Author Topic: Google's bicycle directions  (Read 1704 times)

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Offline nomad

Google's bicycle directions
« on: July 25, 2012, 03:02:34 pm »
I am wondering if the bicycle directions given by Google maps use the ACA designated bicycle routes.  I have noticed that none of the roads given as bicycle directions include the bike route designation as one of their names so I wonder if Google even knows these roads are designated as bike routes.

Joe B

  • Guest
Re: Google's bicycle directions
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2012, 03:28:49 pm »
My informal education on this has me believing...
The official bicycle routes are designated by the individual states through their DoT or a cycling coordinator if they have one.

The ACA routes often follow these route but have no direct correlation to the official state routes. My uneducated guess is that the states can embed a bicycle route "tag" on some segments of roadway that Google *may* pick up on. Other than that I suspect that the Google cycling routes are based on traffic volume, independent of any other factor. It is possible that they apply one of their ultra complicated algorithmic processes  to is as well.

Would be awesome if someone at Google maps could explain their process , any suggestions on who to ask?
« Last Edit: July 26, 2012, 07:47:38 pm by Joe B »

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Google's bicycle directions
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2012, 04:05:27 pm »
Just for kicks, I put Rural Retreat and Damascus, VA into google maps bike directions.  They have an interesting (?) route, but it doesn't look like the TransAm.  The alternate route coincides with the TA for about a third of the distance, but I suspect that coincidence has more to do with a limited number of roads out of Rural Retreat and less to do with either Adventure Cycling or Virginia bike route 76.

Offline Fred Hiltz

Re: Google's bicycle directions
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2012, 04:47:57 pm »
Exactly. The ACA routes were scouted by experienced cycle tourists, most of them well before Google opened its Bicycle option. The scouts probably considered the state DOT maps, but mostly went by their own experience and what they saw.

The road itself is only part of the ACA process. They consider attractions, camping facilities, bike shops, and food stops as well. Neither Google nor DOT looks at those.

Fred

Offline dwboca

Re: Google's bicycle directions
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2012, 07:17:31 pm »
Be careful using Google for bike routes.  I put in some local destinations and it will put me on some rough, unpaved roads as part of my route.  I know these roads are not ride-able on a road bike and maybe not on a touring bike either. 

I love Google and use it exclusively for searching and for looking at maps for information and ideas of places to ride, kayak, and visit.  I am excited about the bike route feature and it seems to work well except for putting me on unpaved roads at times.  I try to verify by zooming in on "Satellite" images but for a long route (I'm planning a cross-country), this may be too much trouble.

dave

Offline humunuku

Re: Google's bicycle directions
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2012, 03:41:11 pm »
google gladly takes suggestions for correcting their routes...easy to do, just click the link and in a few days they will update it....the more people who submit corrections, the better the routes will be.  Also, there is a new google map maker feature that lets you actually update/draw roads and add poi.  I've routinely improve googles bike routes around where i live.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Google's bicycle directions
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2012, 10:11:30 am »
Be careful using Google for bike routes.  I put in some local destinations and it will put me on some rough, unpaved roads as part of my route.  I know these roads are not ride-able on a road bike and maybe not on a touring bike either.

Yeah. For fun I picked two stops on the Trans Am--Wisdom and W. Yellowstone, MT--and asked Google for bike directions. What I got did not share much in common with the ACA route. A lot of the route appeared to be on unpaved roads with little or no services. As Fred notes, services factor into the equation.