Author Topic: Google Maps Bicycling  (Read 6032 times)

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Offline Monk

Google Maps Bicycling
« on: March 12, 2010, 01:26:27 pm »
Has anyone else noticed that Google maps added a new feature for cycling?,-122.319717&spn=0.346132,0.727158&z=11&lci=bike&dirflg=b&f=d&utm_campaign=en&utm_medium=mapshpp&utm_source=en-mapshpp-na-us-gns-bd

Does anyone know if they tend to follow the adventure cycling maps/routes or if it is its own thing.  I only ask because I'm planning my first tour and I'm not familiar with all the routes yet that ACA has to offer.  Let me know what you all think

Offline CMajernik

Re: Google Maps Bicycling
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2010, 01:48:13 pm »
We have been discussing our map data with representatives from Google. At this time our data is not in their system.
Carla Majernik
Routes and Mapping Program Director

Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring people of all ages to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x218, 406/721-8754 fax

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline Spokey

Re: Google Maps Bicycling
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2010, 04:09:56 pm »
You can download the gpx files and upload into Google maps. 

I'm doing that for my Atlantic Coast trip in August.  I am using the Motorola Droid maps program. 

I still plan on buying new versions of sections 4-7 (mine are 2005/6 versions) and using those.  I plan on having the google maps as a backup and supplemental tool.   For example if we go off route, they should help planning the return to the route.  Likewise with any detours. 

One problem is the Google maps program on the Droid has some significant flaws.  I don't know if this is true on other Android based phones but I it's likely.

The most significant problem is the size per map.  I think it only handles 100 points per layer.  So I have taken the gpx file and broken it in to separate files for the waypoints and each map panel.  I've also deleted the duplicate points in the waypoints to decrease the number there.  The end result is a waypoint map for each section and a route map for each map panel.  I have only done section 4 at this point so I don't know if I'll run into any Google limits.

Offline vanvalks

Re: Google Maps Bicycling
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2010, 05:08:24 pm »
I just tried using their program for a North Cascades loop yesterday.  For the most part, it worked pretty well.  It did route me on bike trails wherever possible, but it also put me on dirt Forest Service roads for some of the mountain pass sections.  The ACA routes and Google's were not the same in quite a few places even when I forced the issue by setting waypoints at specific ACA turning points.  For instance, Between Mazama and Winthrop Google uses Hwy 20, ACA uses Goat Creek Road; between Rockport and Marblemount ACA uses Rockport Cascade Road, Google again uses Hwy 20.  Generally, Google seemed more willing to route you onto busy roads or dirt roads that were shorter in mileage than the ACA routes.  In one case in my local area, Google routed me onto a busy highway that I would NEVER try to ride, instead of using a very low traffic back road that only adds about a half mile to the total distance of about 20 miles.

That said, for a beta edition, it did very well overall, and if Google really does accept the feedback of those of us out here with the rubber on the road, it has the potential to be a great addition to our planning aresenal.


Offline rvklassen

Re: Google Maps Bicycling
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2010, 05:17:46 pm »
They do seem to have a bias toward dirt trails.  Including nearly-non-existent trails.  What google maps offers is the ability to route when you want to go where the ACA maps don't take you.  Given how other mapping has improved over time, one can always hope that the mapping improves with time.  At this point it isn't really any better than "walking" except for obeying one-way signs.  Actually it's worse, since it doesn't take you outside of the US.  The criteria for route finding are different, and may sometimes be better but aren't always. 

Offline geegee

Re: Google Maps Bicycling
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2010, 05:22:26 pm »
What is happening with mapping software is that they are starting to put specific codes on road/path types, and as a result they are able to specify characteristics that define "bikeability". In the future it would be great if they could be specific as to the width of shoulders, so that for example you could ask your GPS to prefer routes with a minimum of 2 or 3 foot shoulders. Google maps probably have a most basic setting, simply eliminating freeways and adding some bike paths for routing under bicycle mode. For example, under directions, ask for a route between Pittsburgh PA and Cumberland MD by bicycle and it will now show the Great Allegheny Passage, something it would not have done in the past.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Google Maps Bicycling
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2010, 06:08:03 pm »
Over all it looks like a good effort for beta.

I hope they add the ability to pick some options.  For example I'd just as soon skip "bike paths" in favor of suitable roads, but many (most?) go out of their way to ride bike paths.  Some want almost no traffic and don't mind tiny meandering roads, others find moderate traffic and a larger direct road preferable.  As a result someone will be unhappy what ever they do unless you can specify some options.

In any case it is great that they doing this.