Today I will present you a tutorial on how to use Google Maps for Android. If you don’t know Google Maps is a free application that you can get from the from the Google Play Store, if it isn’t already installed on your phone by the manufacturer. you can find it here


  • Free
  • Accurate Predictions
  • Street View
  • Places with Reviews
  • Navigation with Voice
  • Nice Lab features(extras that you can enable from app settings)
  • Modern and responsive UI


  • Some bugs
  • Navigation is in beta and as such may not work in some places
  • Dependent on internet access
  • Precatch for offline use is very limited


Now that you have an idea of how the app fares overall will get on with the tutorial itself.

The first screen you see is the maps screen. The default view is street view, which I can show you later how to change to see other available options. If you get a pop-up screen with improve location accuracy press skip, we will handle that later.

Here you have a number of UI navigation options.

  1. In the upper left corner you got the maps icon which serves as a back button, a text describing the page with an attached drop down menu which you can click to activate.
  2. On the upper right , just below the transparent grey header you got a small icon resembling a GPS pointer. You can use this by clicking and it will move the map to your current location given that “Access my Location” option from Android OS Settings is enabled. I will show you later how you can enable it and what options are available.
  3. On the bottom, you got a grey transparent with four options: Search, Navigation, Places and Layers. I will explain later what each one does.



Once you click the “Maps” text in the upper left corner a drop down menu will show up with the following options:

  1. Map. This returns you to the default view
  2. Local. Here you can find places such as restaurants, bars and more which located in your area.
  3. Navigation.
  4. My Places. Shows your stared items, it’s equivalent to favorites.
  5. Check in. This allows you to share your location.
  6. Latitude. Allows you to see shared locations from other people and yourself.
  7. Location History. As the name suggests you can see all the addresses you have viewed.



Map Navigation:

  1. Scroll Up-Down or Left-Right to move the map around
  2. Zoom
    1. Pinch to Zoom. You can pinch by putting 2 fingers on the screen with some distance between them and closing or enlarging slowly the gap between them until you get the zoom level you want.
    2. Double tap and move. Double tap any area of the map and quickly move finger up and down.
    3. Double tap. This slowly zooms in. You cannot zoom out using this.
    4. Zoom Buttons. Only available once you activate them from the app Settings menu. If active click + or – to zoom in our out.
  3. Pan Map. This rotates the map. You can do this by using two of your fingers. Put one in place and don’t move it. Put the second some distance apart from the first one and move it left and right to rotate view. Do not move it up or down or you will zoom in or out instead of rotating the map. Once you managed to do this under the top left map icon you get a small red and white compass indicator which shows the degree of rotation. Click it to reset to default view.


  • Search. Once clicked you get a type field in the top area. Start to type and a drop down menu with suggestions will appear. Scroll down until you find what you seek and click the suggestion. The search bar will auto-complete itself with the full address name, the drop down menu will disappear and the map will move to show your wanted location. This is showed by a map pin with a text box. On the footer once you have chosen your address the remaining 3 buttons are replaced with a single wide “GET DIRECTIONS” button. Click it to get navigation directions to your chosen address.



  • Location Details
    • Once you searched for that address the map pin will appear. If an map pin or star is active you will get a pop-up box above it. The left side of the box will have a navigation button which allows you to navigate to that address.
    • You can long press a map location(put finger and wait for a few moments until pop-up box with the address name appears). Now you can click the name in the box and you will arrive to Location Details. From this point forward you can do the following
      1. Go back to map by either clicking the upper left text with the arrow indicator on the left or by clicking the map icon that’s on the left of Directions and Street view.
      2. Click the Star icon to mark that particular location as a favorite. Click again to undo. Grey Star means the location is not marked as a favorite while a yellow star marks the location is marked as a favorite. The Yellow Star will also show on the map as you can see in the image. Click on it to get the pop-up box, click the text in the box to get to the location details again.
      3. Click “Directions” to get directions for that location.
      4. Click “Street View” to go to Street View. You must have the Street View app installed. Otherwise the option will be grayed out and as such not available.
      5. Click “What’s Nearby” to get a Pop-up Screen with a list of available places. Scroll and click any of these places to go to place details. I will explain that part later in the tutorial.
      6. Click “Search Nearby” to get to maps with the input field enabled and the drop down menu with the suggestions activated. Click the input field if you want to get back to maps or click one of the suggestions to make the app show that location. What’s different here is that on the footer you get a “RESULT LIST” which you can click to go to a different screen where all results are showed. Clicking one of these will go to the corresponding Place Details for a particular item.
      7. Click “Share this place” to share via an installed app or existing service like Gmail, Twitter or Bluetooth for example.
      8. Click ‘Report a Problem” to report any kind of problem with the app. You can choose between the available options. The app will guide you through selecting the available type of problems that correspond to what you found.

