Navigation with Technology: Google Maps Live View Review

By Jessica Hunt

“With Live View, you can use augmented reality (AR) to better understand which way to go. Arrows and directions are placed in the real world to guide your way, helping you identify exactly where to make those tricky turns or which way to start your walking journey.


To use Live View, simply choose your destination in Google Maps and tap the Directions button. From there, make sure to choose the Walking tab as Live View is only available for walking navigation. Make sure you're outside in a well-lit area to get started. You'll see the Live View button next to the Start button. Go ahead and tap the Live View button and follow the onboarding tips.”


Quoted from online article :


Google Maps Live View is a game changer for our clients and students with low vision. There are many times we have used Google Maps and students become unsure if they are on the appropriate route, get too focused on their device, or miss crucial landmarks or clues. With the use of Google Maps Live View a user can travel routes with greater ease and clarity. The augmented reality can place critical information onto the screen to aid the user while traveling outdoors. The user is able to see enlarged street names and arrows pointing which direction to go while traveling along a route. At the bottom of the screen, it still displays the original “walking mode” Google Map, making sure the user gets as much detailed information as they travel.


As we know as professionals in the blind and low vision field, some students and clients get sucked into the technology, which puts them at more risk of misuse of their cane or missing environmental factors. The app will black-out the screen while a user is moving, ensuring that the user is paying attention to the important details while on the move. A user can update their route or check that they are going the appropriate direction by standing still. If the app senses movement, the user will not be able to see the detailed information. This overlay helps the overly ambitious client or student with low vision remain in tune with important details as they travel. 


Verbal directions are still dictated while a user is traveling. Although the screen is blacked-out, the user is still able to receive guidance as they travel. Verbal directions remain simplified, and do not give direct information, like which side of the street to walk on to reach the destination.


At the end of the route, there is a large red marker, indicating the route has been completed and the user has reached their destination. This aids in ensuring the user arrives at the right place. This feature helps the user with low vision know they are at right place and have less error during travel.


Google Maps Live View is a great tool for any user to have more errorless travel, especially the students and clients we work with. Our clients and students can learn to better incorporate technology in their everyday navigation and travel, while remaining oriented and demonstrating safe orientation & mobility skills.