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Google Maps Adds UK Cycling Directions

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 13, 2012 @05:38AM (#40636953)

    According to the H, UK was only one of many European countries for which cycling directions were enabled:

    Cycling maps are available in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway and the UK. Cycling directions are available at least in both Austria and Switzerland in addition to the UK.

    Source: http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Google-Maps-jetzt-auch-fuer-Radfahrer-in-Europa-1637428.html (German)

    • According to the H, UK was only one of many European countries for which cycling directions were enabled:

      Cycling maps are available in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway and the UK. Cycling directions are available at least in both Austria and Switzerland in addition to the UK.

      Source: http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Google-Maps-jetzt-auch-fuer-Radfahrer-in-Europa-1637428.html [heise.de] (German)

      You can overlay the cycling information for maps, but it doesn't seem to do the route planning for cycling; the only options there remain "per car" and "on foot". So for the time being, for actual cycling route planning in Germany, Komoot [komoot.de] seems to remain the only good option for now.

      • by lloydchristmas759 (1105487) on Friday July 13, 2012 @07:52AM (#40637413)

        You can overlay the cycling information for maps, but it doesn't seem to do the route planning for cycling; the only options there remain "per car" and "on foot". So for the time being, for actual cycling route planning in Germany, Komoot [komoot.de] seems to remain the only good option for now.

        In Switzerland, cycling directions are available (in addition to car, foot and public transport).

      • by 6Yankee (597075)

        I just got cycling directions for Oulu, Finland, and it's definitely using the cycleways. But it appears to use those for the walking directions, too; I haven't yet found routes for which these are different.

        Unfortunately the Street View car didn't go down those, so you can't get that nice print-out with the Street View shots... but all the junctions look like two cycleways meeting in a forest anyway. You have to like trees if you live here :P

        (Oh, and for some algorithm fun, try getting walking directions f

        • by xSander (1227106)

          (Oh, and for some algorithm fun, try getting walking directions from Hull, England to Esbjerg, Denmark. It seems to be trying to minimise the walking distance, with rather amusing results.)

          Amusing indeed. I tried the bike directions. You have to bike all the way to Norwich and take the ferry to Esbjerg. The alternative is the same as for the walking route.

          Anyway, I'm from The Netherlands and I just tried to get the bike route from my home to work. Well, I know a much shorter route than what it gave me! Obviously it's very much in beta.

          • If it starts giving you directions in German it might be time to invest in a really good lock.

        • by Knuckles (8964)

          Yeah, I didn't express that well. I meant that it didn't offer cycling directions *in Germany* (and still doesn't). Planning a cycle route in, e.g., UK does work for me.

        • try getting walking directions from Hull, England to Esbjerg, Denmark. It seems to be trying to minimise the walking distance, with rather amusing results.)

          If it says to crawl through pigshit mixed with broken glass it's worth it.

      • You can overlay the cycling information for maps, but it doesn't seem to do the route planning for cycling; the only options there remain "per car" and "on foot".

        Foot it is then, since most of the cunts round here ride on the sidewalk anyway.

      • US here...I sometimes adapt the car and walking directions, mainly adjusting the time estimates for bicycle speed. Sometimes it doesn't think I can bike where I actually can, sometimes I just don't bother putting the map into bike mode.

        • by Knuckles (8964)

          Generally I can find the general directions myself, what I need a cycle route planner for is to take surface and traffic/safety into account. There's a lot of cobblestone pavement where I live, and it sucks to ride over that. Doesn't look like Google Maps will help me with this any time soon. But as I said initially, there's komoot.de and it does what I need. I uses OpenStreetMap data as well as other sources, comes with a smartphone app, etc. Hmmm, I just realized it works outside of Germany as well (I tr

  • Safety... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Friday July 13, 2012 @05:41AM (#40636965)

    Google Maps has added cycling directions for the UK. The directions aim for safety rather than speed...

    So it sounds a klaxon whenever Jeremy Clarkson is in the vicinity so that the cyclists can run for cover?

  • by xaxa (988988) on Friday July 13, 2012 @05:42AM (#40636969)

    While Google do now have many cycle routes marked, I still prefer CycleStreets [cyclestreets.net] (which uses the same data as OpenCycleMap [opencyclemap.org], i.e. OpenStreetMap). That gives a choice of three routes (fast, balanced, quiet), and has more cycling-related data on the map. Sometimes the routes can be a bit wiggly, but I think they're working on this.

