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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 03-10-08, 07:50 AM   #1
Litespeed
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We all need to sign this one

I have just read and signed the online petition:

"Google Maps 'Bike There' Feature Request"

hosted on the web by PetitionOnline.com, the free online petition
service, at:

http://www.PetitionOnline.com/bikether/

I think it would be a cool addition to Google maps, perhaps you will
too. If you can spare a moment, please take a look, and consider
signing yourself. Seems to me that it would also give a person a good
idea about where to walk too.
Planning routes that assume you are in a vehicle can lead you astray,
but if a bike can use a route, than a pedestrian probably can too.
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Old 03-12-08, 04:28 PM   #2
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I doubt if anybody at Google maps knows enough about local cycling conditions to map any good routes. A better bet, IMO, is apps like bikely.com, where cyclists post their own routes that are tried & true.
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Old 03-13-08, 06:03 PM   #3
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Stop waiting for some corporation to give you what you want and DIY.

Having done a fair bit of surveying myself I'm not surprised google doesn't have the data available.
Just surveying roads is pretty quick. Ride down every street with a gps taking photos of street signs and adding the odd gps waypoint. Not a great deal slower than normal cycling.

Collecting the rich data cyclists and pedestrians need on the other hand takes a lot more time. Paths connecting streets can be numerous and well hidden. Also what is between the roads is important as we are not bound to the road like a car. Things like parks, sports pitches, rivers and streams need to be surveyed.

Companies collecting data will go for the most bang for their buck. In a car orientated world that means major roads followed by population centres. Get 10s of millions of signatures and perhaps they will change their focus.
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Old 03-13-08, 09:22 PM   #4
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A "barrier map" is something that would be useful for automated bicycle route planning.

Imagine a suburban neighborhood. It's probably easy to bike between any two points in the neighborhood. So color that entire neighborhood yellow (for example).

Now imagine the next neighborhood over. It's colored blue (for example). To get from the yellow to the blue neighborhood you probably have to traverse some kind of bicycle barrier. Examples of barriers might be a half mile of busy arterial road, a long fence, a creek, a big hill, etc.

A barrier map gives you the feasible options for crossing the barrier between adjacent neighborhoods. Associated with each barrier is a cost (in time, physical effort, skill, etc.)

Bike routes could be automatically roughed out by identifying the barriers for each possible route and minimizing the cost of crossing them.

I think the creation and maintenance of detailed barrier maps is the major problem to be solved for a concept like "Google Bike".
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Old 03-13-08, 11:40 PM   #5
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Google doing that sounds good in theory but in my neighborhood they don't even have the roads right. There are roads where there have never been and I find road names that are wrong too. I don't think I would trust something as small as a bike path on google maps.
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Old 03-14-08, 12:42 AM   #6
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I don't think we all need to sign this one. I think most people are resourceful enough to find the routes that work for them. Relying on others generally leads to disappointment. More specifically:

1. Seattle has published bike maps of the city, and King County has bicycle maps of pretty much half of the eastern shore of Puget Sound. If you're using these maps to find the handiest MUP, they're very useful. If you're trying to get from point A to point B in the smallest unit of time, with the least amount of exposure to heavy traffic, not so much. The routes suggested on these maps aren't horrid, but, in almost every case, there are much better routes, often a block or so away, that are simply not on he map. I find that simply using a regular city map, or my memory, to find my own damn route is more useful at least 85% of the time. I don't see how Google would improve the situation all that much

2. Google isn't very good compared to common sense (though they appear to be much better than other mapping sites). If memory serves, when I drove a car they sometimes suggested routes that were either slower than the optimum, or simply impossible for geographical reasons (e.g., there was a ravine in the way).

If Google wants to offer bicycle route maps, I welcome the extra resource. However, I don't think it's needed, and I certainly won't put any effort into pressuring the good folks at Google to do my thinking for me.
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Old 03-15-08, 02:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bragi View Post
1. Seattle has published bike maps of the city, and King County has bicycle maps of pretty much half of the eastern shore of Puget Sound. If you're using these maps to find the handiest MUP, they're very useful. If you're trying to get from point A to point B in the smallest unit of time, with the least amount of exposure to heavy traffic, not so much. The routes suggested on these maps aren't horrid, but, in almost every case, there are much better routes, often a block or so away, that are simply not on he map. I find that simply using a regular city map, or my memory, to find my own damn route is more useful at least 85% of the time. I don't see how Google would improve the situation all that much

I totally agree. I think you have the explorer gene. I do too. I have a lot of fun exploring my city and the surrounding countryside and finding new routes and new destinations.

But once you find the great route, why not post it on Bikely.com or a similar app? That way, you can save other people the trouble of discovering your great route if they come from another town, or from the other side of your town.

For example, check out a route I posted at Bikely (link). I go on side streets, a paved path through woods and country roads to get to a neighboring city. My route is scenic and tranquil, but just as fast as the routes on busy city streets. And I guarantee it's better than any route that Google can come up with.
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