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MapQuest for bikes!

Old 08-08-05, 09:36 AM
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richardmasoner
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MapQuest for bikes!

A cyclist friend who works at MapQuest forwarded this news to me.

The Daily Camera

http://www.dailycamera.com/bdc/count...985985,00.html
Bike routes in Boulder go digital

Boulder BikeQuest will provide customized maps

By Kim Castleberry, Camera Staff Writer
August 8, 2005

For people who have found themselves late for an appointment, unsure of
where they're going and caught without a map, the answer is: MapQuest.

But in Boulder, where bicyclists flourish in bike lanes and paths galore,
there's no Web site telling them how best to get from point A to B on two
wheels until now.

Plans are under way for Boulder BikeQuest, an interactive Web page that
will provide customized bike route information like MapQuest does for
cars. In addition to providing the miles and travel time, the service may
also include some extras such as calories burned, difficulty of the route
and topography. And it will ask bikers whether they prefer to stay on the
street or use bike paths.

"It'll be similar to MapQuest in the way that it looks and functions,"
said Larry Ferguson, a specialist in geographic-information systems who
works for the city of Boulder. "You put in the origin and destination and
out comes a route with distance and directions."

The program will cost $140,000. Seventy percent of that will be paid for
by a federal grant awarded to programs that mitigate air congestion. The
money is administered through the Colorado Department of Transportation.

The funding will become available in October, and the program is expected
to be online by next summer.

To get the grant, GO Boulder, a city transportation agency that focuses on
alternative modes, had to show how many vehicle miles of motor-vehicle
travel would be saved because of the program. Marni Ratzel, GO Boulder's
bicycle and pedestrian planner, said the city would save 4.4 million
vehicle miles over a five-year span.

Ratzel said that with the new program, there's potential to get people who
own bikes and ride them recreationally to start using them as a mode of
transportation.

"For us, it's the logical next step," she said. "We already have an
extensive bike network in place, and now we're trying to encourage
motorists to really start increasing their transportation options."

The map technology is being used in Orange County, Calif.

Ratzel said that because Boulder has such an Internet-savvy community, she
expects BikeQuest to be successful.

"Nobody gives directions anymore. They give their address and say,
'MapQuest it,'" she said. "So we want to make that available for bikes as
well."

Contact Camera Staff Writer Kim Castleberry at (303) 473-1360 or
castleberryk@dailycamera.com.
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Old 08-08-05, 10:15 AM
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Is there any word of this happening anywhere else in the US? That is going to be a great resource for the boulder bikers though. It'll be great next time I visit Boulder.
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Old 08-08-05, 11:23 AM
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I wish there was one for Pittsburgh
Also they could make it nice if they add topilogical info also.
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Old 08-08-05, 11:23 AM
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Whoa, I thought Mapquest had a "no freeway" option, but I can't find it now... I also checked Yahoo and Google maps... none of them have a no freeway option either.

Here is a cool thing from someone that linked to google maps... it allows you to figure distances... so you can do your own map and check it.

http://www.sueandpaul.com/gmapPedome...glFdla_SyyAhe@
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Old 08-08-05, 01:37 PM
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I can't believe it's going to cost 140K to create a bicycle map for one one city?? Now I know why no such features exist for any sofware currently in production. Incredible.
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Old 08-08-05, 03:34 PM
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For the Los Angeles area there is www.bikemetro.com

It is kind of ugly, and does not always give you the most sensible route, but it does basically what it is supposed to do. Nice to have since you can't get driving directions from Google, MapQuest, Yahoo!, or whatever that don't involve a freeway if you are going more than about two miles.
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Old 08-08-05, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
I can't believe it's going to cost 140K to create a bicycle map for one one city??
I was amazed at the cost also. On my to-do list is to create a similar online map for my small city. First, I have to get and install the GIS software, then I have to learn how to use it and program it, and do the route determination.

A big stumbling block also is that the city isn't giving their GIS road data away for free, and we have 300 miles of streets in this town. Plan B is to drive or bike every mile of street in this city with a GPS unit and downloading the data into the GIS.

RFM
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Old 08-08-05, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by richardmasoner
Plan B is to drive or bike every mile of street in this city
I forgot to mention, the US Census has their GIS database publically available. I've downloaded and looked at it. Wild stuff.