    However, it's great to see the cycle routes on Google, which will make them visible to lots of people -- hopefully those that don't realise their trip to the shops or work is faster by bicycle.

    • by Chrisq (894406) on Friday July 13, 2012 @06:17AM (#40637069)

      While Google do now have many cycle routes marked, I still prefer CycleStreets [cyclestreets.net] (which uses the same data as OpenCycleMap [opencyclemap.org], i.e. OpenStreetMap). That gives a choice of three routes (fast, balanced, quiet), and has more cycling-related data on the map. Sometimes the routes can be a bit wiggly, but I think they're working on this.

      However, it's great to see the cycle routes on Google, which will make them visible to lots of people -- hopefully those that don't realise their trip to the shops or work is faster by bicycle.

      Both have problems OpenCycleMap gives me a track which is through deep mud on the way to work, but then correctly gives me a cycle track at the end. Google maps keeps me on less muddy routes but sends me down a dangerous dual carriageway when there is a cycle track as an alternative.

      • Both have problems OpenCycleMap gives me a track which is through deep mud on the way to work, but then correctly gives me a cycle track at the end. Google maps keeps me on less muddy routes but sends me down a dangerous dual carriageway when there is a cycle track as an alternative.

        But isn't it possible to create an OpenStreetMap account, find the muddy road, and add a "bicycle=no" tag? Google seems to take months to fix a problem reported with the map.

        • by illtud (115152)

          Dunno about cycle route corrections, but google had a private track next to my house marked as a road (and would route along it) and I emailed them to point this out, and it was fixed within 24 hours. Just an anecdote.

    • And, while mobile, OSMAnd (also using OSM data) does a good job of providing cycling directions. Not sure about the rest of the UK, but in Cambridge the OSM data on cycle maps is vastly better than the Google data. It's a shame Google doesn't contribute to OSM rather than building their own inferior proprietary dataset.
    • by ion++ (134665)

      CycleStreets ... gives a choice of three routes (fast, balanced, quiet)

      http://www.openrouteservice.org/ [openrouteservice.org] gives 5 choices:

      • Shortest Track
      • Mountainbike
      • Racer
      • safest track
      • prefered cycleway

      But I am still missing these, some in sliders and not just on/off.

      • no obstacles
      • cargo bike/trailer
      • velomobile
      • many street lights
      • no hills
      • no (red) lights
    • ... that it is sane to cycle down Rose Crescent.

      Pinch of salt in either case, it seems to me.

    • by Nevynxxx (932175)

      I just tried this and it's amazing! Thanks!

  • by nospam007 (722110) * on Friday July 13, 2012 @06:18AM (#40637075)

    'The directions aim for safety rather than speed — for instance advising me to take a gentle route through the Park instead of speeding through the Hyde Park Corner underpass.'

    That's not safety, it's because you were logged on, first, it knows you're a bad driver, second, it knows you're too fat and need the extra exercise.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Friday July 13, 2012 @06:23AM (#40637093) Journal
    In India the street and road names are not marked very prominently as they are in USA. Even those few street name plates/boards are likely to be covered posters touting everything from "Certificate in ANSYS CAD software in 30 days!" to latest offering by the local "Mega Star". Nor are the local customs of giving directions involve the cardinal directions. Very rarely you hear, "Take Subramxysjdjhd street North and then go east on Johnshdhs road". Often you will hear, "Take left after the Pillsjdj temple, and then a right after the Indian Bank. You will see a autorickshaw stand opposite to the transformer. Third house ..."

    Last trip there, I was pleasantly surprised to see the maps.google.co.in giving directions based on landmarks and the street names were shown in fainter font. It had three or four "mode"s. Car, motorcycle/scooter, public transportation. It knew the bridge across Cauvery at Anaikkarai was closed for repairs. Granted, that bridge has been down for about six years. But none of the printed maps were more recent than six years. It was able to find a very new apartment complex near Chennai when even the local Electricity Board meter reader guy could not help us.

    Of course there were some funny stuff. The Old Mahabalipuram Road, (three lanes up, three lanes down, center median toll road) was shown with same level of prominence as Pillaiyaar Koil Street that was barely wide enough to accommodate an autorickshaw. But this is great progress. I would strongly advice people to get a USB stick 3G service and carry a laptop and you can find things your own cabby or autorickshaw driver or even the electricity board meter reader guy does not know.

