A CHEAP TRIP

A reader wondered how much data his smart phone would use, with GPS running the whole time, on a road trip to Florida.  First the good news: The GPS system doesn’t use data. Now the bad news: Downloading maps does. One way to avoid data charges is to get a free app called “CoPilot GPS,” which currently has over 14 million users.  (We wrote about it once before, but didn’t realize how crucial it was for saving data charges — since we’re on an unlimited data plan, but with very few talk-minutes.) After you install the app, download the region or country  you’re interested in. Now you’re ready to see maps and directions offline. You don’t need any cellular or […]

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GETTING THERE

“Waze” is a free alternative to Google Maps (also free). It calls out turn-by-turn directions, just as Google Maps does. Just tap the microphone and speak your destination, or type it in. Then tap “navigate.”  For those who want more, Waze keeps you up to date on traffic conditions and can even tell you when your friends arrived at the destination. (If five minutes have gone by and they still haven’t got out of the car and wrung the bell, they’re probably arguing about whether to see you at all.)

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GOOGLE MAP TIPS

Lots of people use the Google Maps app on their phones to figure out how to get somewhere. Fewer people know you can also use it as a phone book.

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COPILOT GPS BRINGS YOU DIRECTIONS OFFLINE

A glass of water destroyed Joy’s smart phone. It happened during lunch. We don’t care if we miss calls, it’s the turn-by-turn directions from Google Maps that we miss. So while we’re without a smart phone, we’re using “CoPilot GPS.” It brings turn-by-turn directions even when you can’t connect to the Internet.

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DO-IT-YOURSELF GOOGLE MAPS

Joy just created a map of the best vegetarian restaurants around town. Now she can put that map into the Google Maps Gallery. Previously, the Google Maps Gallery only showcased maps from heavy hitters like the National Geographic, NASA, or the World Bank. Now you can do one too.

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GEOGRAPHY QUIZZES

LizardPoint.com has free geography quizzes. For example it was easy to find continents on the map and we did well at state capitols, but finding the regions of the Ukraine was much tougher.

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GOING BACK IN TIME WITH GOOGLE MAPS

Google Maps keep changing. Now they can take you back in time.

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INTERNUTS: SHARING A MAP

“Marco Polo,” an app named after the children’s game, lets you send your location to one or more friends instead of broadcasting it to everyone. Tap the “Marco” button and friends you select get a pin on a map showing where you are. Next, your friends will have a chance to tap their location back to you.

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NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAPS

Go to the National Geographic web site for a huge collection of maps, both old and modern. NASA has great space photos and some galactic maps. Remember, though, as the semanticist Count Alfred Korzybski said: “The map is not the territory.”

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SEE THE LEWIS AND CLARK MAP

DavidRumsey.com has over 34,000 antique maps, including the one that explorers Lewis and Clark made while exploring America from the Mississippi to the Pacific.

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