Tag Archives: Google Maps

Travelers – download these things before you leave: maps, languages, books, movies.

When you travel, you are bound to be in places where there is no internet connection available. We are on our way to Indonesia. Although we have a data plan that works internationally, we still expect to be off-grid for much of this trip. We want to be able to use Google Translate, Google Maps, Kindle books, and Netflix movies at any time, so we will download these things before we leave.

Google Translate

They speak Indonesian, we don’t. We will use Google Translate to help us, but it needs an internet connection to work … unless you download the language beforehand. Here’s how you do that:

  1. Open the Google Translate app on your phone
  2. Tap the Settings button at bottom right
  3. Tap “Offline translation”
  4. Tap “Add a language” tap the language you want then Download.

Realize that downloaded languages will take up space on your device. To delete the downloaded language when you get back home, repeat steps 1-3 above. When get to the Offline translation screen, tap the Edit button at top right. Now you will see a red – before each language. Tap that to remove.

Google Maps

You can download specific segments of maps for offline use in Google Maps.

The highlight shows how much of the map can be downloaded. In this example notice you can’t get all of Italy in one offline map.
  • Open the Google Maps app on your phone
  • Tap the account button at top right and choose “Offline Maps”
  • Tap “Select your own Map”
  • Drag the map to the general location you need
  • Use two fingers to pinch and zoom – the highlight will show you the amount of map that is possible to download.
  • You may have to repeat this for more segments to get all the map area you need

If it is too cumbersome to delineate all the segments you need using Google Maps, you may want to use the offline app Maps.me app instead. For example, in Maps.me I can ask to download “Indonesia” and maps.me automatically picks 7 different maps to cover the entire country.

Kindle Books

I love having a book to read anytime, anywhere, so I use the Kindle app on my phone. The book needs to be downloaded to my device before I can read it, so I need to do that before I lose connectivity.

  • Buy the book at Amazon.com
  • Open the Kindle app on your phone. If it opens straight into a book, you need to get to your library by tapping the screen to reveal the tools at the top, then tap the left arrow
  • You are now viewing your library and any books you have purchased will be here
  • To download a book, simply tap on it. If you can read the book, that means it is downloaded.

For more information on using the Kindle app, see Episode 214 of our “What Does This Button Do?” show.


If you want to watch a movie from one of your streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, or HBO, you generally need an Internet connection. Did you know you could download some movies in advance so they can be watched offline?

  • You need the app for your streaming service. Just open your App Store on iOS or the Play Store on Android and find the app.
  • For example, with the Netflix app, once you open the app and select the person watching you will see a menu at the bottom with “Downloads” as one of the options.
  • Tap Downloads then scroll down till you see “Find More to Download” (I’m not talking about “smart downloads” here)
  • Not all movies can be downloaded, but the ones on this screen can. Tap on one you want, then tap the Download button.
  • Now, when you find yourself offline, you can open the app, tap Downloads and see the movies that are available to watch because you previously downloaded them.

Don’t care to watch a movie on that tiny phone screen? Here’s a video about using an HDMI cable to mirror your phone on a TV.

221. Google Maps Hidden features: Street View and Timeline

  • 0:00 Begin
  • 0:47 Quick Tip – Street view with Directions
  • 4:18 Intro
  • 8:56 Google Maps Street View intro
  • 15:28 Using Street view on Computer
  • 22:23 Photo Paths and Photo Spheres – Stonehenge example
  • 26:02 Historical images in Street View
  • 28:20 Using Street View on mobile devices
  • 36:23 Using Street View to see parking lot space
  • 39:33 Timeline location history by date, trip, places and more
  • 47:33 Timeline on a computer
  • 53:00 Review questions

Everyone can view any episode for free. Just click on the play button above, or the link to any ‘chapter’ in the video.

Members get access to the extensive show-notes Chris writes up after each show – see below. Read them online and follow links directly to the parts you’re interested in. We recommend you print them out and keep them in a notebook. It’s a great reference.

Not a member? Join here.

For Members Only

Google Maps can show elevation change

I’ll never forget when we were traveling in New Mexico and asked Google Maps to plot our course from Carlsbad to Alamogordo near White Sands National Park. I didn’t understand why it was telling us to go many miles out of our way to the north, then around and down. When I looked at the map I saw a much more direct route – thru Cloudcroft. Let’s go that way.

