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I've started using Google's My Maps feature for planning both an upcoming trip to California and some semi-regular motorcycling routes.

I've figured out how to create maps and share them with people, but I'm having difficulties with the directions functionality. Once I've saved a route I can't seem to do anything with it; I can view the route on a map but that's it. This is okay I guess for walking but it's obviously pretty useless for driving or transit.

How do I start the route? As in: get directions, traffic, time estimates, navigation etc? At the moment I'm looking at the saved route on the map and just copying the source and destination locations into a new directions page on Maps, but this obviously doesn't give you the actual same route that you customised on My Maps.

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I see what you mean.

It seems that "My Maps" is really for creating static maps to share/embed. It's not "dynamic" in the sense of getting directions, traffic, etc.

I believe it has to do with the "layers" you can add to the map. The underlying map is just a layer of it's own and provides structure to the other stuff you add to it.

To give directions you need to use the fully-baked map. It makes sense, I suppose, since traffic, construction, etc., is something you need up-to-date information on, and your static "My Map" may be out of date.

It's easy enough to save directions. Just take the URL that you get when you search for directions. (U.S. Capitol Building to White House. Look at all of that information embedded in that URL.) If you're concerned about sharing something so complicated with someone, it's easy enough to pass it to an URL shortener like goo.gl.

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After much testing I found the following to work:

Using linking or copying, get the PC created route to a mobile device (e.g. via text).

When you open it, you will see what the OP describes: the route with a Preview but no "Start" driving feature.

Now, in order to get a "Start" button and commence navigation:

  • Click on the vertical ellipsis in Maps with your route displayed,
  • click on Edit Stops,
  • click on Add Stop,
  • select "Your Location",
  • move your location new stop to the top,
  • and press "Done"

The Start button should now appear and you can navigate.

It is not what one would call obvious.

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