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Map App Functions on an Android Phone

Start the Maps app on your Android phone by choosing Maps from the App menu, or you may find a shortcut to the Maps app lurking on the Home screen. If you’re starting the app for the first time or if it has recently been updated, you can read its What’s New screen; touch the OK button to continue.

Your Android phone communicates with GPS satellites to hone in on your current location. It’s shown on the map. The position is accurate to within a given range, as shown by a blue circle around your location on the map (see the following figure).


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), touch the Zoom In button, double-tap the screen, or spread your fingers on the touchscreen.

  • Zoom out: To make the map smaller (to see more), touch the Zoom Out button or 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 your finger.

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

  • Perspective: Tap the Location button to switch to Perspective view, where the map is shown at an angle. Touch the Location button again (though now it’s truly the Perspective button) to return to flat-map view or, if that doesn’t work, touch the compass pointer.

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

  • Touching the Map Features button displays a menu full of interesting things you can do with the Maps app.

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

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

  • When all you want is a virtual compass, similar to the one you lost as a kid, you can get the Compass app from the Android Market.

  • Perspective view can be entered only for your current location.

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