Oh wow, I didn’t know Google maps can do a few of these things like hiring a cab for example (I usually just rely on Uber or Grab when it comes to that). I think the offline feature is quite helpful especially in areas with low network signal. I’m going to try some of the features that you shared here!

  • Did not know about it, will try for sure, thanks for sharing.

  • that is such an informative Post, with the newly updated features on Google Maps ! the post tempts you to take a Road-trip asap 🙂

  • I’ve joined as well and all I get is continuing requests to use my photos! Hmmm, Google, what I am doing wrong?

  • Wow! I am google map frequent user here! But I don’t know lots of the functions that you have shared in your post! Really appreciate the offline function, this really helpful when I am running out of data plan at times. Thanks for sharing this important valuable info 🙂 cheers, SiennyLovesDrawing

  • Nice info. I am a level 5 guide.

  • For years, I am reliant on Google Maps as my default mapping app. But in the Philippines, we have limited functionality, hence we do use Waze app more. Google does provide tons of information. And I am sure that the features such as traffic information will be enabled in our country as well.

  • I have never tried adding a picture to Google maps. In fact, I never even knew that you could! You’ve got me thinking though… I wonder if being active in this way on Google maps, adding pictures and leaving reviews, actually helps to publicize your Google plus profile at all. Do you know?

  • So many new information that i didn´t knew…. I didn´t know that it´s possible to add a picture in google maps. I must try this!

  • So interesting to learn all the different ways you can use Google maps! I was definitely not using it to its fullest potential. But now I’m excited to try all the different things you suggested!

  • Google Maps has been our best friend whenever we travel abroad. It has its numbers of benefits. Isn’t it amazing how technology helps our lives more comfortable? Because of Google Maps, we don’t have to worry of getting lost. Thanks for sharing.

  • Google take many more manifestations daily and the google maps is true friend to those whose vocation is to travel

  • Google Maps is also very useful for general travellers! We use it all the time to plan our itineraries and to avoid getting lost!

  • cool! I had no idea that Google maps could do all this. I usually just use it to to find my way around but now it will be so much more helpful!

  • I am glad that I read your article. I did not know that Google Maps has these features. I like that I can share my reviews with others too. I am eager to know the opening hours, price and peak hours of restaurants so that I can avoid traffic and enjoy my food better.

  • Google Maps has always been out best friend whilst we have been on the road. Its such an awesome resource! Thanks for sharing all these ways to utilise Goggle Maps – some of them I haven’t heard of we’ve been using it years!

  • I love Google maps. Its probably the one app I use every single day for one reason or another. You really don’t know how much you miss it until you move to a country like South Korea that blocks its usage.

  • I’m a Local Guide on Google in Bordeaux, France where I live. They even have events and meet ups. It’s a cool program that unfortunately not many people know about.

  • I love Google Maps. I use it everyday to work out the optimal time to catch public transport to uni. It is also great on trips when you need to make an unexpected stop for petrol or food and don’t know off hand where the nearest is.

  • Google map has lots of uses, especially during travel. I haven’t used it so extensively. I will experiment with google map in my next trip. Thank you for such a great tips.

  • I used to use google maps when I traveled for business and it has some great features. nice post thanks for sharing

  • There are so many features on goodles maps that I didn’t know about! To be fair I just use the from and to part of it and I guess thats just the basic part! Love that you can add a new place, will be doing that! Ree love30

  • I honestly have not used google map when I travel and I just don’t know why, maybe because I didn’t know the benefits of using it. With these tips that you have shared, I’m changing my mind and would love to use it when I travel next time. Thank you so much for sharing about this informative and interesting blog post.

  • Thanks for sharing! I had no idea google had all these features! awesome!

  • Google map is really helpful. I rely on it also when I’m not sure of the location of a place I need to go to. These are helpful tips. Thanks for sharing.

