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How not to lose your way north using Google Maps



Google Maps is great for getting directions, but if you’re in a remote location and can’t find your way home, you’ll have to improvise. Fortunately, you can use Google Maps to find your direction of travel if you get lost. This will only work if your Android or iPhone device has a magnetometer that can find the direction of travel using the Earth’s magnetic field. Most (if not all) modern Android devices have one installed, as do all recent iPhones. That said, we’re going to tell you how not to lose your way north using Google Maps.

How not to lose your way north using Google Maps

Find your direction

You can easily find your travel direction using the Google Maps map view. These instructions work regardless of whether you have an iPhone or an Android device, but you may want to calibrate your compass first to ensure your direction is as accurate as possible.

You will also need to make sure that location services are enabled on your phone to allow you to accurately track your location and direction.

In the Google Maps app, you should see a small compass symbol visible in the top right corner, below the button to change the terrain and map style. If the compass is not currently visible, use two fingers to move the map view to display it.

The red symbol on the compass icon is pointing north, while the gray symbol is pointing south. The blue beam icon indicates your current direction of travel.

Finding north using Google Maps

Instead of manually moving your map in a certain direction, you can tap the compass icon to automatically point the map view north and south at your current location.

This means that as long as the blue icon has a lightning bolt pointing up, it is heading north. If it’s pointing down, it’s heading south, etc. To do this, tap the compass icon in the top-right corner of the Google Maps map view.

Your position on the map will move, with the icon updating to show that you are pointing north.

After a few seconds, the compass icon will disappear from the map view. It will only appear again if you move the map manually, showing the correct north and south position to help you navigate.

With the map view calibrated to north, you can then change direction using the blue beam icon to help you. As long as the beam is pointing up, it is heading north.

For example, if the blue beam icon is pointing to the right, you are heading east. If you have to change the map view manually, the compass reappears, allowing you to keep track of your direction of travel.

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