Confusing Dubai now made a little simpler with Google

Dubai is a place of extremities, on one had you can go out for a Desert Safari, or go down the depth of water to check out the sea life at some of the best under water aquariums and on the other hand you could enjoy a refreshing ski down the artificial ski slope. All within a day’s work. But for a new comer into the city, apart from the taxi or ask a friend there are not too many great options available for getting around the city. Until now, The Roads and Transportation department of Dubai along with Google (Maps to be accurate) have found a solution for this issue. It’s not perfect, but still being worked on since Google Maps as a product is evolving daily. And as RTA suggests on their Bus Stands, Dubai is a Map that gets updated every day.

After talking about Augmented Reality applications and especially one application in the UK where users can point their phone and get information about where they are and where they need to go, its bit of a primitive technology. But, it is going to help out a lot of people anyway. I remember the time when I just came into the city, and during my job hunt getting to places from anywhere seemed like a challenge. I am certain I would have found it easier if this was available then. However here is a 8 step process on how you can use Google Maps for planning your route using Public Transport available in the emirate.

Step 1 : Go to

and click on the ‘set default’ option. Type in Dubai and hit the save button. This will set your Google Map to automatically head to Dubai. This will enable Google Maps identify that it is Dubai indeed that you are looking for directions all the time. Future usage is something I want to be able to cover as well.

Step 2: Select Get Directions option and Select “Public Transport” as an option in Google Maps. The cars option is still being worked upon and might be a little bugged, but the Public Transit option was worked on with RTA and Google and so is in ship shape.

Step 3 : Using your mouse scroll across the city to find your destination or you can even enter it in the point B part of the destination (where Google will suggest you landmarks that are close to where you want to reach). You can double click, zoom or use + and – buttons and icons to the left of the screen just like you would use Google Maps in general. This is similar to operation on Google Earth on your desktop for zooming and finding locations.

Step 4 : Similar operation for starting point location, except that you will select ‘Directions from Here’ In the right click menu or enter into Point A on the screen. Then click on “Get Directions”. This will show all possible directions and routes that you can take using the public transport system.

Step 5 : Click on the individual journeys to find out details about the journeys themselves. This will always show you the route for the time that the search is being made. Not often would you use this feature.

Step 6 : To customize the list of journeys based on timing further, you can click on ‘Show Options ‘ where you can enter the timing of the departure or arrival and the time when you intend to be in that place.

The detail now shows the comprehensive instructions for getting around using public transport in Dubai. Including details like what is the time taken for individual lengths of the journey.

Google Maps is making a difference in the way we are doing our business, in some cases like a colleague in Australia, who wanted to buy property; used Google Earth and Google Street view to avoid the trip to Australia as he was in Dubai. He could make decisions like is it a good neighborhood ? Is there parks etc close by ? What amenities are available in the neighborhood etc. The only hindrances to this now, is how often does Google update the maps and pictures and the accuracy of the information. Especially now that Google Map builder is available for public usage where you can mark up routes on the map to be added into the Google repository.

Have you ever travelled into an unfamiliar part of a city or another country and got lost? Stopping to ask directions from the local people is often the best way to get back on track. Lalitesh Katraggadda’s talk at TED India shows us that by using simple tech tools, locals can provide this knowledge, catalogue it, and store it to make it readily accessible to others. Making maps helps people find their way, indexes resources, and makes society run more efficiently. Check out the talk here.

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    • evil grasshopper
    • February 7th, 2010

    you can do the same thing with RTA wojahti (cant get the spelling right) website
    its local, faster, and has a lot more info like bus times, other buses travelling to the same stop, an interactive bus route, etc.

    • misterjester
    • February 8th, 2010

    Evil Grasshopper, ofcourse that is true. Will update the post accordingly. 🙂 Thanks for the reminder.

    • Mark Anthony
    • March 7th, 2010

    There seems to be a push from Goggle on Public Transit. There is now inclusion of Delhi Metro into the Maps now.

      • misterjester
      • March 8th, 2010

      You are right, Google is getting involved a lot more in India these days

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