How to use the route files in Google Maps

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This post explains the procedure for using the route files in Google Maps on your phone for use on the road.

Remember do not use your phone while you are driving as this is illegal in Ireland. But your passenger can navigate or you can use your phone hands free or un-muted to navigate your journey.

How to download the routes on to your phone

Firstly make sure you have Google Maps downloaded from the App store onto your phone. This should work on both Apple or Android phones.

Step 1: Choose the route you want to download. Click on the link to the route.

Step 2: This will download the route to your phone.

The route is shown as a blue line and the point of interest are identified with coloured icons. The legend for the icons is shown below.

How to see the points of interest along the route

Step 3: Click on View Map Legend. This will show you the POI’s along the route.

Normally I indicate the POI’s on the route separately from POI’s that may be close to the WAW but not actually on the route. You can see this in the legend.

Google limits the number of waypoints you can have on a directional layer, so there may be several separate layers for the route or the POI’s.

If you click on more, it will show you more items.

How to find out information on the points of interest

Step 4: Return to map view and click on one of the icons.

Step 5: If you click on the title of the icon it will bring you through to information on that item which could be photos or a description.

Clicking on the photos will show you the photos on your screen and you can scroll between them.

How to navigate with the route files in Google Maps

Step 6: After deciding on your next item to visit on the route, click on Directions.

Google will then give you the quickest route to that waypoint. This may not be along the WAW, as it will depend on where you are.

But you can see which route google is bringing you on and you can normally choose alternatives, so you follow the route you want as close as possible.

Step 7: It then remains to hit ‘Start’ to begin the Navigation. Google Maps also has a ‘driving mode’ which I use as it is simple to use and gives clear directions. Just make sure you have set all your settings before you set off (muting etc).

And remember it is illegal to use your phone whilst driving so make sure it is easily visible.

You will of course need to have an internet connection to receive all the data included in the link.

Or you can download your trip before you leave while you still have an internet connection.

It is also possible to do that same on a tablet or desktop/laptop. If fact on a computer it is even easier to navigate through the POI’s and determine what you can to visit beforehand.

This makes it easier when you are travelling to choose the Waypoints along your journey. You can then modify your journey to suit whatever interests you.

The colouring of the icons does have some meaning. Read further to understand.

How to use the route files – understanding the icons

You will find in Google Maps when you download the route file, that each point of interest has a coloured icon to mark where it is on the map.

The icons are located as close as possible to the actual location (or entrance) of a point of interest, and may differ slightly to what is shown on Google as Google Maps locations are not always accurate.

I try to make these locations as accurate as possible, but do not blame me if they are not 100%. Remember I am just trying to make your life easier.

I have used the following legend to identify what each icon actually means or indicates.

Icon Legends

Icon colours

The icons have been grouped into colours to identify them easily. The colour of the icons has the following meaning for easy identification.

Obviously you can use the routes to travel North-South or South-North, depending on your travel plans. Normally I will not suggest a direction, unless there is good reason to do so (as on the Ring of Kerry for example).

My videos may show me travelling the Wild Atlantic Way in both ways, but that is just the way I traveled when that part I was filming.

The in the routes, the Points of Interest are normally shown in two separate lists. Those actually on the route and those close to it, or in my opinion worth visiting.

In the route on your phone you can tap on the POI and see the photos and read a description beforehand to see if it is something you think you would want to visit.

Then when you are travelling your navigator can take you from A to B by taking you around the route from POI to POI that you wish to go to and hitting ‘Directions’.

I hope this has helped you to use the route files from my site.

Note: Google may decide to take you a quicker route than the one planned, so keep an eye on whether you are indeed still on the WAW, or you may miss some interest points.

Last Updated on February 7, 2023 by Gav

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