Screenshot_2013-02-20-09-43-06 Screenshot_2013-02-20-09-43-31 Screenshot_2013-02-20-07-52-56 Screenshot_2013-02-20-07-53-56Screenshot_2013-02-20-07-54-03 Screenshot_2013-02-20-07-54-35


  • Directions
    • On this screen you have 3 major areas.
      1. Choose Start point and End point. As you type a drop down menu with suggestions will appear. If you click the small right triangle on the right you get the option to choose your point as showed in the image.
        • For Contacts, you must have in your agenda a contact with address details.
        • For Point on map, click a chosen location on the map, and click again the pop-up box that appears
        • For My Places you can choose one of the available options either by scrolling up and down, or left and right to choose category:
          1. Starred
          2. Recent
          3. Checked-in
          4. Rated
      2. Type of transport. This allows you to choose between small vehicles such as cars, big vehicles such as a bus and Foot Travel(Pedestrian). If you click big vehicles icon you also get the following options and sub-options:
        1. Type of transit
          • Any
          • Bus
          • Subway
          • Train
          • Tram/Light rail
        2. Route optimization
          • Best Route
          • Fewer Transfers
          • Less Walking
      3. Click the footer “GET DIRECTIONS” text button to proceed.
      4. You will now go back to map view. Here you have the following:
        1. In the header you have the map icon which brings you to standard view and cancels the current operation. Also you have the name of the destination, the yellow star if the location is a favorite, the time to arrival and the distance to the desired location. The last is the transit route showing you the most important street that you will pass through.
        2. In the map area you have the 2 map pins, this time they will be in green. also you will get a blue line showing you the route and some white points representing the indications such as turn left or right. Click any of these to get the pop-up box.
        3. On the footer:
          • You have a text button with “DIRECTIONS LIST”. Click it to get to a screen showing a full list of directions. On this screen you can change the Start or the End point. You can also see a bigger text with the distance and Traffic Time estimation. Or just scroll and click any of the directions to instantly travel to that point on the map. Click “MAP VIEW” or the upper left back button(the map icon) or the hardware back key to get back to the previous page.
          • Two arrow buttons which allow you to travel back and forth between the map points.
          • A navigate button represented by an arrow pointing up. Will present this functionality in the following sections.

Screenshot_2013-02-20-07-55-02 Screenshot_2013-02-20-07-55-12Screenshot_2013-02-20-07-55-08Screenshot_2013-02-20-07-55-33Screenshot_2013-02-20-07-56-37 Screenshot_2013-02-20-07-56-15 Screenshot_2013-02-20-07-56-08 Screenshot_2013-02-20-07-55-50

  • Navigation
    • Once you press the navigation button you might be asked to activate the “Access my Location” service. This might have been also asked when you first entered the app if you didn’t activate it when you set up your phone for the first time or if you disabled it in the mean time. Just follow he instructions to activate it.
      • On Screen one click Accept.
      • On Screen two click OK.
      • On Screen three you got to “Location access”. Click the first slider to turn it on. Click Agree on the pop-up screen. You can go to Settings/Location access and turn this back off if you worry about your privacy. Here you get by default both GPS and WiFi/Mobile Data tracking options enabled. You can turn later one or both of them off. GPS is a must however if you don’t want a huge battery drain.
      • On the next screen wait for the process to complete. Once done you will get a few options which are:
        1. Compass icon. Again click to reset. However any changes from the default view will cause the blue navigation icon to appear. Click it to return to default view and your current location.
        2. Click the + and – buttons to zoom in or out. Other map control options are available as well.
        3. Click the 3 lines button to open the menu. Here you have available:
          1. Routes and alternatives. On the corresponding screen you can:
            • Click the blue navigation icon to reset view and return to previous screen.
            • Click the Dashed Arrow icon to get an alternative route. If nothing happens then there is no other alternative.
            • Click the Gear icon to set route options. You can choose to either avoid highways or tolls.
            • Click 3 points, 3 lines icon to access directions list.
          2. Layers. Here you can choose one of the map overviews.
          3. Direction list. See all directions.
          4. Turn ON/OFF the Voice Navigation
          5. Exit Navigation. You can press the back button to achieve the same result.
          6. More
            1. Search
            2. Set Destination
              • Here you might get this message: Google Maps is not yet available in this location. This means you can only get directions.
              • If you don’t get the message you will have the following:
                1. Speak destination, Type destination, Go Home, and Map. I would suggest typing the destination of your home and not choosing Go Home since you don’t get any suggestions and if you enter a wrong address(typing mistakes) it won’t work.
                2. Recent Destinations. Click on one of them to navigate to that address
                3. Scroll left to see starred addresses or right for contacts. Same action as above.
            3. Settings
              • Here you can turn off the screen dimming to see the screen better at all times. Not recommended when on battery.
            4. Help

