OPINION: I love Google Maps, but now it’s better than ever
IF YOU are as terrible as I am with directions, you might consider Google Maps to be the most important tool ever made.
This web mapping service, available via internet browsers or the smartphone app, has never led me astray.
But Google Maps is full of many more perks than just a functioning navigation tool.
You can review businesses and restaurants and discover important information about them - such as opening hours, contact numbers, website, business type - with a simple search.
The company is also working on a 3D map, with landscape and buildings in a 3D format. This hasn't hit regional areas yet but you can check it out in capital cities.
Already available is detailed traffic information including traffic jams, detours and road works information. This has saved me from being stuck in traffic many times.
It can also be useful when you're looking at areas to buy a house. What does the street of the home look like? Where are the nearby schools? Parks? Where are the traffic build-ups?
On the Northern Rivers, I would love to see 3D tours of the art galleries and museums, perhaps for those primary school students who live remotely and can't always make it into town.
I would love to see our beautiful landscape pictured in 3D - from the mountains and hills to the rainforests and waterfalls. This tool could be handy for holiday planning or to send to interstate friends or family.
And in those rainforests it would be great to see mapped walking trails and bike paths including estimated walking times.
Finally, I would love to see the various sporting events highlighted on the map above each sporting ground. Lismore has a lot of ovals and it can be difficult remembering which is which.
If you haven't used Google Maps before I'd definitely recommend spending some time browsing through it.
Visit www.google.com.au/maps and switch between Map and Earth view. You can do this by clicking on the button in the bottom left.
To check out 3D maps in cities, switch to Earth view, search a location and select "3D" on the right.