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Today was the first time in awhile since I used Google Maps for walking directions. I’m thinking about what could have made the experience better. I mean… it was good — I figured out how to get where I was going. However, I never felt certain that I would get to my destination while using it.

For driving, the way Google Maps and Waze presents data is effective. If navigating an urban area, turns are fairly often or you can see the progress towards the next waypoint happening quickly. Walking, however, is much slower. It might be five seconds before you can see movement on a map. Holding the phone is also not as conducive to accuracy in bearing. You can think you’re walking in the wrong direction for 10 seconds, which is risking 20 seconds of additional walking to make up for it. 20 seconds is a lot of time to think!

What if Google Maps walking directions could explain things like a human. “When you leave the station, turn left and follow the street the first intersection. Make a right and then the road will curve and you’ll make another right under the bridge. It’s about 5 minutes away.”

Putting more emphasis on ways points means walking less with your head down.

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