Well, we learned the hard way. That is a very steep climb up and an even steeper trudge down. We’d already burned one set of brakes, we had to be very careful not to burn another.

That was some years ago and we didn’t have the separate programs that would tell us what the elevation was. Today it is super simple, right in Google Maps. Just tell Google Maps that you’re on a bicycle and it adds a panel to the left sidebar with the elevation changes along the selected route. Make sure to select the car once as well, just to check that the route is the same. The elevation profile will only show up when you have bicycle selected.

To learn more about navigating with Google Maps, see our Member Learning Guide:

#97 Living the RV Dream

Show Notes for Members below

Not a member? Join here. This episode covers:

  1. Tip o Week: Setting an Alarm
  2. Beginner’s Lesson: About RVing!
    Interview John & Kathy Huggins, LivingTheRVDream.com
    Interview Eric and Tami Johnson, TechnoRV.com
  3. App o week: Ookla Speedtest, OpenSignal, Google Maps

Download .pdf (you’ll see a Dropbox login, but you can just close it – no Dropbox account is needed)

Click Here To View This
Beginning Where are we?
Living The RV Dream Rally
1:11 Tip of the Day – Set an alarm with OK Google (or Siri)
Simply talk to your phone: Android = OK Google, Set a timer for 15 minutes.
Apple: Siri = hold down on home button until she’s listening, then “Set a timer for 15 minutes”
1:34 Interview John and Kathy Huggins of LivingTheRVDream.com
John and Kathy have been fulltime RVers for about 10 years. They are best known for their weekly podcast, “Living the RV Dream” and for their extremely popular Facebook Group: Living the RV Dream.  Over 34,000 members and growing daily!
imageThey’ve also written a couple of RVing books. So You Want To Be An RVer? will tell you everything you might every want to know about RVing!

John and Kathy discuss how RVing has allowed them to see so many things in the United States. Especially Mr. Rushmore!

Note: we had a little technical difficulty with the video for a while, but we covered with photos – and the live video does pick up here.

10:16 We talk with John and Kathy about Internet Technology on the Road.
15:28 Interview Eric and Tami Johnson of TechnoRV.com


Eric and Tami bought TechnoRV from our friends Phil and Tracey May. Years ago, we put together our own RV rallies called Techno-Geek Learning Rally. Phil and Tracey have since moved back to their home in the UK. We are enjoying getting to know Eric and Tami.

They talk about how they made the decision to go RVing. With 3 kids in college, they have a few more considerations than many of us!


Eric and Tami are continuing the TechnoRV process of evaluating, using, and supporting products that are useful to RVers. They’ve done a great job of vetting their products, teaching how to use them, and supporting their customers.

Some of the products they sell at TechnoRV.com

25:16 Eric does a little bit of Show and Tell and teaching about  his Wi-Fi booster equipment. Indoor antennas, outdoor antennas, and repeaters. Wi-Fi vs. Cellular.
He shows the Alfa Desktop WiFi Booster. The Alfa WiFi Repeater, and and Outdoor WiFi Booster TubeThere’s lots more on their website, and if you fill out the form on this page, you can get their
“Guide to Boosting your RV’s WiFi”http://www.technorv.com/RV_WiFi_Boosters_s/85.htm
33:05 App of the Week
In addition to our App, both of our guests had some suggestions!
Ookla Speedtest, OpenSignal, Google Mapsimage

Printicular is the only app we’ve found that can access your Google Photos. Choose the ones you want to print, send to the Walgreen’s nearest you and you can pick up your prints in an hour!

36:11 Tami gets excited about Google Photos!! She learned this week how easy it is to import her lifetime of photos from many different sources.

Ends at 37:55 Complete Playlist of What Does This Button Do shows.

Technology for Travelers: Geeks Teach at an RV Rally

Getting ready to teach our first seminar, "Technology for Travelers", at the Living The RV Dream Gathering
Getting ready to teach our first seminar, “Technology for Travelers”, at the Living The RV Dream Gathering

We just spent last week at an RV rally called “Living the RV Dream Gathering.” People from all over the country who travel by RV gathered here to learn, make friends, and have fun. We presented 4 seminars and one day-long smartphone photography workshop. For RVers, we almost always start with the seminar we call “Technology for Travelers.”

