Google Maps Delivers Free Topo Maps And Much More
Acquiring free topo maps from Google Maps has to be one of the search engine giant's most attractive and original creations to market to date. Certainly, they have lots of great search features on Google Maps to help you fly high up above the world for a satellite's-eye view of the world before you swoop in on wherever it is that takes your fancy, walk about the streets of any city in the world to feature StreetView and even add information about anything you know in any city across the world. Of course, the world as it is brought to you with high resolution satellite imagery and aerial photograph from Kansas to Alaska, is a spectacular treat to your inner Magellan. But what if you aren't trying to be the intrepid explorer, and are instead just trying to quickly find the way to someplace you already have in mind?
One of the quickest ways of finding your way around a map is usually to use keyboard shortcuts. That wouldn't intuitively occur to you, of course. It would seem like going with the mouse, clicking and dragging, would have to be the quickest way of navigating a Google map. Nevertheless, try keyboard shortcuts like these: to pan a map in any direction, use the arrow keys. If that's too slow for you, all you need do is to try the Page keys or the Home and End keys. And of course, zooming is easily accomplished with the plus or minus keys.
The default location in Google Maps is always North America. It's an inconvenience to anyone who lives anywhere else to have to always bring up their country and city of choice first before they get to actually do the map searching they have in mind. There's an easy way out of this. All you need to do is to set the default location of your Google Maps view to whatever city it is that you would like Google Maps to open to when you turn it on. All you would need do is to select Sset Default Location on the left margin, and key in the city of your choice.
Sometimes, the smallest free topo maps features make the biggest difference to how easy it ends up being to use a product. Right next to the Search Maps button is a drop-down list of options that gives you all kinds of categories that you could like Google Maps to pull out results for - real estate, businesses or user-created maps. If your search has way too many results for it to be useful, all you need to do is to filter them by category.
And finally, if it seems like a hassle to have to actually go to Google Maps to look something up, consider the bookmarklet called BookMaplet. To get this tool, all you will need to do is to go to the BookMaplet website, and install it to your browser toolbar. Once it's installed, any time you select the name of any place printed on a website and click on the bookmarklet, it'll open a little version of Google Maps right there. You won't need to go to another tab or window.