How to use Google Maps to find the right place at the right time?

January 03, 2023

I moved to Bangalore sometime last year. A new city, new people, new places to visit over the weekend, and new go-to restaurants were waiting for me, and so was I…

For the first few months, I was glued to Google Maps every time I stepped out of my house. I couldn’t wait for the day when I could roam on my own, knowing all the places from a tea/coffee stall to interesting alleys to shop for yourself. Coming from a small suburb in Bombay, I thought it would be easy to know everything in a few months, but I was wrong.

Bangalore is SO HUGE! I’ve been here for over a year and still visit new areas a few times a month. In this ever-growing list, it was pretty tricky to keep track of my ‘Favourites’ and ‘Want to go’s. To solve this problem, I started keeping a note on my phone, but as anticipated, it was cumbersome.

A few months back, one of my colleagues was telling me about all the solo trips he has had across the world. The details he shared about each trip were mind-blowing! I couldn’t help but ask how on earth he plans and, more importantly, remembers all the places of his trips. What he showed me then has absolutely changed the way I roam around, yes, even in the city I stay in!

“Drop your pins on the map”, he told me, for places I like. I’ve been using Google Maps for so many years, and yet, I’ve never used so many of its features! Marking your ‘Home’ and ‘Work’ or a few favourite places is one thing, but I never thought about dropping pins across the map!

I’ll share a recent situation where the ‘Pins’ helped me out. I was planning to visit a shop in Jayanagar a few days back. I had my brunch at home and then left. It took me around 45-50 minutes to reach and another hour or so to finish my work. It was about 15:00 or 15:30, and I was hungry (more for coffee than food). I was curious if any of the places I wanted to visit were around me. So, I opened Google Maps and voila! Found one at 5 min from where I was!

This is just one example, and there are so many more! I was in the Decathlon on Whitefield Road and saw there was a Sandhoor Cafe right across the street. I went there and had one of the best filter coffee so far! I dropped my pin right there, and now I’ll always know where to go for a coffee if I’m in that area again.

A lot of times, I thought that I would “remember” it, but I never did. There are so many places we come to know during a conversation at the office, or someone mentions it in a random meet-up, or you see it while you’re travelling. Sometimes you hear about a hidden gem from a city or country that you plan to visit in the future. Keeping track of them and allowing them to surface at the right time in the right context is so helpful!

Here’s how my maps look now with just a few pins:

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If you’re new to the city or an explorer at heart who collects places to visit, start dropping your pins and see if that helps.

Thanks to my friend – Sahil Khan, for putting together a list of top restaurants around the city. I now have them on my map to pick up whenever I’m around :)

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