Smart Map Tricks in OS X Mavericks

The Maps app in OS X Mavericks has many tricks up its sleeve. Here are a few nifty features you may find useful including maps, driving directions, and traffic information.

How to get route maps and directions to drive in Maps in OS X Mavericks

You can get route maps and driving directions to any location from any other location in a couple of ways:

  • If a pushpin is already on the screen: Click the pushpin and then click the little “i” to the right of its name to display the item’s Info screen. Now click Get Directions to get directions to that location.

  • When you’re looking at a map screen: Click the Directions button in the toolbar. The Start and End fields appear below the Search field in the toolbar. Type the start and end points or select them from your Bookmarks, Recent maps, or Contacts if you prefer (by typing the first few letters of its title).

    If you want to swap the starting and ending locations, click the little swirly arrow button to the left of the Start and End fields.

    If you need to change the start or end location, click the Clear button in the top-left corner and try again.

    When the start and end locations are correct, press Enter, Return, or Tab, and step-by-step directions will appear in a pane on the right side of the Maps window.

    Maps will often suggest several routes. The number of suggestions appears at the top of the list of directions, and the alternate routes are shown on the map in lighter blue and cartoon balloons that tell you how long it will take. Click a cartoon balloon or light blue alternate route to see step-by-step directions for it, or cycle through the options using the left or right arrow key.

    Click the blue line or cartoon balloon to select a route where Route 2 is selected.

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Now you can print your directions (File→Print or Command+P); Export them as a PDF (File→Export as PDF); or share them (File→Share).

When you’re finished with the step-by-step directions, click the Clear or Close button to close the Directions pane.

How to get directions to walk in OS X Mavericks

For step-by-step directions for walking, click the walking person icon below the Start and End fields. Walking directions generally look a lot like driving directions except for your travel time.

How to get real time traffic info in OS X Mavericks

You can find out the traffic conditions for whatever map you’re viewing by clicking the curling page button in the lower-right corner and then clicking the Show Traffic button. When you do this, major roadways are color-coded to inform you of the current traffic speed.

Choose View→Show Traffic to help determine which route will be most expedient.

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Here’s the key to those colors:

  • Yellow dots: 25 to 50 miles per hour

  • Red dashes: Under 25 miles per hour

  • Other: No data available at this time

Traffic info isn’t available in every location, but the only way to find out is to give it a try. If no color codes appear, assume that traffic information doesn’t work for that particular location.

Do more on the Info screen in OS X Mavericks

If a location has a little “i” to the right of its name, you can click it to see the location’s Info screen.

Here are three more things with a location from its Info screen:

  • Click the phone number to call it.

  • Click the e-mail address to launch the Mail app and send an e-mail to it.

  • Click the URL to launch Safari and view its website.

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