Changing the Map View

You can change the map view that you're using when you're getting directions. To change your map view, press the Menu button from any map and then select Map Mode. This opens a menu similar to the one shown in Figure

7.7. To change map modes, touch the option you want: Map, Satellite, Traffic, or Street View.

We've worked with the Map option so far. It's a two-dimensional map, similar to looking at a paper map.

Satellite View shows you the map as a satellite image, as shown in Figure

7.8. If you've ever used Google Earth, you might be familiar with this view of maps. If you're looking for a little fun, try mapping your location using the Satellite view. See if you can pinpoint the time frame in which the satellite picture was taken. Those satellite images are rarely shown in real time.

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The Map mode menu enables you to choose a Map View from the available options.

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Satellite View shows you a satellite image of the map that you're working with.


Satellite View shows you a satellite image of the map that you're working with.


Using Satellite View is a cool way to interact with the Android phone's map capabilities, but keep in mind that some satellite images can be a few weeks old. They're not provided in real time, which means that in areas where rapid changes and expansions are taking place, changes might be delayed.

In Traffic View, you should be able to see the feed from local traffic cameras. However, this works only on highways or interstate systems where traffic cameras are installed.

The last view available is Street View, one of the coolest features of the Android phone. Working with Maps and the GPS system, Street View can take you down to the street level so that you can see what an area might look like. It's great if you're looking for recognizable markers.

To enable Street View from within a map, press the Menu key and then touch Map Mode. Select Street View to go back to the map, but you'll start to see blue lines appear around the streets on the map. These lines indicate that cameras are available on those streets to give you a street view. Touch a street to see what camera is available nearest to where you touched, as shown in Figure 7.9.


Touch the map while in Street View to show available cameras in the area you touched. When you find the one you want to view, touch it to open Street View.

When you find a camera near where you want to view at the street level on the map, touch that camera. The street view of the location opens on the device, as shown in Figure 7.10.

FIGURE 7.10_

The Street View capabilities of the Android phone enable you to look at a location as if you're standing on the street, no matter where you're located.

FIGURE 7.10_

The Street View capabilities of the Android phone enable you to look at a location as if you're standing on the street, no matter where you're located.

While in Street View, you can also open a menu of additional options. This is the only screen on which these additional options appear. If you press the Menu key while in Street View, the following menu options appear (as shown in Figure 7.11):

■ Step Forward—Moves the Street View image ahead by a few hundred yards

■ Step Backward—Moves the Street View image backward by a few hundred yards

■ Zoom—Opens the Zoom controls at the bottom of the screen so that you can zoom in or out on the image that's displayed

■ Go to Map—Returns you to the two-dimensional map view

■ Report Image—Opens a form in Google Maps on the Web where you can report an inappropriate image

■ Compass Mode—Turns the compass mode on or off


Press the Menu key while in Street View to open an additional menu of options, including Compass Mode.

Street View's connection to the Android phone's Compass Mode is very cool. Touching Compass Mode enables and disables it, so pay attention to the confirmation message that you receive. When Compass Mode is enabled, the picture that you're looking at on the phone changes as you move around with your phone in Street View. For example, if you turn to the right or left, the image on the Android phone screen pans with you. Move the device up, and the image moves up; move it down and it follows. You can also use the trackball or finger movements on the screen to do the same thing. However, Street View has one catch: It works only in areas that have webcams. For example, it works well in New York City because many webcams are present. It even works on the street we live on in Podunk, Alabama. However, it doesn't work on other streets in our city because no webcam exists to supply a street feed to the device.

Over time, more places will gain the webcam infrastructure that's needed for this feature to work everywhere. Until then, you might not find that it's always available—but when it is, it's very useful.

The Maps application on the Android-based phone is more than two-dimensional maps. It's not quite ready for real-time, turn-by-turn navigation, but that's just a matter of time. And until then, it's one of the best mapping capabilities in mobile phones.

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