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Bike Maps
March 10, 2010 10:45 AM   Subscribe

Google maps now has bike routes.
posted by edbles (47 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Interestingly, they only have about 25% of the multi-use trails in Tulsa. In some cases, as far as Google is concerned, the trail just abruptly ends after a short distance despite it continuing for many miles.

They have one of the long trails marked, but the other isn't there. Very hit and miss so far.
posted by wierdo at 10:52 AM on March 10, 2010


I wonder where they're getting their trail information from. OpenStreetMap, which is a great crowdsourced approach to mapping, seems like it could be a likely candidate (it even has an affiliated project/interface, OpenCycleMap), but their data is licensed under CC-BY-SA and I don't know if that's something Google would have used.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:54 AM on March 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Awesome! Now only if it worked in my home city. Sometimes the routes I choose for myself to pedal are more precarious than the map would suggest.
posted by thecjm at 10:56 AM on March 10, 2010


My town doesn't even have bike trails, but Google (correctly, IMO) gave me a bike route on residential streets vs the direct highway route.

Actually, that's not strictly true. They gave me 3 routes. One highway, one completely residential and one half/half. It chose the half/half one as the default route, which was also the median in time. I wonder why they did that. Possibly they detected that that portion of the "highway" has a sidewalk?
posted by DU at 10:57 AM on March 10, 2010


This was developed in the Seattle office. Poking around a bit this morning, it seems to work fairly nicely in Seattle, which is probably not a coincidence.
posted by gurple at 10:57 AM on March 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


If I lived in a big city, this would be exciting. Right now it can't even tell me how to get to Ottawa from Fredericton, nor even around Fredericton [50k people, provincial capital]. But still, I am very glad. This will only get better.
posted by Lemurrhea at 10:58 AM on March 10, 2010


I'm happy to see our local rail trail.
posted by swift at 11:00 AM on March 10, 2010


Oh hey, there's nothing in Canada. Unfortunate, Ottawa is a fantastic biking city.
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:00 AM on March 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've tried a lot of Toronto addresses (not my own, because despite living here for over 4 years, my street is still not on the map, even after repeated feedback to Google) and get results like "We could not calculate directions between 50 harbord st toronto on, canada and 2 yonge st toronto on, Canada."

Could be worse. I could be offered detailed feedback via Hulu.
posted by maudlin at 11:02 AM on March 10, 2010


One thing I'm not understanding is the difference between solid green lines and dashed green lines. I also wish there was some differentiation between routes that are not shared with any vehicle traffic and those that are; such a thing would make it useful. Around here in the OKC area they have designated "bike routes" which seems to mean you have 2 feet instead of 1 foot between 55 mph traffic and a curb of death.
posted by crapmatic at 11:05 AM on March 10, 2010


Yay! O, Canada... sorry bout that. Did ya see Sid Crosby though, eh?
posted by Mister_A at 11:06 AM on March 10, 2010


Jeez, some of you are hard to please. This is awesome and it will only get better for everyone. Even those of you in Canada.
posted by rlef98 at 11:07 AM on March 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yay, I had been wanting this for a while and making do with the walking routes as a starting point. Looks like they have also added a real estate function that shows houses for rent and sale (at least in my area), which seems cool.
posted by ghharr at 11:09 AM on March 10, 2010


I'm not harshing on edbles, but it is disappointing that I wasn't supplied with a bike route I could joyfully rip to pieces for being totally inadequate. It just felt a bit like "You didn't tell me I could have a REAL one!". "You didn't [RTFA]".

I can totally do that eyebrow thing she does. I'm doing it right now.
posted by maudlin at 11:12 AM on March 10, 2010


From what I know about my area it looks like:

Dark Green Lines = non-car paths
Solid Green lines = bike lane
dotted green line = "bike route" designated areas without an actual bike lane
posted by ghharr at 11:13 AM on March 10, 2010


I think it needs some tweaking, although the highlighting of bike routes and trails is great aid to planning a route manually.

The route it suggested for my commute in Austin directs me to Burnet Road, which is basically death by SUV or bus for a cyclist. Hell, I try not to even drive on that road.

Right now, Ride the City does a better job for my routes. Probably won't be long before Google catches up, though.
posted by scatter gather at 11:14 AM on March 10, 2010


Right now it can't even tell me how to get to Ottawa from Fredericton

By bike? Because I can get both auto (10.5 hours going via Quebec) and walking (7 days, 6 hours, if you're keen on cutting through Maine) directions and I'm wondering what further utility you need.
posted by kittyprecious at 11:17 AM on March 10, 2010


Post title probably should have been.

