With our world becoming more and more complicated, we are always looking to simplify things when we can. One of these times is when we plan a routing map with multiple destinations. There are many options to do route planning, and one such option is Google Map. This article will share tips and advice on how to use the Google Maps Route Planner.
This tool allows you to find directions, add addresses, and even multiple addresses. This article will cover to use this service for route planning as well as guide the reader to know when this tool is the most useful or relevant, and when it’s not.
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Table of Contents
What is Route Planning?
Route planning is about how to create driving directions or routes for multiple locations in the most efficient way. There are many different types of reasons to plan a map with routes will various stops:
- Small Business Deliveries and Last Mile Delivery
- Road Trips
- Personal Activities
- And many more.
Usually, you would need a software called a “Route Planner” to help you with that planning. The appropriate software depends on what you’re trying to do.
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In this article, we will look more specifically at Google Maps, as it pertains to planning and plotting routes on a map.
Does Google Maps have a Route Planner?
Google Maps does have a Route Planner, and it creates driving directions to multiple locations. Users may create a map and directions to many locations. These can be for many purposes: for driving, for transit, for biking, or even for walking. It will also provide different options to the user when it adds several locations. These capabilities are available both online (using the web-based tool) and on mobile apps. On that point, there is an app available for both Android and Apple.
What the Advantages and Disadvantages of Google Maps?
- Free of cost
- Multiple Transportation Modes
- Traffic Congestion Information
- Voice Directions
- Points of interest
- Street View
- Offline Maps
- Lack of Optimization
- User Experience
- Inaccurate Directions (sometimes)
- Privacy / Use of Data
There are many advantages, and they include:
- Free of cost: There is no out-of-pocket cost to use this tool. Alphabet and Google as a whole, make money with the data that all users input. They then monetize this data as part of their business model. Revenues come from ad revenues and other income streams. More on that below.
- Multiple transportation modes: You can search for directions using the roads in a motorized vehicle, as well as search for transit options, or even combine several options. These options add to the flexibility of this tool.
- Traffic Congestion Information: Users can add traffic congestion information is an overlay layer of data. Because this company has so many users and data points, it can provide reasonably reliable traffic data.
- Voice Directions: On the app, there is an option to hear a voice guide you turn-by-turn to get you to where you want to go. Navigation allows you to be hands-free on your mobile device while you drive so that you can keep your eyes on the road.
- Points of interest: There is reference so many useful locations that they can make these locations availalbe to you. Examples of such points of attention are gas stations or coffee shops.
- Street View: The Street View is handy as you can visualize where you’re going before getting there. IF there’s a new location, this is a useful feature. Also, you can see the satellite map as well.
- Offline Maps: Another useful feature is that you can download a google map to a device and use them offline. This feature is especially helpful in an area without internet or cellular data connectivity.
Now let’s have a look at some of the limitations or disadvantages.
Limitations and Disadvantages
As mentioned, there are some limitations, and this tool is not to be used by everyone, here are some of the primary shortcomings:
- Lack of optimization: There is a lack of optimization tools. As we’ve talked about in our “What is Route Planning?” article, route optimization is entirely different compared to route planning. The planning of the shortest route is a relatively simple problem to solve. To create, however, the most optimized way, that’s another problem altogether.
- User Experience: Many users express inconsistent and sometimes confusing user interfaces. Users love how many features their features have, and struggle at times to find out how to use them.
- Inaccurate directions: Many users report that some of the routes are inaccurate. Examples including using a ferry that is not in service, or following a road that doesn’t exist, or even driving off a bridge into the water! These are certainly kinks that will be worked out; they are, however, causing issues to some.
- Privacy: Use of Data Privacy is a concern for some. As mentioned above, Google gathers data from all its tools and uses this data to monetize. This information is all outlined in the terms and conditions that one signs when using the services. Some are nonetheless surprised and unhappy upon learning this fact. For this reason, some people may not want to use this service. This article from the UC Berkeley research team outlines some of the issues around consent, control of potentially sensitive information.
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How to use Google Maps Route Planner for Multiple Stops?
In this section, we will cover how users can plan their multi-stop routes using both the mobile app or the web application.
Mobile App: How to Add Multiple Stops in 9 Steps
Step 1: Download the app
The first step is to go and download the app. The app is free for both platforms, click below to download it:
Here is the link for Apple iOS
Here is the link for Google Play or Android
Step 2: Open the App
Open up the app. You’ll see this screen.
Step 3: Click the Directions Button
On the bottom right-hand corner, there is a blue button. This button starts the process of adding multiple locations. Go ahead and click it!
Step 4: (Optional step) Select “car” Icon
We assume users will plan a route by car or truck. Therefore, if you have another option selected, such as the bus in the example below.
If this is the case, go ahead and tap the car icon, and you’ll see the image below.
Step 5: Add Starting and Destination Address
Now it’s time to start planning. One thing to note is that the app will begin with your current location as a default starting location. If this is not the location you wish to start your route, then go ahead and change that one. If not, you can go ahead and modify your destination.
