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Exploring with Apple Maps

Apple has taken a lot of well-deserved flak for their implementation of Apple Maps. We all know why they had to do it1, but their well-documented inaccuracy continues to create perception issues (and lost travelers too).

Alice and I have been working on buying a house in a less-populated area of Pennsylvania and decided to go driving around the area this weekend to see if we could find any hidden gems. By accident, I stumbled upon something that Apple Maps is quite good at – exploration.

Now that I’m keeping my phone in a better position to see it2, putting the iPhone in what I started calling “exploration mode” lead us to some truly amazing spots.

Just tap the arrow button on the bottom left of the screen twice (to orient the map in the direction you are heading) and tap the “3D” button once to give you a slightly angled, top down view. This presents you with a zoomed out version of the turn-by-turn directions; a birds-eye view of the area in which you’re traveling, real time and very informative.

We drove around all afternoon with Alice finding neat locations, highlighting them on the map and picking interesting routes to drive there. We found some amazing, unexpected spots that I doubt I would have run across before the days of always-on, ubiquitous GPS.

I know its pretty standard to bash Apple’s Maps (or Google’s for that matter) but there’s nothing like a flawless, “lost” exploration of the countryside to drive home3 how lucky we are to live in the future.


  1. Since the “sponsored locations” in Google Maps were probably on the drawing board for some time, it stands to reason Apple had to find an alternative. 

  2. I got a great iPhone holder from Proclip 

  3. Oh puns…