Make More Than One Stop With Google Maps
I’m an advocate of the “combined trips” way of moving around town; it saves time and gas, both of which appear to be in short supply. Planning these excursions just got easier, because Google Maps now allows for multiple destinations within its driving directions.
Lifehacker’s Adam Pash reported on the development. As he notes, the feature is easy to use – “just click the Add destination link below the directions and add as many touchpoints as you want” – and much appreciated – “of all the potential missing features in Google Maps, multiple destination mapping had to have been one of the most wished-for by users.”
I tested the feature against my plans to visit the post office and the Toyota dealership, and it works as advertised. For that matter, Google Maps chose roughly the same route that the more, um, “directionally inclined” David Utter advised me to take, although the program threw in an ill-advised U-turn for good measure.
That’s fairly easy to account for, but it would be nice, as a few of the comments following the Lifehacker article noted, if Google Maps could plan an optimal route between several destinations. “zolielo” answered those grumbles by writing that is just “too difficult to be done well online.”
“I have seen government applications that have such a feature (along with much more advanced options) but even then it is just an approximate optimization using various heuristics if the points are numerous,” he (or she) continued. “The more options for route method the great[er] the computation . . .”
And so, while it’s still not perfect, Google Maps deserves a pat on the back. It has more or less caught up to other mapping services, such as the recently unveiled AskCity.