Saturday, March 9, 2013

Bottom Line: iOS6 Maps will port public transportation directions to 3rd party navigation apps if you remember to hit the little bus button at the top of the screen.
I promised a few interview-relevant posts for 2013, so here’s another: How to get public transportation (pubtrans for the rest of this post) directions on iOS.
On my interviews, I take public transportation whenever possible. Not only is it a great way to save a few bucks (by skipping cabs or getting farther-but-cheaper hotels), but I think it really tells you a few things about the city. Additionally, if you’re in a place that’s known to have bad traffic, they better have decent pubtrans or you’re going to spend a lot of time hanging out in your car.
The problem here is that pubtrans can be pretty difficult to navigate if you’re not familiar with the area. Luckily, there are numerous ways that mobile tech can help you out here. I’ve recently posted about HopStop, which does a great job. Google Maps also has great pubtrans integration and directions, and has now returned to iOS (iTunes App Store Link).
This is my workflow for getting pubtrans directions on iOS this interview season. Note that it’s not the most direct way, which would obviously be opening up HopStop or Google Maps and putting in the directions, but it is most reliable for me.
  1. The process starts by making a calendar event for the location. In other words, I make a calendar event for the interview or dinner social event in question. Usually on my laptop, I search Google Maps for the address in question, confirm that the address looks to be correct, then copy and paste the whole address (including ZIP code) into the calendar event.
  2. Now, if it is a properly formatted address, I can click it in on my iPhone or iPad, and it will automatically redirect to iOS 6 Maps. From there, I click the little blue arrow to the right of the dropped pin that marks the address. 
  3. Click “Directions to Here.” 
  4. Click the icon at the top that looks like a bus and hit “Route.” 
  5. You’ll be provided with a list of apps that provide pubtrans directions, like HopStop and Google Maps. Click “Route” on the app of your choice, and iOS will transfer the addresses over to give you directions in that app. 
Again, this is certainly less dirct than just typing in the address, but in the end I can look at my calendar and make a few clicks to get pubtrans directions to my next appointment. I think the extra effort is worthwhile when you have many such trips to make in a short period of time; for me, it’s tough to keep them organized, and so taking the extra few steps ahead of time makes for less stress later. As always, let me know if you have questions! -Nate/SMRT


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