Screenshot_2013-02-20-07-56-43 Screenshot_2013-02-20-07-57-20 Screenshot_2013-02-20-07-57-41 Screenshot_2013-02-20-07-57-46 Screenshot_2013-02-20-07-57-53 Screenshot_2013-02-20-08-06-15 Screenshot_2013-02-20-08-06-22 Screenshot_2013-02-20-08-06-37 Screenshot_2013-02-20-08-06-45 Screenshot_2013-02-20-08-06-57 Screenshot_2013-02-20-08-07-36 Screenshot_2013-02-20-08-07-43 Screenshot_2013-02-20-08-10-40 Screenshot_2013-02-20-08-11-02Screenshot_2013-02-20-08-14-41Screenshot_2013-02-20-08-14-44Screenshot_2013-02-20-08-14-37Screenshot_2013-02-20-08-11-17



  • Local
    • The Local Places is split in two main section: General and Dedicated. Generals allows you to see all available places while dedicated allows you to see details about a particular place
    • The first two screenshots represents the general area.
      1. Press header back button(person with a red pin icon) to return to maps. Press Local to go to other functions. Press Search to perform a search through available places.
      2. Press Address(light grey area below header and local) to input a new address. Again recommend that you go to maps and choose a new address, no suggestions here.
      3. Press the icons for restaurant, cafes etc to see all available options. Long press icon to delete.
      4. Click a place to go to dedicated section
      5. Click a category to see all available places from that category
      6. Scroll down and click your Google+ profile to go to Google+
      7. Once you clicked a category or the upper white icons you get to the list of all similar places. See the second screenshots. Click rating to sort places based on rating.
    • The rest of the screenshots represent the dedicated area.
      1. Click name with the arrow on the left(in header) to return to previous page.
      2. Click Star to mark as favorite or camera icon to take a new picture
      3. Click Photos to see all photos of that place. Click About to return to about section.
      4. Click write a review to write your opinion about that place.
      5. Click Map to show place on map. Click Directions to get directions to that place. Click call to open default Dialer and call the place. The last option is only available if a phone number is available, otherwise the option is grayed out.
      6. Click Score to see Score screen. Same for right question mark.
      7. Click Street View button to see in street view. Only available if Street View app is installed.
      8. Click a review to see a separate page with a user review.
      9. Click Links to check place website.

Screenshot_2013-02-20-13-09-25Screenshot_2013-02-20-08-11-31           Screenshot_2013-02-20-09-02-46Screenshot_2013-02-20-09-03-06Screenshot_2013-02-20-09-02-59Screenshot_2013-02-20-09-02-51


  • Latitude
    • Click “Sharing currently disabled” to enable it from settings.
    • Click “Wi-Fi Disabled” to enable it from settings.
    • Click your user name in order to
      1. Check in
      2. Access Location History
      3. Access Location Settings(same result as in clicking Sharing currently disabled)




  • Location History
    • Scroll left or right to access different categories
    • Click an option if available to see details




  • Other: Press soft or hard menu key to access the following menu.
    • Clear Map. If you have tiles already saved offline
    • Make available offline. Select portions of the map to be downloaded and saved on internal memory.
    • Settings. Goes to app settings
    • Help




  • Make available offline
    • Depending on your last selection you may get 3 options
      • A red box for area too small or too big
      • A blue area meaning area has a accepted size. Some parts of the selection won’t be saved however.
    • You can zoom in or out and scroll around to focus the area you want be saved.
    • Click cancel or done to proceed
    • If you clicked done you will go to  “My Places” where a download notification will be showed. Press pause to temporarily halt the download or X to cancel. I recommend you download on Wi-Fi only. Tiles can get to hundreds of MB in size.

Screenshot_2013-02-20-08-19-24 Screenshot_2013-02-20-08-19-28 Screenshot_2013-02-20-08-20-10



  • Settings
    • In Display you can choose to enable zoom buttons in the map view, the scale bar and to see bubble action.
    • In Offline and cache you can choose to make cache automatic and clear the tiles.
    • In Location Settings you can manage different options such as friends, the ability to report from the device, enable automatic check-ins and so on. See screenshots for details.
    • In Labs you can enable some extra features that are disabled by default but could prove useful. Check out Measure and Elevation.
    • In Send Feedback you can send feedback to Google about your experience with the app. Fill in the various settings before sending.

Screenshot_2013-02-20-08-20-24 Screenshot_2013-02-20-08-20-28 Screenshot_2013-02-20-08-20-42 Screenshot_2013-02-20-08-20-52 Screenshot_2013-02-20-08-20-59 Screenshot_2013-02-20-08-21-10 Screenshot_2013-02-20-08-21-18 Screenshot_2013-02-20-08-21-40



  • Measure and Elevation tools.
    • If you activated the measure and elevation options from app settings in lab you will see a new icon on the bottom right corner above the layers icon. This will enable you to use the measure tool.
    • To use the measure tool after you clicked to activate it tap on a chosen point and click on a second point on the map. The tool will display in the upper area the elevation, distance and peak. You can click as many points as you wish.
    • Click the measure tool again to clear and disable.

Screenshot_2013-02-20-08-21-55 Screenshot_2013-02-20-08-21-59Screenshot_2013-02-20-08-22-07


Now that was a long tutorial. Hope you enjoyed it and know now how to properly use the Goggle Maps app and it’s features. See you next time.

Chief Editor,

Vlad Mafteiu