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  1. #1
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    This Just In: googlemaps for bikes!

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    We've got it...let's start using it!

    Google Announces Google Biking Directions at the
    League of American Bicyclists'
    2010 National Bike Summit


    Washington, D.C. - March 10, 2010 - The League of American Bicyclists is proud to be the forum for Google to announce what all bike riders have been waiting for - Grab Your Bike and Go with Google Maps. Google is announcing at the Opening Plenary Session at the National Bike Summit that they are adding biking directions in the U.S. to Google Maps."This new tool will open people's eyes to the possibility and practicality of hopping on a bike and riding," said Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists. "We know people want to ride more, and we know it's good for people and communities when they do ride more - this makes it possible. It is a game-changer, especially for those short trips that are the most polluting,"

    Users can now choose biking when deciding how to get to their destination, starting today, March 10, 2010. If you're one of the 57 million Americans who ride a bike, mapping your daily commute, and planning recreational or trail rides just became easier. According to Google this has been the most requested addition to Google Maps, and the League is delighted that they have chosen the National Bike Summit to unveil this new feature. Google's announcement further proves the importance of the Summit and the bicycle movement in helping our nation become a more Bicycle Friendly America. The Google biking directions will make it that much easier for bicyclists to get to work, school or play.

    This new feature includes: step-by-step bicycling directions; bike trails outlined directly on the map; and a new "Bicycling" layer that indicates bike trails, bike lanes, and bike-friendly roads. The directions feature provides step-by-step, bike-specific routing suggestions - similar to the directions provided by our driving, walking, or public transit modes. Simply enter a start point and destination and select "Bicycling" from the drop-down menu. You will receive a route that is optimized for cycling, taking advantage of bike trails, bike lanes, and bike-friendly streets and avoiding hilly terrain whenever possible.

    Visit http://maps.google.com/biking to try out this new feature. Biking directions for Google Maps is currently in Beta. Follow the League's news feed on the new Google feature on the League's Blog, Facebook and Twitter. If you have any further questions, contact Meghan Cahill at 202.822.1333 or meghan@bikeleague.org.
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  2. #2
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    Note: this seems to be a green overlay of trails...
    If you don't grow where you're planted, you'll never BLOOM - Will Rogers

  3. #3
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    While indicating trails is nice in areas that have trails, it's not going to cut it for most cyclists because we ride on the roads because there are alot more roads than trails. I will take a look at the google maps for bikes; I hope it's more than a trail overlay.

    I suggest they adopt a road classification system based on the Michelin maps. I am familiar with the Michelin maps of France. Autoroutes (interstates) are blue and not open to bikes. National Routes (like highways) are red and are typically too heavily travelled by cars to be very bike friendly. Departmental Routes are yellow and are generally very good for cycling. Roads indicated in white are the smallest (and often the most interesting) roads, and are excellent for cycling, although sometimes a circuitous.

    With Michelin maps, I can go to a part if France that i've never been to before and confidently travel by bike for errands or touring.

    That's what we need in the US. That's what Google maps should provide. US roads are already classified type, so the baseline us already done.
    Last edited by tulip; 03-10-2010 at 03:00 AM.

  4. #4
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    I just googled the addresses I used to commute to and from in Columbus, OH, 25 years ago. The green overlays in Columbus, at least, the dotted green lines are bike routes designated by the city over roads open to cars, the solid green lines are trails. All of the commute is over roads that are open to all vehicles (then and now); while it didn't return exactly the route I used to take, traffic has changed a lot in 25 years, too. It does go through one pretty sketchy neighborhood that I might not want to ride through alone, or outside commuter hours even with one or two others, but I really wouldn't expect Google Maps to take the neighborhood into account.

    W/R/T the road classifications, honestly, if I'm planning a long trip in an unfamiliar area, I prefer paper maps, which all do have that kind of legend. Paper maps let me see the big picture the way no computer screen can. Obviously the final routing I'll do with Street Atlas or the like. Unfortunately, the Michelin routing software isn't sold in the USA, and I don't need it enough to buy it grey-market. I guess if I were planning a bici trip anywhere in Europe, I probably would. I've bought grey-market software before (back when they first came out with the Petit Larousse in CD-ROM and weren't selling it in the USA) - it's expensive, but it's available.
    Last edited by OakLeaf; 03-10-2010 at 03:44 AM.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  5. #5
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    I was referring to the paper Michelin maps. I am not familiar with their software. I prefer paper maps, too, but Google maps makes getting directions from A to B so easy. I'm getting spoiled, I'm afraid.

  6. #6
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    Also... one thing I often do when mapping an unfamiliar running route on mapmyrun, is to go to the aerial/satellite view. That not only gives me a pretty good idea of the level of traffic/whether a road is a major artery, it tells me what the neighborhood looks like and whether I would enjoy being there, whether there's a shoulder, and if so, how wide it is, and also where the stop lights are when I need to cross a major road.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  7. #7
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    6 cyclists from Seattle designed this thing in 5 months.

