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Since it’s inception in 2005, Google Maps has evolved to such a stage where it is now the defacto way to search for locations and directions on the web. It has spawned countless mashups, shaken up the GPS industry, and through further innovations like Streetview – have changed the way we explore our surroundings.
One of the key factors to Google Map’s phenomenal success was their willingness to open up their API so that all kinds of interesting tools could be developed, to push and innovate the product further. Here are 4 such tools that will take your Google Maps experience to the next level.
1. How to use Google Maps without an Internet connection
Going somewhere where you know you can’t get online? Google Map Saver is a handy piece of freeware which allows you to save Google maps (even large areas) into images. This means you can view the image from an offline connection, or even throw it onto a mobile device which can view pictures, and you’re all set.
The best part is that GMS is light (only ~400 KBytes) and is very easy to run since it does not need to be installed before use.
2. How to send Google Maps directions straight to an iPhone
The desktop version of Google maps is inherently more powerful and easier to use than its mobile counterpart on the iPhone, so there may be times where you may want to plan your navigation on your desktop then send the directions straight to your iPhone.
The easiest way to do this, is to use iPhoneSender which can instantly email a link with directions and locations directly to an iPhone. The receiver can then open your link and have everything instantly mapped out on their iPhone. Also useful for sending exact locations to friends who are lost.
3. How to use Google Maps to print out large maps
Printing large scale maps which are readable using Google Maps is no easy feat. Without any aid, the only way to pull this off would be to stitch together multiple screenshots which is both painful and horribly time consuming. Google Maps Buddy is a free tool which allows you to do this quickly so you save the hassle should you need to print out readable maps of a large area.
4. How to instantly map addresses on your browser
Minimap was the winner of the 2nd Extend Firefox contest organized by Mozilla. One of the best Firefox extensions you can possibly use in terms of maps, this extension comes with three mapping components, the main and most powerful one being a minimap sidebar. In this sidebar you can drag and drop addresses or locations you find on web pages and they will be automatically located, and added to your saved address list. You can even do this with multiple addresses so you can see all the locations at once.
It also integrates with mapping and mapping capable services such as Flickr, and even other mapping services like Yahoo & Microsoft maps. An absolutely essential extension if you’re on Firefox.