86-(1).pngAs of Feb 8, 2020, Google Maps is 15 years old. Over the past 15 years, Google maps has changed quite a bit. For truck drivers, it still has some shortcomings when it comes to giving truck specific routing, but drivers have found the usefulness of it to be unmatched by other mapping apps.

Many seasoned drivers can still remember a time before all of today’s technology, which is why they also know that having a road tested, tried and true paper road atlas is still an indispensable tool. For those who are willing to change with the times, adding an app like Google Maps to their toolbox has proven to be just as useful, if not more useful than the paper atlas.

Google maps has features that cannot be found in the old road atlas. Features like traffic maps, warnings of road closures from accidents, weather or even a rerouting around the aforementioned road hazards. A good road atlas in the hands of someone who knows how to use one, can get you just about anywhere, but there is not a road atlas around that can also give you satellite views of your destination to find the best routing into a facility.

Google maps are ubiquitous in today’s society. Whether you use Android or iOS, there is an app for Google maps. On the laptop, desktop, tablet, PC or Mac, Google maps is there to help plan your routes, find businesses or check on traffic.

Since Google maps is 15 years old this year, it is very possible that new drivers of cars or trucks, will only know how to use the app and not a road atlas. Personally, I have carried a road atlas in every truck I have owned going back well into the last century. However, I have also adapted to the new technology as it became available to improve my business. Paper road atlases, multiple GPS units, and Google maps apps all have their place in trip planning, but I will also admit that it has been a long time since I had to pull out the old paper atlas to get directions. I still carry the old paper atlas as a backup for “if all else fails”, but quite frankly, I have not needed it for quite a long time.

I know some of the older long time drivers will not agree with this, but we have to adapt to the changes or get left behind. Technology marches forward and we should use all the tools available to improve our businesses.

Don’t rely solely on Google Maps for truck specific routing (yet), but do not disregard the benefit of it either.

Congrats to Google Maps for 15 years and thanks for all the help over all of those years.

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Greg Huggins

Greg has been in the trucking industry since the late 1980s. After spending 25+ years as an owner operator with United Van Lines, he leased to Landstar Express America in 2014. Greg is always trying to learn something new and share what he has learned with others.

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