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It shouldn't be any surprise to those used to the easy and flexible functionality of Google's products that Google Maps is good for a lot more than mapping the quickest route on your next road trip. Some uses of the technology are just for fun, but there are also many practical, real-life applications that can make your life on and off the Internet easier. From finding a place to park at the airport to mapping your latest family photos, here are a few unusual ways to use Google Maps. Travel Information Google Maps is great for getting directions to just about anywhere, but it can also be used to get all kinds of travel information on distances, travel times, and where to stop for gas.
- Check time anywhere in the world. If you're traveling across multiple time zones on your next trip you can find out the time in your destination with this Google Maps tool called Qlock. Mouse over the map or enter a location to find out the time of any city in the world.
- Find airport parking. Find out where to leave your car on your next long trip. Enter your departure airport and find out where you'll be able to leave your car, how far from the airport the lot is, and how much it will cost you a day.
- Avoid traffic jams. Help make your daily commute or road trip smoother and less stressful by checking out the traffic situation before you depart. Enter your city and you'll be able to see what highways are backed up and which are clear so you can adjust your route accordingly.
- Find red light cameras. Speed demons can help prevent getting a hefty ticket with this online application. Simply select a regional map and the program will give you the locations of all the red light cameras in your area so you can know where to keep your speed in check.
- Get the cheapest gas. Similar to popular gas finders like GasBuddy, this Google Maps powered program takes your address and gives you the locations of the cheapest gas in your area so you can save a bundle on commuter and travel costs.
- Convert currency. This mapping program allows you to click on a location and get the conversion rate of that country's currency with that of other large countries. You'll also be able to get the local time and basic information about the location.
- Find a ski resort. If you're looking to find the perfect snowy destination for your next getaway look no further than this handy map-based tool called Ski Bonk. You can see what ski resorts are located in certain areas, if they're open and what the conditions and snow situation is like for each.
- Track a flight. Whether you're tracking the flight of a relative or friend you're waiting to arrive or making sure your own flight will be on time you can find the information you need with this Google Maps tool called FlightStats. Just enter your flight information into the tool and get started tracking.
- Calculate cab fare. Input your starting and ending points and you can get an estimate on taxi fare including tip for several major cities in the US and Canada. It can be a great way to get an estimate for vacation expenses or to know how much to take out of the ATM for a night out.
- Get flight status information. Get up to date travel information with this tool from Orbitz. Use the map to select your city and get information on delays for arrivals and departures. Users can also sign up to get updates sent directly to their phones.
- Find information on your destination. This application combines the power of Google Maps with the information of wikis. Find loads of information on locations all over the world so you can make the most of your next trip whether it's down the block or around the world.
Just for Fun Here are a few fun ways you can experiment with using Google Maps.
- Make a map out of any photo. Have an aerial photo of a battle site or a scan of an ancient map? Turn them into interactive digital maps with this program. You'll be able to add markers that will give viewers important information, be able to zoom in and out, and embed the photos into many other webpages.
- Add your photos to a map. Panaramio allows users to add their photos to a map of a location they've been to. Users can attach photos of their last family trip to a map of that destination to add perspective to the trip and share them with people all over the world.
- Check out the other side of the world. Ever wonder if you'd be able to reach China if you started digging in your backyard? Now you can find out just what lies on the other side of the earth with this mapping application.
- See the world at night. Maps of the world can be just as interesting at night as users will learn from this mapping application. Check out the lights from the densely populated areas of the world or the intense darkness of the desert and antarctic regions.
- Look at the clouds over earth. Looking at clouds isn't just for lazy afternoons. Now you can check out the cloud cover any time of the day with this mapping tool.
- Map out movie filming locations. Cinephiles will enjoy this map-based tool. With Moviemappr, users will be able to see what movies were filmed in their city and even where certain scenes were shot.
- Explore biblical locations. Even nonreligious types can appreciate this tool, which can help map up present day locations with historical places in the Bible. Users just select a section from the Bible and any applicable locations will be laid out on the map so you can see how they relate.
- Pinpoint the world's tallest buildings. Love architecture? Take a trip around the world to see some of the biggest buildings in the world. From the Petronas Towers in Malaysia to the Sears Tower in Chicago, this map covers the big ten.
- Learn about the 7 Wonders of the World. Explore the world through this map, which lists and maps many different types of seven wonders. From the traditional 7 ancient wonders to the 7 underwater wonders users will be able to see the biggest and most beautiful places in the world.
- See where UFOs have been sighted. Think you saw an alien visit in your own backyard? Check out this map to see where other sightings have been and even add your own to the mix. Users can also access the program from Google Earth for worldwide coverage on UFO sightings.
Daily Life Want to streamline your daily routines or find the best location for just about anything? Try out these tips using Google Maps.
- Measure your walking or running route. Find out how far you're going on your daily jog with this handy online tool. Enter your path and the program will give you your distance, how many calories you've burned, and even saves your path for you.
