The new Google Maps app was finally released, and I'm loving it so far, but it's missing a feature I've been hoping to see map apps implement for some time. I have this problem where as soon as I pull up directions on my phone, whether right after entering my destination or getting out of the subway station, I get into this confused spinning dance. What I'm trying to do is find out which direction I should be heading in. I twist the phone, I turn my body, all in the hopes that my little blue-dotted self will finally turn inline with the path I've been told to take.
There's got to be a better way.
Navigating through a city like NYC requires a bit more than the turn-at-this-street style of directions we've grown so accustomed to. When you're on foot just stepping off the bus at a crowded intersection, being told to turn left on Broadway isn't all that easy. It's hard to orient yourself, at least for me, and that's when the dance begins (let's not get into the figure-8 rave that Apple sometimes asks me to do to recalibrate the compass).
So here's my solution:
When you're ever confused about which way to head in, you simply tap that spinning person button, and you'll quickly be told what to do, regardless of whether you even know where you are. Similar to the panorama feature on the Camera app, turning will trigger a progressive filling of the box. Here, however, the filling rate is not only determined by how fast you turn, but also by how far you need to turn. Once you're set on the correct path, you're told to take off and the box fades out until the next time you're lost.
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Kyro Beshay is a student of medicine and design. For dancing tips, you should follow him on Twitter here.