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How to Use the Android Tablet as a GPS Navigator

Your Android tablet is ever-ready to help you get directions and navigate from point A to point B, thanks to the various direction and navigation features nestled in the Maps app.

If you use your tablet in your auto, someone else should hold it and read the directions. Or use voice navigation and, for goodness sake, don’t look at the tablet while you’re driving!

How to get directions on your Android tablet

One command associated with locations on the map is Directions or Get Directions. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Touch a location’s cartoon bubble displayed by an address, a contact, or a business or as a result of a map search.

    A pop-up window appears, offering more information.

  2. Touch the Directions icon in the location’s cartoon bubble.

    After touching the Directions icon (shown in the margin), you’ll see a pop-up window. It’s preset to help you get to the location you chose in Step 1 from your current location. You can change the My Location item to any other address, or swap the items.

  3. Ensure that the starting location and destination are what you want.

    If they’re backwards, touch the Swap icon. You can touch the Bookmark icon to choose a favorite place, a contact, or a specific map location.

  4. Choose a method of transportation.

    The options available vary, depending on your location.

  5. Touch the Go button.

    A list of directions appears on the left side of the screen. On the right side of the screen you see your route plotted as a blue line on the map.

  6. Follow the blue line.

    Google doesn’t provide a cheerful song to sing while you follow the blue line.

You can modify your journey by dragging the blue line around with your finger. Touch one of the waypoints, shown in the margin, to drag the route to other streets or nearby highways. The journey distance and travel time adjust as you change your route.

  • The blue line appears only on the tablet screen, not on streets in the real world.

  • The Maps app alerts you to any toll roads on the specified route. As you travel, you can choose alternative, non-toll routes if available. You’re prompted to switch routes during navigation.

  • You may not get perfect directions from the Maps app, but it’s a useful tool for places you’ve never visited.

How to navigate to your destination with your Android tablet

To use navigation, choose the Navigation option from any list of directions. Or touch the Navigation icon, shown in the margin. You can also enter the Navigation app directly by choosing it from the Apps screen, though then you must type (or speak) your destination, so it’s just easier to start in the Maps app.

In navigation mode, the tablet displays an interactive map that shows your current location and turn-by-turn directions for reaching your destination. A digital voice tells you how far to go and when to turn, and gives you other nagging advice — just like a backseat driver, albeit an accurate one.

After choosing Navigation, sit back and have the tablet dictate your directions. You can simply listen, or just glance at the tablet for an update of where you’re heading.

To stop navigation, touch the Menu icon and choose the Exit Navigation command.

  • To remove the navigation route from the screen, exit navigation mode and return to the Maps app. Touch the Menu icon and choose the Clear Map command.

  • When you tire of hearing the navigation voice, touch the Menu icon and choose the Turn Off Voice command.

  • The neat thing about the navigation feature is that whenever you screw up, a new course is immediately calculated.

  • In navigation mode, the Android tablet consumes a lot of battery power. You should plug the tablet into your car’s power adapter (cigarette lighter) for the duration of the trip. Any Android cell phone power adapter works, or any adapter with a micro-USB connector.

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