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How to Use the Android Tablet Maps App

You start the Maps app by choosing Maps from the Apps drawer on your Android tablet. If you’re starting the app for the first time or it has been recently updated, you can read its What’s New screen; touch the OK button to continue.

Your tablet communicates with Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites to hone in on your current location and display it on a map. The position is accurate to within a given range, as shown by a faint blue circle around your location.

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Here are some fun things you can do when viewing the basic street map:

Zoom in: To make the map larger (to move it closer), double-tap the screen. You can also spread your fingers on the touchscreen to zoom in.

Zoom out: To make the map smaller (to see more), pinch your fingers on the touchscreen.

Pan and scroll: To see what’s to the left or right or at the top or bottom of the map, drag your finger on the touchscreen; the map scrolls in the direction you drag.

Rotate: Using two fingers, rotate the map clockwise or counterclockwise. Touch the Compass Pointer icon to reorient the map with north at the top of the screen.

Location: Touch the Location icon to zero in on your current location.

Perspective: Touch the screen with two fingers and swipe up or down to view the map in perspective. You can also tap the Location icon to switch to Perspective view, although that trick works only for your current location. To return to flat-map view, touch the Compass Pointer icon.

The closer you zoom in on the map, the more detail you see, such as street names, address block numbers, businesses, and other sites — but no tiny people.

  • The blue triangle shows in which general direction the tablet is pointing.

  • When the tablet’s direction is unavailable, you see a blue dot as your location on the map.

  • To view the navigation drawer, touch the app icon. Swipe the navigation drawer to the left to return to the Maps app.

  • When all you want is a virtual compass, similar to the one you lost as a kid, get a compass app from the Google Play Store.

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