  • I relied heavily on Google maps when I did my solo trip to Copenhagen. We also used it when we had our roadtrip from Hillerod to the northwestern part of Denmark. It was really helpful and I would use it again when we go back to Prague. I just haven’t tried using it to share photos though.

  • Google maps is a great app. I’ve been relying so much at google maps whenever i travel places even locally. I even like it so much better than waze app. I usually download specific places for offline use just so when i need help whenever i dont have connection. Very helpful!

  • This is so cool! I must say Google is quite indispensable as a guide especially for travelling. Thanks for sharing!

  • I like using google maps during traveling! We were kind of lost in Sicily and it saved us. I agree that the traffic alerts are very helpful too. I use offline maps quite often when I know won’t have any wifi when I’m out of the country. I will try out location and photo sharing!

  • Laveena Sengar
    10 months ago

    That’s so cool. I didn’t know that you could hire a cab with Google maps. That is something new. I Am sure that this would have been a great experience for you. All the best 🙂

  • Good to know that the google map has more features than we just know of it, every travel would do well to him/herself to have this for ease of travel. No one wants to be left wondering.

  • This is such a great post! I’m going to Bali next year and these great tips will definitely help me through my vacation. X

  • Google maps is a great tool for getting around if you’re lost. Though I never really use it when I’m travelling, as I like to get lost and explore places. I only use when I’m going to teach a student at their house to make sure I don’t get lost haha!

  • Wow, there’s a lot more to Google maps than I realized. I’ll have to try to figure it all out – with the help of this post of course. Thanks.

  • Google maps has a lot of nice features and seems to be improving at a quick pace. I like the offline maps because I get intermittent 3G service so I can’t always rely on having access to updated maps.

  • I have started playing with the Google Contributions section on Google Maps a few months back. I find it very useful both for tourists and for businesses. I do agree that Google Maps is a great travel companion, especially that you can now use the maps offline too.

  • I love using Google maps tough I hadn’t heard of the local guide feature … we mainly find benefit from the search along route feature and keeping on top of the traffic status where-ever we are. So many more functions than I realized though!

  • This is definitely true. I also use Google maps as my local guide when I don’t know where the place is 🙂 Great article!

  • These are great tips! I had no idea you could add stops to your directions! I’m definitely going to use that in future.

  • I am a huge huge user of Google maps and have been contributing fairly regularly. I love the way they keep upgrading and bettering their service. Glad you shared this piece so that all of us can contribute our bit.

  • Google maps are definitely very helpful. It has many more features , I haven’t seen before. They are really helpful in guiding when traveling to different places.
    Thanks for sharing this informative post. I must try all these features soon.

  • Offline Maps is one of my favorite features! It comes in so handy when you’re abroad and don’t want to use tons of mobile data. Looks like you had a very educational session with the Google India team!

  • So many cool things you can do with Google Maps! Thanks for sharing these tips. I love that you can see the flow of traffic on the maps!

  • There is certainly a great deal to find out
    about this subject. I like all the points you have made.

  • Great post! You mention some of Google Maps’ options I was totally unaware of…Thank you!

  • Google maps are great! Offline maps have been a life saver for me many times.

  • Google Maps have become an indispenable part of my everyday life. And yes, the features are excellent! Sharing locations etc to find hidden gems certainly sound like the travellers’ best friend 🙂

  • I had no idea Google Maps had all these elements! That’s really neat. The offline maps this is a GOD SEND! Wish Google Maps worked in Korea, I miss it!

  • I’m a Google Local Guide as well, it’s funny to participate and if everyone takes a little time to add some info to the app, the result is for sure a better experience for all the travelers and the people worldwide.

  • I depend on Google Maps a lot! Sometimes, even when I’m just walking to a nearby shop, I still tend to use Google Maps for directions. I had no idea about the offline maps though! I should have used this in my previous travels!

  • husband and i LOVE google maps. Though one needs to be a little aware of the directions, one can safely use it even in the strangest of places. a life saver, indeed!