RFM
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Old 08-08-05, 11:24 PM
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Anyone wanna start a petition to make google invent a version of google maps available just for cyclists? Mebbe if we bug google enough they'll consider it. Not to mention it being super cool....
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Old 08-09-05, 12:46 AM
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The biggest challenge I can see for these people will be the fact that a bike doesn't require an actual road for a route. My trip to work takes me through 2 parking lots and an alley simply because it is the most direct route. Hopefully they'll have some cyclists on their development team. What might seem like a great bike route to someone who only drives can actually be pretty unpleasant to ride. (been there)
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Old 08-09-05, 05:40 AM
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NYC has a PDF Bike Map paper copies of which are easy to find at your typical LBS. Not "Bikequest", but still very handy.
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Old 08-09-05, 09:14 AM
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Oh please. This is useless. What they really mean is they're going to mark roads as designated bike lanes, big whoop.

Google already does all that faster, earlier, better and did I mention faster.
http://www.sueandpaul.com/gmapPedometer/

Money better spent elsewhere.

Last edited by operator; 08-10-05 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 08-10-05, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by AverageCommuter
Hopefully they'll have some cyclists on their development team.
Angie (whom I mentioned in my original post) bike commutes from her home in Boulder County 40 miles to her office at MapQuest in Denver on a mix of roads and paths. Before moving to Colorado, she bike commuted in NYC. She's toured 3000 miles from Seattle to DC. She was a track cyclist for a couple of years. I hope she qualifies as a cyclist.

She has petitioned for the inclusion of bikeway info in MapQuest several times but there are some significant technical challenges. All U.S. road data is freely available via the U.S. Census TIGER database. It's comphrehensive, it's accurate, and it's paid for courtesy of American taxpayers. There is nothing even close to this kind of free and uniform database available for bikeways.

On the backburner is a similar project for my Boulder-County city of 81,000 people and 300 miles of streets. The city GIS database has bikeway information -- bike paths, streets with marked bike lanes, wide streets with low traffic volumes and so forth. All kinds of good weightings that would be ideal in a bike route finding application. Unfortunately, since I asked for the data two years ago the city has yet to formulate a policy of how they'll release the data to the public -- whether they'll make me buy it or give it away for free or what.

RFM
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Old 08-10-05, 10:58 AM
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This might be encouraging if MapQuest didn't suck, but from my experience they do. They have steered me in the wrong direction more than once. I think they must be sponsored by the oil industry, as they often lead you in long inefficient route. The old "going around your a$$ to scratch your elbow" sort of thing.

I'll give operator's google link a try.
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Old 02-21-06, 08:32 AM
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I use the mapquest thats available now for bike maps, theres an option on after you get driving directions to disable interstates and such that can't be ridden.
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Old 02-21-06, 12:32 PM
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Funny you should mention this. I just recently emailed Mapquest to say "thank you" for continuing to provide the Avoid Highways option on driving directions (it's still there -- you have to get the directions first, then click the Avoid Highways link which is directly above step 1 in the directions). I also mentioned that they're the only mapping service used by many cyclists and peds, including me, so yippee for being able to say that to their advertisers.

I also emailed Google and mentioned that none of the cyclists or peds I know ever used their maps because they do NOT have an "Avoid Highways" option. If they did, perhaps their sponsors/advertisers would be happier with more eyes viewing the content.

It's a small voice, but sometimes they do read their email, especially when it's complimentary.
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Old 02-21-06, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by aadhils
Anyone wanna start a petition to make google invent a version of google maps available just for cyclists? Mebbe if we bug google enough they'll consider it. Not to mention it being super cool....
Have a look at www.2wheeltech.com The system IS google based but allows you to enter specific routes or rides you use/like. I enter a couple of more North Cal rides each week. If everybody on BF would enter all of their ride routes and commute routes we could make our own googlebike. If you enter a route that is off of a road use lots of points and mention it in the comments section.
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Old 02-21-06, 08:46 PM
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maybe they'd be willing to hire some of us as "route finders". Equip us with GPS devices and pay us $2.50/mile to ride all day. Wouldn't that be a fun job? Fill in a little computerized form each day with road and route quality and call it a day of work. If it costs $140,000 to do Boulder I'm sure they'd be willing to pay $250,000 for 100,000 miles of route info.
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