How to Use Google Maps Route Planner?

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 Maps. This article will share tips and advice on how to use the Google Maps Route Planner.

Route planner Google Maps allows you to find directions, add addresses, and even multiple addresses. This article will cover the use of this service for route planning and guide the reader to know when this tool is the most useful or relevant and when it’s not.

Let’s get to it!

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Upper Crew Crew

A Simple-to-use route planner that every one is talking about.

  • Save up to 95% of planning time
  • Save up to 40% of time on the road
  • Plan 500 stops at once

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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 reasons to have route planning in your business.

  • Small Business Deliveries and Last Mile Delivery
  • It helps in reducing transportation costs
  • Provide better customer services
  • It helps you perform better planning
  • Increase in business productivity
  • Increased safety

Usually, you would need software called a “Route Planner” to help you with that planning. The appropriate software depends on what you’re trying to do.

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 are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Google Maps Route Planner?

Google Maps route planner do have some advantages and disadvantages. We have come up with some points to mention about it.

Advantages
  • Free of cost
  • Multiple Transportation Modes
  • Traffic Congestion Information
  • Voice Directions
  • Points of interest
  • Street View
  • Offline Maps
Disadvantages
  • Lack of Optimization
  • User Experience
  • Inaccurate Directions (sometimes)
  • Privacy / Use of Data

Advantages

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: Google Maps route planner app allows you to view various POIs including parks, schools, government buildings, gas stations or coffee shops.
  • Street View: The street view is handy as you can visualize your driving directions while moving from one location to another.  If it’s a new location for you, then trust me, it’s one of the best features you have ever used. Also, you can see the satellite map as well.
  • Offline Maps: Another useful feature is that you have an option to view the map and download that specific route on your mobile device. You can use them offline and it 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.

Disadvantages

  • Lack of optimization: Google route planner provides you with only a route planning feature. Still, it does not provide you with the shortest route available, just like other route planning and optimization software solutions do. In simple words, route planner Google Maps does not offer a route optimization feature.
  • User Experience: Often, the users find it somewhat challenging to find the location, which results in inconsistent and sometimes confusing user experience.
  • 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.  Some people may not want to use this service as there are many issues around consent, control of potentially sensitive information.

How To Use Google Maps Route Planner For Multiple Stops?

This section will cover how users can plan their routes using both the mobile app and the web application. First of all, let’s highlight the steps to use the Google Maps app using a mobile device.

Step 1: Download the Google Maps Route Planner App

The first step is to go and download the app. The Google route planner app is free for both platforms.

App StoreApp Store

Step 2: Open the App

Open up the app. You’ll see this screen.

Open App

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!

Click the Directions Button

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.

Route Planning by Bus

If this is the case, go ahead and tap the car icon, and you’ll see the image below.

Route Planning by Car

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!

Route Search

#2 – Select from recent addresses.

An alternate way to add is to select it from the recent addresses. So, for example, if you’ve recently used one of the destination addresses, you have an option to choose it from the recent list.

Recent Search

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.

Route Settings

Once you do, you’ll see appear a menu that gives you a few options. The option you want to select is “Add Stop.”

Add Stops Route Planning

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.

Add More Stops

Step 8: Reorganize Your Route

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

Reorganize Destination

Once you do this, you’ll see that you’ll be able to drag and drop the locations into the preferred order.

Drag and Drop Locations

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!

I hope now you are ready to plan your route from your mobile.  

What? What did you say? Is there any alternative to plan your route ?

Yes. Google Maps allows you to plan your route using your favorite browser.

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.

Open Google Map Website

Step 2: Click the Blue Directions Button

Click on the Blue Directions button.

Click on Blue Directions Button

Once you do, you should see the following options below.

Find Address

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.

Unselected Car Icon

The image below shows a selected “car” icon.

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!

Search Bar

#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.

Select from Recent Searches

#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.

Select Location on 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”.

Add Multiple Stops


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.

Reorganize

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.

Send Direction to Your Phone

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 driving directions from one location to another;
  • 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 Optimisation: The app lacks optimization capabilities. Therefore, it is not suitable for planning or any business that requires logistics or deliveries. Let’s say, 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!
  • 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.

FAQs

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 software solution that makes it easy for you to reach your destination; no matter if you have multiple stops. The best example is Upper Crew. It provides you with the shortest route available to reach your destination.

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 wish you well and happy planning!

We hope this was useful and helped you learn about how to create a map with multiple addresses using Google Maps. We also hope that this helps you know when to use this app versus another one on the market. 

Just to note, Google route planner is limited to ten stops per delivery route. If you have more than that, you need to adopt other route optimization software solutions like Upper Crew. As always, we are available for any questions or feedback that you may have.

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