Here are few Bing Maps tips to help you go wherever your journey takes you.
The Bing Maps app, built into every Microsoft Lumia running Windows Phone 8.1, is the perfect way to explore your surroundings near and far.
It can help you get from A to B and discover interesting things to see, do, buy and eat. You’re probably familiar with the basics, but here are seven more hints, tips and secrets to help you master this mobile cartographic creation.
1) Find the nearest Wi-Fi hotspots
The Bing Maps app shows the nearest Wi-Fi hotspots–perfect if you need to research a place to eat, catch up on some work or fire off a few emails.
Tapping a hotspot will show the network name, whether it’s free to access and whether it’s open to join. You can also select directions and the app will get you within range. To ensure the hotspots appear on your maps, access the menu, select View Options and tap Show Nearby Wi-Fi.
2) Search for directions via public transportation, walking or driving
Bing Maps integrates directions via bus, subway and other public transportation options, as well as directions via walking or driving.
The search results are displayed in chronological order. But what if you’d rather take a little longer to get to your destination or take fewer transfers? How about taking a route with less walking involved? Bing Maps can do that! Select Menu from the search results and select Sort By. You’ll be able to choose between total time, walking time or fewest transfers.
3) Narrow down your options
The Scout option within Bing Maps is packed full of suggestions for places to shop, places to eat and drink and things to see and do wherever you roam.
And if you want a specific cuisine or food—such as pizza–there’s no need to search through all restaurants to find the best establishment serving up a slice. Just tap the “show cuisines” menu and select “Pizza” from the list. Et voila!
Alternatively, just tap the Search icon, load Bing and type “Pizza.” Browsing the Local section will show all nearby establishments, including “buzz” reviews from Yelp.
4) Save your favorites
Favorite Places is a neat tool to allow fast access to places you visit often. For example, you can bookmark your favorite Chinese place for easy recall or your home or workplace to get quick directions from those places.
Head to Menu > Favorite Places to add new places manually or by selecting from the Recent menu. A star on the map will always identify favourite places (if enabled in the View Options menu), and you can also pin individual places on the Start Screen.
5) Explore with complete freedom
Browsing maps while out and about requires an Internet connection (via Wi-Fi or mobile data) as well as your phone’s GPS receiver. This isn’t always easy if you’re on a limited data plan, away from Wi-Fi or abroad.
Thankfully, Bing Maps allows you to download maps for entire countries and store them for offline use. Enter Settings > Download Maps, select Add, choose a continent and a country and wait for the download.
6) Preview the route
Bing Maps integrates voice-aided turn-by-turn directions (via HERE Drive+), but did you know there’s a neat option to preview each step of the route?
Below the map view, you’ll see “Leave My Location.” Simply swipe up to move onto the next command and the Map will move with you. Sometimes, it’s the little things that count.
7) Choose your favorite voice navigation app
Once Bing Maps has found your route, it hands over the turn-by-turn navigation to a different app. The default option is the excellent HERE Drive+ app built in to your Lumia.
However, if you have another app installed on your Lumia (CoPilot GPS, for example) you can use that to guide your journey instead. Simply open the Bing Maps menu, select Settings and tap the “Set default voice navigation app” to choose from available options.
Have we missed out your favourite Bing Maps tip or trick? Are you a Bing Maps expert explorer? Share your secrets in the comments section below.