Finding your way, with some help from Google Maps

Much evidence exists that Google is taking over the world. And really, I have no problem with that as long as it also helps me find my way to rinks and fields, both near and far.

Sure, I have my not-quite-trusty Garmin, but that just gives you a street address. Before I park the car, unload the camp chair, the cooler and my bag and trek to the field, I want to know exactly where the field is. It’s not always at the address they give you in the team email. That’s why I’m willing to submit to the omnipotent Google, just for the privilege of using Google Maps.

Looking for the Mishawaka baseball or softball field? It's not at the high school

For instance, Mishawaka High School has a really nice baseball field. But it’s not actually at Mishawaka High School–it’s about a mile south. I discovered this when I mapped the location in Google Maps. By selecting the satellite view, you get a look at what’s out there, not just streets and addresses. A satellite view of the high school shows the football fields, which is great if you are going to a football game. But the baseball and softball fields are not on the campus so Google Maps just saved me frantic phone calls to other parents and a freaked out son who is panicking because he’s going to be late.

Parking lot view

Use Google Maps to find the best place to park

Google Maps is also great for identifying the best place to park. Since the sports fields are usually located away from the main campus or spread out over a huge sports park, parking at the main lot means you’ll have quite a hike. Hey, if you need the exercise, go ahead. I won’t judge. But if you are carrying the chair, cooler, etc., or if it looks like rain, you’ll want to get as close as possible. So find the location on Google Maps and zoom in. Way in. It’s a pretty good way to find the secret parking spots that only the umpires know about.

(I’m not advocating parking in places where you shouldn’t be parking or anything sketchy, just finding a reasonably close spot. So if you get towed, don’t blame me.)

One other tip–if you are looking for a school field in the U.S., this website lists them by state, then alphabetically, with a link to the Google satellite image.

I know that Google is collecting all my scintillating personal data every time I log on and save a map, only to target me with an advertisement later, but as long as we get to the field on time, I’m good with that.

Happy trails!

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