- Find a job. Whether you're looking for a job in your current city or hoping to relocate, this mapping application can help you find employment no matter where you are. Enter the field you're interested in as well the location and you'll get a list of job openings in your area.
- Rent an apartment. Have a neighborhood you'd like to move to but not sure what's available? Find apartment listings with this Google Maps-based tool. Enter your city and price-range and you'll get hundreds of listings at your fingertips.
- Locate a nearby mailbox. Next time you need to mail something out, use this handy mapping tool to help you find out where the closest post office box is in relation to where you live.
- Find a WiFi hotspot. It can be incredibly frustrating to not be able to connect to the Internet when you need to use it. With this convenient mapping app you'll be able to figure out the best locations to connect anywhere you'll be.
- Align your satellite dish. You didn't pay for that satellite dish to get crappy reception. This online tool can help make sure your dish is pointed in the right direction for maximum reception no matter where you live.
- Track a package. Follow the route of packages you have coming to you from DHL, UPS, the USPS, and Fed Ex. Simply enter your tracking number and you can watch as your purchases get closer to your doorstep.
- Shop for real estate on eBay. Find a great deal on your next home through this Real Estate Auctions and Google Maps based site. Choose a city or a state to get available properties in your area of interest.
- Get the latest news on your area. Want to know what's going on in your neighborhood? Enter your zip code and you can instantly get weather, traffic, news and even movie times for your area.
- Find a mid-point to meet up. Everyone has struggled to find a mid-point to meet up with a friend at one time or another. With this map tool you can enter your and your friend's location to find an acceptable place to meet up.
Entertainment If you're tired of the same old places to eat or play golf, try using Google Maps to help you find new and exciting locales.
- Find a brewery anywhere in the world. You can find fresh brew locations in 8 countries with this Google Maps based tool. You'll also find city maps for several large cities so you can find a beer just about anywhere.
- Get information on concerts. Lovers of live music will appreciate this Google Maps tool called gruvr. Users can pinpoint shows and concerts in their area within the next few days and click to get more information about the artists and venues. It's also possible to follow the route of your favorite band or artist all over the world.
- Check out your neighborhood. Find out the “walkscore” of your apartment or house with this mapping tool. Put in your address and you can find out what restaurants, grocery stores, bars, libraries, gyms, parks and more are within walking distance of your location. You may discover new places you never noticed before.
- Grab some fast food. Find the quickest food in your neighborhood or work area with this mapping tool. Simply select a state and city and you can find the locations of over ten different fast food chains.
- Locate wineries in the US. If you like to spend your weekends sipping wine in a countryside vineyard you can find the closest ones to your home or where you'll be spending your vacation with this mapping tool. You'll be able to find locations, events, and even set up your own tour.
- Figure out where to do extreme sports. For the adrenaline junkies out there, this mapping application can be the ideal way to find out where to go. Maps locate places to skate, snowboard and bike all over the world.
- Find a restaurant. Find a new place to have dinner or lunch with this mapping tool called toEat. Enter your location and the type or name of the restaurant and you'll find loads of listings in your area.
- Golf on a new course. Break out of your golfing rut and find a new course with this tool from Golf Bonk. Enter your location and you'll get listings of the courses nearest to you.
Miscellaneous Whether you're exploring your city or just like messing around on the Internet, here are a few more ways you can use Google Maps that you may not have thought of.
- Look up a U.S. zip code. Ever wonder where the zip code boundaries lie? You can find out with this easy-to-use mapping tool. You'll see where your area lies and what zip codes surround it.
- Map your blog and website visitors. You can find out where visitors to your website are coming from with this useful application using Google Maps. Called Satisfy, the program will allow you to map your visitors after registering and inputting the address of your site.
- Measure area on a map. If for some reason you need to measure the area of any geographic area, you can with this tool. Enter the boundaries of the area you want to measure and the mapping program will do the rest.
- Find out your elevation. If you're curious about the elevation of your location you can find out with this Google-powered tool.
- Map out your wedding. Afraid guests will get lost driving from your ceremony to your reception? Use Wedding Mapper to create a guide for your guests or even to find wedding resources in your area.
- Plan and map a conference call. Make scheduling an international conference call easier than ever with EasyTZ. Choose your locations, schedule a time, and see what the time will be in each location.
- Find out where it's daylight. Want to know where in the world it's night or day? Use this tool to see where the sun is up or where it's still time to curl up under the covers.
- Track terrorism and suspicious events. Keep up on world events with this mapping tool. You'll see icons on locations around the world letting you know about incdents like bomb threats, suicide bombings, and even pirate activity.
- Map presidential campaign contributions. Political junkies can track the financial situations of their favorite candidates with this map-based tool. Choose a city to see how much money it's generated from each candidate or run a search for a particular contributor.
- Link up Wikipedia articles with their location. Combine your love of Wikipedia and Google Maps with Placeopedia. Users can link wikis with their corresponding locations on the map, see already linked articles, and even get random articles to read.
- Make your own map. So you think these tools are useful but have some great ideas for Google Maps of your own? This tool can help you create interactive maps of your own to use and share with others.