That’s right! Take a picture of a place you need to return to. Take that picture with a smartphone that has the GPS tagging feature turned on. Now, when you need to return, you can view the picture, see the GPS location and navigate back. Pretty slick. Here’s the details:
I used a Samsung Galaxy S5. This should work with any type of Android device as long as you have Google Maps version 9.21 or higher. It does not seem to work on an iPhone … yet.
I used Google Photos to view the photo
Before taking the picture, be sure you have the Location Tags (aka Geotags) turned ON in your camera’s settings. I leave mine on all the time.
Now, when you take a picture, view it using Google Photos and tap the i (for Information) you should see a map with a marker.
Tap the map marker and it will open Google Maps, then tap the Blue car button and it will navigate to the place where the photo was taken.
If you are an RVer – this is SO useful! For a long time now, we’ve been teaching people about the ability to save a location with a star in Google Maps, then you can navigate back to the star at any time. I still use this technique, but my Google Maps is getting to be covered with stars! This method of using a picture and navigating to it is great for situations like yesterday. We were staying at a large RV park for only one night, we really didn’t have a feel for the directions within the park at all. So, I took a picture of our motorhome on our site. Then, after going out to dinner, I opened the picture (using Google Photos) tapped the i, then tapped the map and we were getting directions back to our exact site. It would be really useful if you’re trying to return to a boondocking site in the middle of nowhere!
App: Google Maps and Google Photos
Platform: This feature only works on Android right now
If you use Google Maps on your phone to navigate, you’ve probably noticed that it has been limited to navigating from your current location to one destination. That is normally enough, but there are some times that you want to take a little detour somewhere in the middle. In the past, you needed to cancel your current route and start over with getting instructions for the detour. The latest update changes that.
Adding a Stop while Navigating
While you’re navigating, you now see a magnifying glass – the icon for Search – in the upper right side of the Google Maps screen. Tap that icon and you’ll see several options: gas stations, Restaurants, Grocery stores, and Coffee shops. If you choose gas stations, you will see the stations along your route. You will also see the latest price for gas attached to each station. I don’t see how to get Diesel prices, so I’ll be keeping Gas Buddy for a while.
While navigating, tap the Search icon
Then tap Gas Stations to see stations and prices along your route
If you want to stop at one of those stations, just tap it and you will see an icon at the bottom to Add Stop.
If you’re not looking for something in those categories, you can click the “Search for more places” to get Google’s normal search screen. Search for whatever you want, then tap a location in the search results to Add Stop.
Create a Multi-Stop route and Save it
You can’t save the route you just created on the phone, but if you create a route on the computer, there is a way.
Open the Chrome browser on a computer and go to Maps.Google.com
Click the Directions button
Enter destinations, clicking the button to add more (up to 8 stops)
When you’re satisfied with the route, copy the long URL that has been created in the Address Bar (or you can click on Details, then the Share button – this gives you the same link, but with an option to shorten the link)
Send yourself an email and paste the URL link into it.
When you open that email on your phone and tap the URL link, you can open up Google maps and use Navigation for the entire route.
Geeks on Tour members can watch these videos to see exactly what I mean.
This is a very short video demonstrating how to change your view while navigating with Google Maps. The demonstration uses an Android phone, but the procedure works just the same using Google Maps on an Apple iPhone or iPad.
It’s a rare RVer that doesn’t use some type of GPS device to assist in navigation. When we sold our house and hit the road in 2003, we used the Streets and Trips software on our laptop with a little USB GPS receiver. A few years later we bought a Garmin dashboard GPS, then a Rand McNally RVND, and now a Magellan. Those are all great devices and we use them all, but I like using my Droid smartphone with Google Navigation the best! Why do I love it? Let me count the ways:
It’s in my hand. I am in the passenger seat – this is not a good thing for a solo driver – but for a navigator, it is so comfortable to hold the device in your hand to be able to adjust your view, search for locations, or change settings. When I have to manipulate the screen on a device that is mounted to the dash, I have to sit up in my seat and contort my body in order to see the screen and be able to properly use the controls. If we’re using Streets and Trips on the laptop, that’s easier than the dashboard units, but it’s big and awkward.
It’s fast. My navigation advice is usually needed when Jim is driving according to the dashboard unit and he says something like, “this next turn doesn’t seem right, what should I do?” I need to quickly get a birds-eye view of where we are vs. where we’re going, and evaluate the choices of how to get there. With a simple pinch gesture, the Droid responds with what I need – instantly.
It’s clear. Even though it is a tiny screen, the resolution is so good that I can read every description and see every feature. I can even turn on satellite view and see the trees, rivers, bridges, and buildings. Any of the other devices seem almost childish in their graphics by comparison.
It’s Google. I can search … and find … anything. Any campground, park, store, address, restaurant, or service – this is Google, it’s on the Internet and up to date. Traffic information is quite reliable within about 15 minutes.
It’s my smartphone. My email is on there, so I can look up the email for the campground reservation and touch the address to navigate there, or call the phone number. Or I can use my Passport America App to find a campground, then just touch ‘directions’ and my Google Navigation takes over with turn-by-turn voice directions to the exact address. Or I can browse to the website for the Presidential Museum we want to visit – see an address on the web page, touch it, and choose Navigate to there. Here’s a short video showing how I can touch an address on email and then go straight to navigation:
It’s not perfect – nothing is! The main drawback is that the information is coming from the Internet, so if you lose cell signal – you lose your maps. There are ways to download your route in advance, but that requires that you know where you’re going … in advance! We will not be getting rid of our dashboard units any time soon – and we still think Streets and Trips on our laptop is the best way to plan our travels – but Google Navigation on our Android smartphones is the clear favorite GPS navigation device for Geeks on Tour!
An Android phone is full of Google goodies! Google Navigation is a voice directed, turn by turn, GPS navigation system that is fully integrated with Google Maps. It comes pre-installed with your Android phone and it is FREE! We even like it better than any of the dedicated GPS navigation devices that we own. This video shows you how to get started with Google Navigation on an Android Smartphone.