Using Google Maps app on language/field trips

 There are scores of useful apps for language/field trips, ranging from tourist guides to public transport information and offline maps.  There is one free app that combines all that functionality and much more and it’s the familiar and (on most smartphones) pre-installed Google Maps app. This year the app got some great new features, so it’s definitely worth updating if you haven’t done so. Particularly as the most recent versions of it let you download (pre-cache) 10 map areas, which is very handy when you don’t have wi-fi or 3G access (the latter being too expensive abroad).

Imagine the students have some free time and look for an interesting place to go. They go to Maps (either at their host families’ place or at a public Wi-Fi hotspot like McDonald’s) and search for attractions with the places tab). They find the “Natural History Museum”
in South Kensington (which is free) where they would like to go to. Maps offer the following functions to help the find information as well as get there:

  • general information and link to the website
  • direct phone call
  • directions (walking as well as public transport!)
  • satellite navigation
  • user ratings and user photos
  • street view
  • public transport timetables

There is hardly anything that is missing here. For offline use an additional guide app like “Triposo” or “TripAdvisor” is still advisable, however. 


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