The first step is to tap the address you wish to add. You can do this in two ways:
#1 – Search bar
The search bar allows you to type in your destination. As you can see in the example below, Google has predictive text and will give you suggestions based on your geolocation and search history. When you see your address, select it!
#2 – Select from recent addresses.
The other way to add is to select it from the recent addresses. If you’ve recently used one of the destination addresses, can you simply choose it from the recent list.
Step 6: Add Multiple Stops
If you want to add various locations, all you need to do is select the three little dots in the top right. Go ahead and tap it.
Once you do, you’ll see appear a menu that gives you a few options. The option you want to select is “Add Stop.”
go ahead and tap “add stop.”
Step 7: Add More Stops
Once you’ve selected “add stop,” go ahead and choose a new address using the same process as in step 5.
Once you’ve added this, you can continue adding more. As you can see below, the maximum number of stops is 10.
Step 8: Reorganize
Once you have added all your destinations, you can reorganize their order. To do so, simply select the three lines on the right-hand side of the stop
Once you do this, you’ll see that you’ll be able to drag and drop the locations into the preferred order.
Step 9: Tap “Done”
Now that you’re done reorganizing, all you need to do is tap “done,” and the app will start the navigation for you!
Web Browser: How to Add Multiple Stops in 7 Steps
Step 1: Open the page in your browser
Go to your browser (Chrome or Safari) and type https://www.google.com/maps in the search bar.
Step 2: Click the Blue Directions Button
Click on the Blue Directions button.
Once you do, you should see the following options below.
Step 3: (Optional step) Select “car” Icon
We are assuming you want to plan a map by car or truck. Therefore, go ahead and select the car icon at the top of the bar.
The image below shows an unselected “car” icon.
The image below shows a selected “car” icon.
Step 4: Add Starting and Destination Addresses
As mentioned for the mobile app, there are three ways to add your starting and your destination addresses: 1- Search Bar and 2 – Recents. Let’s have a look!
#1 – Search bar
The search bar allows you to type in the destination. As you can see in the example below, there is predictive text and will give you suggestions based on your geolocation and search history. When you see your address, select it!
#2 – Select from Recent Searches:
The other way to add a destination is to select it from the recents list. If you’ve recently used one of the destination addresses, can you simply select it from the Recent Search list which is pre-populated.
#3 – Add by selection location on the map
The third option you have to add a stop is by selecting a location on the map. To do so, click the search bar, and then click a point on a map.
Step 5: Add Multiple Stops
This process is pretty simple and straightforward on the web version of the app. You’ll see an option to “Add address” just below your starting and destination. You can click either the “+” sign or the “add destination.
You can use the same process as you used in step 4 to add up to 10 total stops (including the starting point).
Step 6: Optional – Reorganize
You can easily change the location by selecting the dots or circles on the left-hand side.
If, at any point, you decide you want to change up the order of your destinations, just drag any location up or down on the list using the circles on the left.
Step 7: Send Directions to Your Phone
Now you’re ready to navigate! Just click the button “Send directions to your phone,” and you can now use your phone as a navigator.
When to Use Google Maps for Route Planning
The question that every user needs to ask themselves is: is this the right tool for me? There are many use cases where it is considered an adequate tool, and many other cases where it isn’t. Below, you will find that breakdown:
Where It’s Useful
This app is perfect if you have a simple use case. Most personal use cases and some simple business use cases can use this app to achieve their goals. Below is a list of more uncomplicated use cases that are suitable:
- To know the distance to one location;
- To do personal travel within their city;
- To plan a simple road trip for a fun trip;
- Businesses that are not logistics-intensive;
- Businesses that do not do deliveries or service calls;
Where It’s Not as Useful
The app is not useful when you start to get into more complex use cases. The following are examples of situations where Google Maps would not be as valuable.
- Route Planning and Optimisation: The app lacks optimization capabilities. Therefore, it is not suitable for planning or any business that requires logistics or deliveries. As mentioned in our article on route planning, when you have ten deliveries, there are 3,628,800 combinations of routes. When you add another stop, that number goes up to 39,916,800 combinations of routes! Millions of combinations! For more information check out our in-depth article on Route Planning
- Fleet Management: Another example is any company or organization that has a fleet of several vehicles or drivers. As the needs are very diverse, these companies will want to look into alternative solutions that can track maintenance, fuel costs, scheduling, and productivity tracking tools. We cover this in-depth in our article on fleet management.
Google Maps allows planning a route with up to 10 stops. Users can create routes for biking, driving, walking, or other forms of transport. Depending on the platform you are using (mobile or website), the process may vary on how to do that.
The short answer is, unfortunately, “no.” Google Maps uses an algorithm called the “Dijkstra Algorithm,” which finds the shortest route between 2 points individually, but does not create the optimal route overall.
Google Maps as a Route Planner
We hope this was useful and helped you learn about how to create a map with multiple addresses. We also hope that this helps you know when to use this app versus another one on the market. As always, we are available for any questions or feedback that you may have. We wish you well and happy planning!