*Google maps now has bike routes in beta, in the USA, probably really only in major cities.
posted by edbles at 11:17 AM on March 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh hey, there's nothing in Canada. Unfortunate, Ottawa is a fantastic biking city.

Interestingly though, you can ask maps to show you directions by bike---it just doesn't have any routes.

Yet.
posted by bonehead at 11:18 AM on March 10, 2010


It's pretty bad in Boston so far ... sent me along a McGrath Highway (a divided 50mph elevated highway with no shoulder in some places) and only recognizes about 1/10th of the entry points along the Minuteman Bikeway, the longest and most heavily trafficked commuter bike path in the region.

I'm very glad to see this. I've been wanting Google Maps to support bike routes for a long time. The problem is that right now it's worse than useless and verging into actual dangerous territory - someone who took a route planned using these maps could be taking a big risk in Boston. I'd rather they focused on a few cities for the pilot and do their best to get clean data for those cities before launching, rather than dumping it all out there and hoping they get enough feedback to fix it before people start dying.

gurple:
This was developed in the Seattle office. Poking around a bit this morning, it seems to work fairly nicely in Seattle, which is probably not a coincidence.


Seattle also has one of the best city bike maps I've ever seen; they had good data to work from in that city.
posted by xthlc at 11:21 AM on March 10, 2010


Eh; it has me taking some pretty odd detours on my way to work, without any real gain. I like the idea though.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:22 AM on March 10, 2010


*Google maps now has bike routes in beta, in the USA, probably really only in major cities.

It shows bike routes in Lynchburg, VA and Chattanooga, TN which can't really be considered major.
posted by ghharr at 11:23 AM on March 10, 2010


One thing I'm not understanding is the difference between solid green lines and dashed green lines.

Comparing Google's map to my Alameda bike map, I think the solid green lines are bike paths and the dashed lines are bike routes or bike lanes. (They don't match exactly, but they're close.)
Bike Path (Class I bikeway): A bikeway physically separated from motorized vehicular traffic and either within the highway right-of-way or within an independent right-of-way.

Bike Lane (Class II bikeway): A portion of a roadway that has been designated by striping, signing, and pavement markings for the preferential or exclusive use of bicyclists.

Bike Route (Class III bikeway): A segment of a system of bikeways designated by appropriate directional and/or informational signs.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:27 AM on March 10, 2010


YES! I have been crossing my fingers for this in SF for months now.
posted by kookaburra at 11:28 AM on March 10, 2010


It's not utilizing the bike trails here when I use the directions by bicycle option. Cool to see nonetheless.
posted by Big_B at 11:31 AM on March 10, 2010


It isn't doing too badly for any of the routes I use/used at lot in Boston and in Chicago. My old Somerville to Longwood commute was almost identical to the one that they suggest; they also recommend something very close to my current bike route in Chicago. A few of their alternate routes are a little bit nutty - a bunch of extra wandering around residential streets to avoid more heavily trafficked ones - and they seem rather optimistic about Boston bike lanes, but hey, it's a beta.
posted by ubersturm at 11:33 AM on March 10, 2010


*Google maps now has bike routes in beta, in the USA, probably really only in major cities.

For fun I had in give me a route cross country, and it did, so it's not only in major cities. On the other hand, I didn't check every one of the 1200 instructions to make sure that they were on actual bike paths, so who knows. On the other hand, I now know that I can make it to California in a little under 12 days by bicycle.

Now, if only I owned a bike or had any desire to go to California.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:42 AM on March 10, 2010


Nice, I put in my house and walden pond and it came up with almost the exact route I would take, which is impressive because it opted to take a slightly longer route than optimal to follow the minuteman trail.
posted by justkevin at 12:07 PM on March 10, 2010


This makes my life better. I will be riding the recommended Google route home from work today to see if it improves my ride. Were it only that this existed last week. Klanklangston sure could have used it.
posted by orville sash at 12:12 PM on March 10, 2010


It's pretty bad in Boston so far ...