    Fantastic I've just tried it. It even has a place for us to report routes that are inappropriate for bikes.


    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...5_brier10.html
    Google engineers who built the company's new bicycle-route mapping service didn't need to look far for inspiration.

    The team is based at the Fremont office right alongside the Burke-Gilman Trail.

    Bike commuters at Google offices around the country helped the Seattle-based team build and refine the new feature for Google Maps, which is launching Wednesday. That coincides with the National Bike Summit cycling advocacy event this week in Washington, D.C.

    The small team built the feature in just five months, adding a new map layer that provides suggested routes for bicyclists in 150 cities across the U.S. It joins the walking and transit directions already provided by Google.

    It also comes as maps move to the forefront of the battle between Google and Microsoft. Mapping underpins new locally targeted advertising efforts that may provide the next wave of growth for the search giants, especially as more computing is done on mobile devices that transmit users' location.
    snip....
    Last edited by Biciclista; 03-10-2010 at 06:05 AM.
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  8. #8
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    I checked it out, and I like it. It is not just a trail overlay as I feared. I will try out some of their routes and report back. In fact, I'll start today on a series of short errands I have to run (by bike--it's going to be 73F!)

    Thanks, Mr. Silver. And thanks, Google!

    * * *
    EDIT: I just checked their proposed route from my house to a conference center that I frequent for work, and the route could be better. It has a long stretch on a very busy road that has shopping center after shopping center for miles and miles. I would not ride my bike on that road, but there are alternate routes through adjacent residential areas (not as direct). I think in some cases this will be most useful in conjunction with a paper map or iPhone google map to explore alternates while on the road. But it's a start and I appreciate that.
    Last edited by tulip; 03-10-2010 at 06:24 AM.

  9. #9
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    Cool! I'm doing a fleche in a few weeks and had just spent time yesterday mapping out our route -- it's in SC and NC, and I'm not at all familiar with the roads. I just loaded up the Google map of it and switched it to route by bicycle, and sure enough - it shifted the route to smaller roads in many places. Nice!
    For 3 days, I get to part of a thousand other journeys.

  10. #10
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    Definitely look at the satellite view, often you can zoom in far enough to tell whether or not the road is paved, a definite issue in Appalachia. In my area, also, there are some inaccuracies in Google maps (roads are shown connecting when they really don't, roads have been realigned but the maps haven't been updated yet, etc.), and satellite/aerial pictures can help with that, too, especially if they're recent.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  11. #11
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    Be very aware of any bridge crossings. I mapped a familiar route to the Chesapeake Bay, and it suggested a route that goes over a bridge that is definitely not bikeable.

  12. #12
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    Sorry, but I would NEVER trust Google Maps. They have suddenly decided they can't find our house or neighborhood. They suddenly can't label the streets in our neighborhood. When I emailed to ask them about the change, their answer was a very snooty, "We can't discuss that at this time."

    When I mapped a cycling route from another city to our house, not only do I get the above problems, it takes you onto unpaved and unmaintained gravel roads.

    Those are mistakes I identified in the comfort of my home. I wouldn't want to be identifying these mistakes while on a bike.

    It's a waste of time as far as I'm concerned. Too many other methods to get better information.
    Frends know gud humors when dey is hear it. ~ Da Crockydiles of ZZE.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by SadieKate View Post
    Too many other methods to get better information.
    Having bicycled and motorcycled through a good part of the eastern US, I'm not aware of any better method to determine whether or not a road is paved or even exists. AAA isn't reliable, Navteq (who I believe is where Garmin gets their maps from) isn't reliable. It's definitely worth checking the aerial maps on Yahoo and Bing as well as Google, since each one is updated on a different schedule, and you want the most recent one. You could write the county engineer in every county you plan to travel through and maybe get a timely answer, but that gets cumbersome pretty quickly.

    I mean, your neighborhood is still on the images, right? Or have they taken those down, too?

    This is no different from the stories that went around a year or two ago about people who drove through barriers because their GPS told them to. You still gotta use your eyes...



    ETA: It's true that Google is going through some growing pains right now w/r/t their wanting to avoid paying for intellectual property. I'd guess that's probably what's going on in your neighborhood.
    Last edited by OakLeaf; 03-10-2010 at 07:46 AM.
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  14. #14
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    Oh, and Google maps frequently gets the names wrong. While the planners for this area obviously have great fun changing street names over 1/2 mile, it doesn't help for Google to rarely get the street labels in the right place so that you'll know the correct name to look for.
    Frends know gud humors when dey is hear it. ~ Da Crockydiles of ZZE.

  15. #15
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    Here is a write-up and quick review from the Washington Post's personal techonology columnist:

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/fas...irections.html


    It's interesting that they prioritize trails over bike lanes and on-street routes and also try to avoid hills.

 

 

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