Getting Directions

Let's start with searching for a location online. In Figure 7.1, I searched for "Dragonfly Boutiques, Mobile, AL." I can also search for that same term using Google's search function on my Android phone. The search results look a little different, as shown in Figure 7.2.

From the search result, I can touch the name of the boutique, which is highlighted as a blue link. It takes me to the map view for that location. If I touch the phone number that's displayed in the result, it automatically dials the number. Or I can touch Get Directions, which opens a window such as the one shown in Figure 7.3. This enables me to choose whether to get the directions using Google Maps through the browser or through Maps on the device.

FIGURE 7.2

Search results appear differently on the Android phone, but you still have access to Google Maps data.

FIGURE 7.3

Choose whether to view the map through Google Maps in the Browser or Google Maps on the device. Viewing on the device gives you GPS capabilities as well.

Either option gets you the directions you seek. If you choose Browser, you move to the Google Maps page online that shows the map and opens the form for you to choose your starting location. Type in the address where you want to start at.

If you use the browser version of Google Maps, you have to enter more information. In addition, this version doesn't scale well: You need to scroll from left to right and top to bottom to access all the information. Using the browser version can be a frustrating exercise in not getting lost.

The other option, to get directions through the Google Maps application on your device, is a much better choice. This version is also much easier to use. When you touch the Maps option, the Maps application opens, as shown in Figure 7.4.

FIGURE 7.4

Touching the Maps option when you've selected Get Directions from a web search takes you to the Google Maps application on your device.

Where the map opens depends on whether you've used the map in the past and returned to your location when you finished the previous task. If you didn't close the map after your previous task, the first map that's shown when you open Maps is the last map you left it on. Don't worry—the map will change after you enter a starting address.

Type the starting address into the address field provided and touch the Route button. Alternatively, you can touch the small square to the right of the address field to open a menu of locations, as shown in Figure 7.5. The available locations include the following:

■ My Current Location—Uses your device's GPS capabilities to determine your current location. Directions then start from your current location.

■ Contacts—Opens a contacts file so you can select a starting address from those contacts. Only contacts for which you have added physical address appear in this list.

■ History—Opens a list of addresses that you've used to get directions in the past. If you have never used an address as a starting point, My Current Location is the only option that appears in this list.

Touch this button for the above Location Source Menu to appear

FIGURE 7.5_

Touch the square menu button to open a menu of location options. Use these options to create the starting address for directions.

Touch this button for the above Location Source Menu to appear

FIGURE 7.5_

Touch the square menu button to open a menu of location options. Use these options to create the starting address for directions.

This is the same method you would use for inputting an address if you opened the Maps application and wanted to get directions from a known address to a different known address. To do this without going through a search, open Maps and press the Menu key. Touch Directions from the menu that appears, and enter the From and To addresses in the address fields provided.

After you input a starting address and then touch the Route button, the application figures the most direct route from your starting location to the location that you wanted mapped (in this case, from the Google search that we did). Currently, the Android phone does not have real-time, turn-by-turn navigation, so the directions that are returned are as close as you'll get.

When these directions appear on your device (it could take a few seconds for the device to figure the correct directions and display them), you'll see the distance and the estimated drive time at the bottom of the screen. Two buttons also appear at the bottom of the screen: Edit and Show Map.

The Edit option takes you back to the previous screen, where you entered your starting location. From this screen, you can edit either the starting location or the destination.

The second option, Show Map, takes you to the map with the route that you requested mapped out. As shown in Figure 7.6, each point on the map has a marker on it, and a step-by-step capability is included. At each step in the directions, you can touch the arrow to the right of the directions box to go to the next step in the directions. The arrow to the left of the directions box takes you back to the previous step in the directions.

FIGURE 7.6

-Actual direction dialog

Arrows advance directions forward or back them up Point markers

-Actual direction dialog

Arrows advance directions forward or back them up Point markers

The Show Map option takes you to a map with the route mapped out and with markers at each step in the directions. You can navigate through these steps one direction at a time.

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