Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Bicycling Comes to Google Maps

A not so complete bicycle map of Missoula via Google Maps.

Google has finally added a layer that includes bicycle routes and trails according to BikePortland
This is a step in the right direction for a tool as ubiquitously used as Google Maps. This tool would be very handy in a larger city or as a beginning cyclist wanting to find an easy way around that avoids traffic.

One thing that always frustrated me about Google maps was that there was no layer to turn on for cyclists. Obviously this isn't a big inconvenience because cyclists can go pretty much anywhere cars can go. But still, I wanted to be able to search a map and maybe see an alternate route that would be better suited for a bicycle around that badly designed five lane arterial that I just don't feel comfortable riding on.

For a town such as Missoula this really isn't very critical since its small enough that it is pretty easy to figure out the path of least resistance from place to place. The map above also only shows off street bike/ped facilities, mostly trails, and not on street bike routes or lanes. And of course this will never replace the knowledge that people naturally gather from the experience of just trying to get around by bicycle... I still have friends that show me their routes, and often times better routes, around town even after years of cycling in Missoula.

With a little more development this could be another very worthwhile Google experiment.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have you tried this one:
Cycle Map

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