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In addition to the map that you see when you first open the Maps application, there are couple of other types of maps, views and enhancements available. Tapping the curled page button reveals some more views like Satellite, which gives you satellite imagery of your locations and besides being fun to look at, the Satellite view can give you a better idea of the layout of your locations in terms of the arrangement of the buildings and the landscape. But in this view, you don't see any street names. So you can tap the curled page button again and choose Hybrid, which gives you the satellite view with streets and highways overlaid on top of it.
It can be kind of fun to just keep double tapping the Satellite or Hybrid maps just to see how much detail can be found in the satellite photographs for a particular area. Depending on where you're looking you'll find some incredibly clear photos and some pretty grainy and blurry photos where Apple hasn't yet updated the imagery. You can pinch in or two-finger tap to zoom back out again. Now a particularly helpful view of Maps is the traffic overlay. To make this a little easier to see I'm going to switch back to the regular map, and then I'll select Show Traffic.
Now I'm not currently seeing any traffic on the highway here, so I'll look around the LAX airport and what we're seeing now is real-time traffic information. Now this only works for roads and major highways mostly around major cities. But if traffic information is available for the area you're viewing, you'll see red dotted lines representing traffic, the darker the red the heavier the traffic. A dark red means traffic is very slow under about 25 miles per hour probably with lots of starting and stopping. A lighter red or orangish color indicates that there's a little bit of traffic but it's a little bit lighter somewhere between 25 to 50 miles per hour and no line means that traffic is moving smoothly at, at least 50 miles per hour or so.
Either that or there's no traffic info available for that road. But if you see a red-dotted line, the point where it ends is where traffic should be moving again. Notice also that on major highways you get two sets of lines showing how traffic is moving in both directions. In addition to the dotted lines you may even see little alert icons such as closed ramps or reported accidents. For example I see an Alert icon here. That tells me there's an event at Hollywood Boulevard at North Highland Avenue. And over here I see another alert; this tells me that a ramp is closed off the I-5.
So again real-time traffic isn't available everywhere, but if it's available where you are it can really be helpful when you're about to hit the road and want to see what kind of traffic on certain roads is looking like. If you see a lot of red along your planned course, you might want to consider traveling a different way. Also you'll probably want to hide the traffic when you don't need it because the dotted lines can end up obscuring highway names sometimes. So just tap the curled page button again tap Hide Traffic to turn off the traffic overlay.
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