  • I am already a Google local guide and I totally love the way the whole thing functions. It is nice to know how you can help people around you by contributing here. 🙂

  • I really like the features listed out here. Although I use some of them and hence know they are super helpful, I have not used a few others like sharing locations. Will try them out

  • I love using google maps on my phone rather than the pre-installed maps app. I used it this past summer when driving from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon but we wanted to stop at the Hoover Dam along the way and was able to add it to our route so easily.

  • I am using Google maps every single day … Its so useful for travelers …:-) Thanks for sharing with us, great post

  • I didn’t know Google Maps is so multifunctional app! It’s amazing that it is possible to hire a cab and it works even offline! Very useful tool for those who travel a lot!

  • Great post, thanks for sharing! I’ll be honest though, in my recent trip to India I found Google Maps to be a little hit and miss! For the most part it was great, although there were a lot of times where it had the names of my surrounding areas completely wrong, and routing me the completely wrong way. However, that was in more rural areas so I guess it can be forgiven!

  • I wasn’t aware of all these features. I will be using the along the way feature today to find grocery stores for last minute pickups.

  • Very very helpful information indeed. I was not are of few of the activities Google Maps can do before reading this. I will bbe surely using a few going forward. Thanks for sharing.

  • Google Maps really has saved us a lot of times when traveling. Only issue is that it is not always up to date. Have been multiple times that we have tried to go somewhere that no longer exists. Luckily that is just a small percentage of the total times the app has been used. 🙂

  • Been using Google Maps in all sorts of ways for years now. Cant really imagine traveling without it. By far the most useful travel app in existence!

  • It’s amazing how Google Maps have got the smallest of turns and narrowest of streets also on their database. It’s been about couple of years since I started using Google Maps. Initially there were a few hiccups as we had seen dead ends while Google Maps used to tell us to go ahead. Couldn’t have broken a wall or made my car do rock climbing as such.

    We’d also seen situations where Google would say take right, and then take right another right and we ended up in the same place again. :-p.

    But of late it has been a wonderful experience. I mean, to give you a heads up about traffic situation also is a real breakthrough superb breakthrough. It really helps. From my office to work there are 3 routes available. So I’ve been making it a point to check the traffic before leaving and it really helps. Being able to avoid that stressful traffic is blessing any day.

  • On my last trip to Sri Lanka we decided to rent a car and Google Maps were a real life saving app. Since it was our first time in the country, we didn’t speak the language and the signs in the road weren’t that simple, the app took us were we wanted to go. I’m glad to know that it has a lot of other features. Can’t wait to try them out.

  • Wow! Never knew that Google Maps could do all those. I only used to use it to find directions. Reading this post, now I’m more aware as to how I can use it to completely plan my road trips. Being a travelling motorbiker I think this app is a must from now on.

  • I am amazed how Google is able to determine the traffic volume or density at any time. Not everyone would have enabled their GPS at all times, right?I am still searching for answers.

  • Google maps is getting better and better. I like all the options and also the idea of contributing to help future travellers and local businesses. If everyone does this travelling is going to get so easy in the future.

  • Well Google maps is definitely a must for every traveler. WE all love it. Nice post

  • Thank you for your suggestions! So fantastic to learn all the distinct ways you can use these maps. For sure I didn’t use their entire potential. Really cool post.

  • I hardly use Google Map except I am stuck in a traffic and lost in somewhere. Thanks to your post , Now I use it for my travel as well. Great post.

  • Some really helpful tips I admit I didn’t know about! The traffic allerts are really useful and can save you a lot of time. Sometimes they could be also tricky and scare you for no reason though.

  • Google maps is a great tool. I really hope they bring in features to it from Waze. Also they need to figure out better offline maps. I know that everywhere there is no connectivity. But having detailed maps is very useful.

  • Google maps have been saving me for a while. I have explored a lot of places following the maps on my phone. The only thing you have to make sure is to charge the phone before leaving so that you do not run out of it at the wrong moment (This has happened to me too).

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