Lawyers e-Journal

Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012
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Law Practice Management Tip

While the gettin’s good: Mapping tools for lawyers

In a mobile society, where everyone has places to go, and too many things to do, it's imperative that we arrive where we have to, when we're supposed to. To help us get there, all of the major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo!) offer mapping tools, that includes options (in the case of Google and Bing) for finding directions based on your preferred mode of transit (driving, walking, commuter service). Google is generally the default search provider for most people, so Google Maps, consequently, is generally the default online mapping/directions provider. Google Maps has a bunch of useful features, including: zoom-out/zoom-in options; street views; click-and-drag functionality for route changes; and, etc. For a view to recently-added tools and features within Google Maps, PC World just published its "Best of Google Maps and Google Earth" for 2011. To learn more about how to use Google Maps, check out Google's own Support page.

Why not just use a GPS device? Well, the search engine mapping services are free, for one. And, in any case, these tools, as apps for your smartphone or tablet, can be used as makeshift GPS devices, anyway. It's also helpful to be able to plan your route in advance, rather than being talked at, as you attempt to navigate on the fly. Furthermore, street view directions flesh out what you're looking for: in addition to craning your neck, checking for street signs, you can also search for distinctive buildings, or landmarks, to guide your way.

If you don't often drive, HopStop is another great, free website, that is useful for navigating commuter options in large cities, including Boston.

While these mapping services can become essential tools for mobile attorneys looking for their next meeting, or a new courthouse, there are also some practice applications inherent, including for personal injury and litigation firms, that can be quite powerful: Jim Calloway relays some good uses for Google Maps, here. And, Morgan Smith drops some knowledge on the topic at his Cogent Legal Blog, here.

Tip courtesy of Jared Correia, Law Office Management Assistance Program.

Published January 5, 2012

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