You probably use Google Maps to figure out how to get from one place to another.

Here are a few helpful or amusing uses for Google Maps:

Bus and train routes and schedules

I was recently in Madison and needed to get across town by bus. My son, who lives in Madison, tipped me off that Google Maps would show me everything I needed to know about taking the bus.

It works in Kenosha and many other cities and will show all kinds of public transit.

You can search in advance on your computer; enter your start and end location as you would with driving directions but then click the train icon to see the bus, subway or train routes.

If you are already on the road, you can use the Google Maps app on your smartphone. It should be able to pinpoint where you are, and then you can enter your destination.

Click the train/bus icon at the bottom to show the transit route. It will give you route numbers and show you where the nearest stop is to you.

It will even show you when the next bus, train, streetcar, etc. should arrive and how long the trip will take.

When available, multiple routes may be shown, and it may show you Uber or Lyft options that you can use if you have those apps.

Traveling through

the past

If you have used Street View in Google Maps before, you know that you can drag PegMan (the little yellow guy) from the lower right corner of the screen and plop him down on the map to show you what things look like at street level.

This works because the “Google car” has driven through various neighborhoods and recorded a 360-degree view that you can then explore.

What you probably didn’t know is that Google has kept many past versions of Street View that you can explore.

For example, drag PegMan to the corner of 52nd Street and 22nd Avenue in Kenosha. You will see the construction site that existed in 2018 on the northwest corner where Bain School used to be.

Now look in the upper left corner of your screen, and directly under the address you will see a tiny clock icon and then “Oct 2018.” Click on the clock to display a timeline that shows points in the past that you can choose instead.

If you choose the 2017 or 2007 view, Bain School will magically reappear! Not all neighborhoods or cities will have multiple views, but it’s fun to look!

Keep track of where your car is parked

Once you park your car somewhere, open Google maps and quickly tap your blue location dot on Google Maps (which your current location) and select Set as Parking Location.

That will place a “pin” on your map stating “you parked near here.”

If you tap and hold the location dot longer, you will be able to save and/or label that location to use later.

You might want to do that for your hotel when you are traveling so you can quickly navigate your way back to that location.

Carol Sabbar is the director of computer services at Carthage College. Send email to