With features that include detailed directions, integrated search results, satellite imagery, transit routes and real-time traffic reports, Google Maps for BlackBerry packs a lot of resources beyond just maps into your smartphone. Here's a closer look at the features that Google Maps offers for your BlackBerry:
Find Your Location
Press "0" in Google Maps and you'll see a blue dot showing your exact location on the map, if your BlackBerry has GPS. If it doesn't, you'll see a blue dot surrounded by a light blue circle. This shows your approximate location, based on information related to nearby mobile towers [source: Google].
Find the Nearest (Whatever You Need)
First, move the map to the area you're interested in by panning or using "Move Map" or "Find Location" menu commands. Then select "Find Business" from the menu and enter the type of business you want to find, such as "hotel" or "photocopy center." Google Maps will show the red flags on the map to make the locations of businesses of this type. Click on the flag for the business name, address and telephone number [source: Google].
Try either of these ways to get directions:
- Search for and find your destination on the map. Press its number key a second time to show additional options. Then click "Directions to here" or "Directions from here" and enter the missing start or end address. Press 3 ("Start directions") on the keypad, and you'll see step-by-step directions for your route.
- Select "Directions" from the application menus and enter your start and end addresses, either typing them or choosing them on the map. Then press 3 to see directions for your route.
Get a Clearer Satellite View
Maybe you'd like to see what your neighborhood looks like from a satellite, or maybe seeing actual physical features of a map, like a lakeshore or tennis courts, would clarify driving directions. To get a satellite view in Google Maps, just choose "Satellite" from the application menu. As with the regular maps, you can zoom in for a close look, zoom out or move the map.
Check Traffic Conditions
You can access information on local traffic by pressing 7 on your keypad while you're looking at a map or by selecting "Show Traffic" from the options menu. The route colors show the road condition. Traffic on routes shown as green is moving normally, while vehicles on yellow routes are moving slowly, and those on red routes are bumper to bumper. Information is not available about gray routes.
Comprehensive traffic data is available for more than 30 U.S. metropolitan areas, including Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. Partial traffic information is available for many other cities. If reports are not available, the screen will show the message, "Traffic info is not available in this area."
Google Maps keeps adding features for BlackBerry and other mobile phone users. The newest features allow users to find a route on public transportation in more than 50 cities worldwide. Pick starting and end points, and the transit feature will show you transit options and fares and then guide you through choosing times and stations on your route.
You also can zoom in on various sections of the route map and even convert to satellite view for a better look at where the bus stops. And you can use the transit information to estimate how long the trip will take. To watch a video demo, go to Google.
For more information about Google Maps for BlackBerry and related topics, visit the links on the next page.