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Basics of Maps in OS X Mavericks

The Maps application, which is new in Mavericks, should look familiar to people who use iOS devices, which have sported a Maps app since time immemorial. If you know how to use the Maps app on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you already know most of what you need to know to use Maps on your Mac.

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How to find your current location with Maps in OS X Mavericks

Let’s start with something supremely simple yet extremely useful: determining your current location. At the risk of sounding like a self-help guru, here’s how to find yourself: Launch the Maps application from the Dock, Launchpad, or Applications folder, and then click the Current Location button, which is a little gray (or blue if it’s enabled) arrowhead shown in the margin and found in the upper-left corner of the Maps window.

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Your location is indicated by a blue dot.

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If you tap or drag the map, your Mac continues to update your location but won’t re-center the blue marker. So the blue dot can scroll (or zoom) off the screen. If that happens, click the Current Location button again to center the map on your current location again.

How to find a person, place, or thing in Maps in OS X Mavericks

To find a person, place, or thing with Maps, choose Edit→Find, press Command+F, or click in the Search field in the upper-right corner, and then type what you’re looking for. You can search for addresses, zip codes, intersections, towns, landmarks, and businesses by category and by name, or combinations, such as New York, NY 10022, pizza 60645, or Texas State Capitol.

If the letters you type match names stored in your Mac (or iDevice) Contacts app, the matching contacts appear in a list below the Search field. Click a name to see a map of that contact’s location. The Maps app is smart about it, too, displaying only the names of contacts that have a street address.

If you don’t find a match in the list, press Enter or Return and with any luck, within a few seconds, a map will appear. If you search for a single location, it’s marked with a single pushpin. If you search for a category (BBQ Lockhart, TX, for example), you see multiple pushpins, one for each matching location (BBQ joints in Lockhart, TX).

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You can search for all sorts of things, including intersections, neighborhoods, landmarks, restaurants, and businesses. Furthermore, you can combine several items, such as pizza and a zip code.

To find out more, click a name in the list below the Search field or click on a pin. A little flag with the name of the location appears. Click the “i” on the right side of a flag, and a window with information about the location appears.

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This handy little info window sometimes contains reviews and/or photos; click the appropriate tab to read reviews or see photos. Take a look at how to navigate your Maps.

Basics of views, zooms, and pans in Maps in OS X Mavericks

Three views are available: standard (map), satellite, and hybrid, all of which may be available in 3D. You can choose a view by clicking one of the three tabs in the toolbar.

  • * To switch to 3D in any of the three views, click the 3D button (shown in the margin) or choose View→3D.

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    You may have to zoom in for the map to appear in 3D.

  • To scroll, hold down the mouse or trackpad button and drag left, right, up, or down. If you have a trackpad, you can drag using two fingers.

    If you click and then fling your mouse in any direction (or flick with two fingers on a trackpad), you’ll “fly over” the ground below. It’s not particularly useful but it looks cool.

  • To adjust the camera angle, click the compass and drag up and down.

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You can zoom, rotate, or scroll to see more or less of the map in any view and with 3D on or off.

  • To zoom out: Choose View→Zoom Out or press Command+minus (that's –). If you have a trackpad, you can also pinch to zoom out (just like on your iPhone).

  • To zoom in: Choose View→Zoom in or press Command+plus (that's +). If you have a trackpad, you can also unpinch (spread two fingers) to zoom out (just like on your iPhone).

    An unpinch is the opposite of a pinch. Start with your thumb and a finger together and then flick them apart.

    You can also unpinch with two fingers or two thumbs, one from each hand, but you’ll probably find that a single-handed pinch and unpinch is handier.

  • To rotate: Rotate two fingers on the screen or click the compass and drag.

  • To scroll: Click and drag up, down, left, or right. If you have a trackpad, you can also drag two fingers in any direction to scroll.

Basics of Maps and contacts in OS X Mavericks

If you want to see a map of a contact’s street address, click the little bookmarks icon to the left of the Search field, click All Contacts in the list on the left, and then click the contact’s name.

Or type a few letters of the contact’s name in the Search field and click her name in the list that automatically appears.

After you find a location by typing an address in Maps, you can add that location to one of your contacts. Or you can create a new contact with a location you’ve found. To do either, click the location’s pushpin on the map and then click the little “i” to the right of the location’s name to display its Info screen.

Now click the Add to Contacts button on the Info screen.

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