What IS Technology for Travelers?

We have a very specific meaning of Technology for Travelers. We aren’t talking about the satellite dishes, tire pressure monitors, or GPS devices. Although that could also be called Technology for Travelers, we like to teach what can be done with computer technology to Plan, Preserve, and Share your travels.

We have been traveling by RV since 2003 and our most prized possessions of those years are our pictures, maps, and blogs. If you enjoy your memories as much as we do, we think you need to learn how to use your smartphone and/or your computer to do the same!


We take hundreds of photos every month while we’re traveling. We use our iPhone and Android phone most of the time, but also some ‘real’ cameras. We gather our best pictures, using Google Photos,  and put them into albums for each month. Then we make a page on our blog to show off those albums. You can learn how to use the free Google Photos from our Book, Tutorial videos, and more on our website.

photo albums


We use Google’s free My Maps to make our own maps for each year. We start planning for the next year by creating a map like “2017 Geek Travels.” Then as the year progresses, we keep modifying that map. We change destinations, add destinations, and populate each stop with photos and descriptions. At the end of each year, we add the map to a Maps page on our Blog. You can learn how to make these maps with the tutorial videos on our website.



Pictures and maps tell most of the story, but I also like to write out my memories journal-style. Facebook is great for sharing small moments, but to have a complete journal I like using Google’s free Blogger.com. As noted above, you can also use your blog to create pages for other things, like pictures, maps, and videos. The blog is where I put it all together!  I created our blog when we were first just thinking about RVing. That was in early 2003 when Blogger.com was the only option available for a free journal/website. I still think it is the best option, and it is free and easy. Since our beginning in 2003, we have written nearly 2,000 posts. We are now ordering hard-bound, 4-color, coffee table books for each year on the road. Thumbing thru those books is one of my favorite things to do!


Even if you don’t travel by RV, if you have memories you want to keep, check out our Tutorial videos on Photos, Maps, and Blogs. If you do travel by RV, we hope to see you at a Rally sometime down the road! There are hundreds of possible RV rallies to choose from. Most of them are organized by RV Clubs. Living the RV Dream’s website lists all the major clubs here. You can see where we’ll be on our calendar.

Remember Every Place you Visit with Google Maps

By Chris Guld, GeeksOnTour.com

We’re currently visiting the San Francisco Bay area and decided to call up our friends, Rusty and Tony who live in a beautiful houseboat in Sausalito. We were happy to learn they were home and available! When they asked if we needed directions, I said, “No, I have your place marked on Google Maps from the last time we were here.”

“You’re so organized!” Rusty said.

Ha! Organized is about the last adjective I would use to describe myself, but I do know how to use Google Maps, and I had simply marked their place as a favorite the last time we were here – 3 years ago. All I had to do was open Google Maps on my phone, tap on the gold star in Sausalito and ask for navigation.

Rusty and Tony

If you’d like to do this, it’s easy. If you’re currently at the specified location you can use Google Maps on your phone and tap the imageicon to make sure the map is centered on your current location, and you see the blue dot which represents your location

  1. Make sure you are logged in to your Google account – look in the upper right corner.
  2. Longpress on the blue dot (touch and hold) until you see a red teardrop placemarker appear.
  3. You should notice some location info at the bottom of the screen, put your finger on that space and swipe up
  4. You should now see more info about the location, and 3 buttons: Save, Label, and Share. 3 years ago, I only had “Save” which left a gold star in the spot. That’s fine, but now you have “Label” which would allow you to type something like “Rusty and Tony’s”
  5. From now on, whenever you view Google Maps and you’re logged in to your Google account, you can view that location and see a flag labeled “Rusty and Tony’s.” Tap that icon and then the blue arrow for navigate, and you’re on your way!

Google just announced a new app called Trips. It has some interesting features, but the more I look at other travel and mapping apps, I keep coming back to Google Maps. It does so much, just keep learning.

Chris Guld is President and Teacher-in-Chief at GeeksOnTour.com. She has been in computer training and support since 1983 and owned a Computer Training Center called Computer Savvy from 1983-1996. She has been a Fulltime RVer, popular seminar presenter at RV Rallies, and regular contributor to RVTravel, for many years.