What is Snap Maps?

Over time, Snapchat has morphed from a photo and video sharing platform to a staple source of worldwide news, entertainment and trend-setting. You can read more about the ephemeral photo and video messaging service here. Its latest update, Snap Maps, has caused some concern over privacy. The company claims it allows even greater connectivity with friends and users worldwide.

So what is it?

Snap Maps depicts a street map, like Google or Apple Maps, and uses your phone’s GPS sensor to display your location to any of your Snapchat friends. It was installed as part of the latest round of updates and is available to all users. It works by using Snapchat’s in-App avatars, otherwise known as Bitmojis, to represent where you are, in real-time, anywhere in the world.

Traditionally, if permitted, Snapchat has tracked your whereabouts to provide you with geo-location and promotional filters, which can be used on photos and videos. But Snap Maps takes it a step further. As well as sharing your location and seeing your friends’, you can view live events from around the world, such as concerts, sporting events or the latest breaking news. They have also made certain global cities and towns “hotspots”, meaning stories from these areas are also visible to all Snapchat users.

How does it work?

As with many features on Snapchat and as outlined in previous posts (read our top tips for making the most of Snapchat here), users will need to activate location services for the feature to work. Once activated, you can open Snap Maps by pinching or ‘zooming out’ of the home screen and by following the onscreen steps.

But I didn’t sign up to this?

Snapchat has provided security and privacy measures for users who do not wish to have their location shared or have concerns about safety. Users can choose to turn off and decline to share their location and can limit who is granted access to see where they are. To turn off and hide your location, activate ‘Ghost Mode’ in Snapchat’s settings or follow the onscreen instructions when first accessing Snap Maps to select who can view your location.

If you are at all worried about your safety or your privacy, it is advisable to activate ‘Ghost Mode’ when entering Snap Maps.

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