Discover new places with Related maps

Monday, July 20, 2009 | 11:11 AM

Now that I've lived in San Francisco for almost a year, I've hit most of the big tourist attractions, but still don't quite feel like a local. There are still plenty of neighborhoods I've yet to explore, a list of restaurants I'm still dying to try out, and a whole lot of scenic views I haven't discovered. I've been using Google Maps from the day I moved here to get the lay of the land, find my way around, and master public transportation. Now that I'm a little better oriented, I've started figuring out different ways that Google Maps can help me explore.

I've found that searching for user-created maps can be a great way to get local flavor. When I do a regular search for "ice cream," I'll get a list of ice cream places in the city. But, when I click Show search options and then select "Related maps," I can find user-created maps showcasing their own favorite ice cream spots, complete with reviews and flavor recommendations. Doing a "Related maps" search for "scenic views" returned maps showing city spots with awesome views that I never knew existed. It's a great way to create your own customized city tour, taking advantage of local knowledge and user recommendations.

And, if a user has created a map that you particularly like, click their username to check out their Maps profile. There, you can find out if they've created any other maps you might be interested in. You can also share your recommended places with the world by creating a public My Map, that will show up in other users' search results. To learn more about My Maps, visit the Google Maps User Guide.

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