More on Google Bike Maps

Google built their new Bike Maps right here in Seattle and Product Manager Shannon Guymon posted on the Official Google Blog this morning with instructions:

Let’s say you want to bike to work, or maybe you want to drive less and spend more time outdoors. Biking directions can help you find a convenient and efficient route that makes use of dedicated bike trails or lanes and avoids hills whenever possible. To find biking directions, select “Bicycling” from the drop-down menu when you do a directions search:

bd1.jpg

I’m riding over to the Bike Expo this weekend and tried a route …


Very Much a Beta

As Google told us, the Bike Maps are very much a beta and they’re asking users to report a problem with the directions. Problems will be found because the maps are generated based on a variety of data sources, not all of them are accurate when it comes to bikes. We’ve all mapped out a route and then found out that it’s not ideal when we got there, but this tool will benefit from user feedback. The route mapped to the radio station puts me on the West Seattle Bridge – not a good place to ride a bike! However, another reader just wrote to say

just mapped my ride to work and the suggested route was pretty dang good. Happy to see that my avg time is about 20min faster than the bot.

Faster than the bot! That’s a new personal best measure: faster than the Google bike bot.

Meet the Bike Map Makers

Google is riding with us and partying at the Mobile Social this weekend in Austin. They’re creating a community with the Bike Maps and want to talk with you much more about it.



11 Comments

Here in Atlanta I think the map is a long way off, the best routes here are often far from obvious. I Googled my ride to work and it was damn near suicidal… Kept me off the freeway though. When does Google hire an army of cyclists to map the world?

Your mileage may vary—[@glenf](http://twitter.com/GlennF/status/10280625169)  was impressed and see [what Matt](http://a.wholelottanothing.org/2010/03/google-maps-adds-a-cycling-layer.html) has to say:

> “Knowing that you could ride a bike safely over a short distance in about the same time it takes to drive and park could get a lot of people exercising more, burning less foreign oil in their gas tanks, and do good for the environment. I can’t wait to see this feature spread to more cities.”

Also you can customize the route by dragging the line—Google will also provide alternate routes in the left-side panel, if they’re available. I’d expect the more people that use it, more routes and improvements will get built into the maps.

When do I get this as a route on my Nexus One?

Is this going to ruin the alleycat as we know it?

What do you us for maps now on the Nexus? I don’t see it as a complicated route mapper, but you can drag the lines for your race. Would it ruin alleycats as being done by bots? See I think you should try to beat the bot as a race.

I like that it accounts for hills. My ride home is all up hill and my ride to the office is all down. I am happy to report I beat the bot both ways!

beat the bot!

All I can say is I’m glad it’s finally here.

I have the latest and greatest mobile mapping app—Google Maps for Android 2.1—the bike route isn’t available, but I can see them writing their API to fix that.

Anyway, I thought half of the point of a messenger race… was to get from point A to point Z and everything inbetween by riding the fastest and taking the best routes. Googling every point and getting turn-by-turn directions is like EPO on steroids or something.

Right, right—wasn’t following it earlier, but I think there’s a “beat the bot” meme; so you could challenge the mapped route.

Right now it has a decent hole in Minneapolis, not knowing about the Sabo Bridge. Google’s calculus is going to be a little different than mine, anyway — I opt for a commute that’s slightly shorter and flatter but works out slower just because of the lights. A little rest isn’t so bad, though (:

I don’t know if they messaged it enough to say, “it’s a call for your input.” This [PCWorld](http://www.pcworld.com/article/191310/google_bike_maps_a_cynical_cyclist_speaks_out.html) article is a good example. First, this isn’t for us, it’s for a casual cyclist to get directions to ride their bike to the store, not plan their perfect route to get the personal best and there’s a “report” link like I showed in the video. They didn’t ride all these routes. They’re extrapolated form a variety of sources and will only improve over time.

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