Funny, I just bought a couple maps from these guys this weekend. I'm excited to try some of their Pocket Rides this summer.
posted by backseatpilot at 12:18 PM on March 10, 2010


It works pretty well in Philadelphia - knows about almost all the bike lanes, though not the recently-added ones on Spruce and Pine streets, which is kind of a big deal because they're now major routes through Center City (as we call our downtown district). Overall, I'm impressed; it even knows I can bike across the Ben Franklin bridge, though I've had to send in a couple of corrections on the details (like the fact that the south side bike/walkway is used for both east and west traffic.)
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:24 PM on March 10, 2010


Well, it doesn't really do it for me--the initial leg of the journey between home and work is routed on a very busy four-lane state highway with no shoulder. But it's not that hard to suss out better routes in my town, which is mostly on a grid system.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:32 PM on March 10, 2010


bout time i ride a scooter to wrk and was intersted in the distance but gmaps wouldn't give me my route because it involved a pedestrian bridge and going against the flow of traffic I had to break it in two and add the pieces plus an estimate for the bridge I thought computers were supposed to make things easy
posted by Jimmy Havok at 12:42 PM on March 10, 2010


Nothing in Calgary.... yet?
posted by blue_beetle at 12:50 PM on March 10, 2010


This is hilarious. Here's a summary of the directions from the Brooklyn neighborhood Ft. Greene to the Brooklyn Bridge, a distance of about a mile by walking or car.

1. Ride your bike 5 miles up to Queens.

2. Get on the ferry.

3. Take the ferry 5 miles down the East River, back towards Brooklyn.

4. When you get to the Brooklyn Bridge, jump off the ferry.
posted by brain_drain at 1:00 PM on March 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


It works pretty well in Philadelphia - knows about almost all the bike lanes, though not the recently-added ones on Spruce and Pine streets, which is kind of a big deal because they're now major routes through Center City (as we call our downtown district).

You sure about that? John Boyle of BCGP said it correctly mapped his route from South Jersey to CC using Spruce/Pine.
posted by fixedgear at 1:07 PM on March 10, 2010


Yet another thing that Philadelphia is awesome at.
posted by Mister_A at 1:10 PM on March 10, 2010


brain_drain wrote: "This is hilarious. Here's a summary of the directions from the Brooklyn neighborhood Ft. Greene to the Brooklyn Bridge, a distance of about a mile by walking or car."

Drag the endpoint to actually be on the bridge itself, and it routes you correctly. Darn those map layers not aligning properly!
posted by wierdo at 1:12 PM on March 10, 2010


backseatpilot: Oh good lord yes. I love me some Pocket Rides. The Beyond the Minuteman series is particularly nice.
posted by xthlc at 1:41 PM on March 10, 2010


In Vancouver, some people at UBC have made a pretty awesome bike route map where you can customize for such things as maximum elevation slope or least traffic pollution.
posted by troubles at 1:51 PM on March 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh hey, there's nothing in Canada. Unfortunate, Ottawa is a fantastic biking city.

Look, we get this, you get health care. I'd be happy to switch.
And you'll get this eventually, but we won't get health care. So hush.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:09 PM on March 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Excellent. Houston's well covered by bike lanes and this seems to have most of them. The only noticeable one missing that I see is the Braes Bayou bike trail, which runs close to my house. It's a major route, so I'm sure they'll add it soon. Very useful.
posted by IanMorr at 2:17 PM on March 10, 2010


1. I didn't know there was a ferry that takes you from oakland to sf.
2. It takes AN HOUR?!?! to get from north oakland to potrero?

Somebody call the wahhhhmbulance.
posted by bam at 3:14 PM on March 10, 2010


Thanks for posting this. I'll be moving soon and one of the two routes I need to take in Seattle is a bit sketchy, going along a major highway. So being able to drag nodes around to find an alternate route that hits more bike paths is really nice.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:16 PM on March 10, 2010


For the no frills gmap mashup angle to map or plan local rides I've been using Gmaps Pedometer for a while now. It doesn't help you plot directions for routes you don't know very well, but for when you do its handy both to save routes and also to see elevation changes which depending on where you're riding can be a huge help.
posted by 10sball at 3:47 PM on March 10, 2010


Those of you who have it in your area: can it do routes outside of cities?

*dreams of centuries to come*
posted by bonehead at 4:53 PM on March 10, 2010


Yay! Ride the City just added Toronto. It's still in Beta, so they'd appreciate your feedback.
posted by maudlin at 10:08 PM on March 13, 2010


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