    My brother was joking, "all these techies go to USA with dreams of working for Google. Then they get a job in Google and the assignment they get is to punch in the local town bus timings of their own rural home town! "

  • by agentgonzo (1026204) on Friday July 13, 2012 @06:26AM (#40637119)
    Trying it out with a route from my house to a friend's, it takes me the 4.4 mile road route along the A36 rather than than the 5.6 mile route through the new forest that avoids the main road and is a peaceful cycle.

    Putting my route to work in, it takes me along a main road rather than along the cycle-path that is about 10m parallel to the road for about a mile (that it has marked on it's maps but chooses to ignore).
    • The 1.3 mile route [goo.gl] where it ignores the cycle path completely (just to the north of Castle Lane, about 10m from the actual road)
    • by dasunt (249686)

      Trying it out with a route from my house to a friend's, it takes me the 4.4 mile road route along the A36 rather than than the 5.6 mile route through the new forest that avoids the main road and is a peaceful cycle. Putting my route to work in, it takes me along a main road rather than along the cycle-path that is about 10m parallel to the road for about a mile (that it has marked on it's maps but chooses to ignore).

      When google first had bicycling directions for my city in the US, it had a few very screw

  • This is almost three decades late for me! The summer between high school and college, my friend Adam and I went on a 6-week bicycling tour of England, Wales, and Scotland, and all we had to plan our route was this huge piece of folded paper. We made a whole lot of bad route choices, but somehow we made it!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Or maybe it helps line them up in the cross-hairs (aka Mercedes hood ornament). That's OK too. Remember, cyclists are worth double points on Thursdays.

  • I am impressed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Peter H.S. (38077) on Friday July 13, 2012 @07:20AM (#40637287) Homepage

    I have played around with it for 10 minutes and have already found several alternative routes for my new cycling commute route, some even shorter than my current route.
    The "Streetview" feature combined with this new cycling route planning feature makes Google maps really awesome.

    I think exercising like running is totally boring, but somehow how cycling is different to me, it is just some much fun. Commuting to work is a blast; I arrive fresh, awake, full of energy, and with a smile on my face. Commuting home is nice too; I can unwind stress by going fast, so when I arrive home I am just relaxed. Endorphin rush is probably part of this good feeling, but my blood pressure and rest heart rate have improved a lot since I started cycling again.

  • I wonder if anybody else has my problem. Whenever I search for a business in my town that either isn't listed or doesn't have a location in my town Google points out a location that is often hundreds or thousands of miles away. For example, searching for Applebee's brings up one that is 1,500 miles away. I would understand if it showed the closest Applebee's or at least said it couldn't find one nearby but, so far, a nonsensical result seems to be the primary indication that there isn't one nearby.

    • by u38cg (607297)
      Are you going in through the right country top level? maps.google.com gives me stuff from the US unless I use maps.google.co.uk.
  • Wonders how accurate the maps of Cornwall are.
  • I don't know about the new cycling directions in the U.K., but Google's cycling directions in the U.S. are pretty pitiful from my perspective, tending to guide one toward cycle paths and ignoring perfectly usable streets and roads. The problem is that cyclists' preferences are widely divergent. What may be an acceptable road for me, because I am used to riding in traffic, is unacceptable to someone who is overly afraid of cars and believes he is safer on the sidewalk (despite statistics to the contrary). Th

    • by green1 (322787)

      Google offers cycle directions where I am as well (Canada) and my big problem is that I ride a road bike, and it often picks gravel roads and dirt paths. I love paved bike paths, but riding on gravel/dirt/mud is quite difficult when your tires are only about 2cm wide or less.

    • Also US, also have that problem. (as I said in another comment, I sometimes adjust walking or driving directions, chiefly to adjust the time estimates to bicycle speed)
      I often ride in the shoulder if possible, so it matters whether the road has one, how wide it is and how clear it is. I don't think bike directions account for this.

  • I'm always amused when I'm plotting satellites on Google Earth. I'm lazy and plop down a generic KML placemark, and when you click on it, you're offered "Directions to here". Alas, two very important steps are omitted from the directions: 1) Go backward in time because the satellite is going at 4000 miles per second and has moved a considerable distance in the time it took you to read the directions and 2) The last step should be "Go 12000 miles straight up".
  • I like this service, but I would like to be able to pick different routes based on your riding style:

    - Beginner
    - Traffic Timid
    - Intermediate
    - Confident
    - Advanced
    - Overly Confident
    - Pro Rider
    - Kamikaze

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