Friday, June 28, 2013

Google maps adds bike directions for more European Countries: Germany, France, Ireland and more...

Google maps has added more European countries to its map service for bikes. This is a great service, which I've used in Australia. I must say, I always have trouble finding bike lanes and tracks, especially when in a foreign country.

Its great to see a company like Google put so much effort into cycling.  Below is what google said in their blog,

Back in 2012, we added biking directions to our maps for a number of countries in Europe. It proved to be a popular feature among cycling amateurs and enthusiasts. We're now delighted to announce that we are now enabling biking directions in Google Maps for Germany, France, Poland, Ireland, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein.

Like in other countries, we've added information about bike trails, lanes and recommended roads directly to the map. In some countries we’ve worked with partner organisations. In others users have added hundreds of kilometers of biking paths through Google Mapmaker.

How does it work? I am a big tennis fan, so lets say I live in Hamburg and want to head over from my house in the suburbs to a tournament. I am able to grab my Android phone and ask Google Maps for the directions to the stadium. Google Maps will return a route that avoids busy streets and uses suitable bike paths. Time estimates for the route will be based on a complex set of variables accounting for the type of road, terrain and turns over the course of my ride. I also am able to turn by turn Navigation for my bike. I just plug earphones into my phone, switch over to Navigation and let Google Maps guide me through the city - just as from the car.

Of course, you can also use biking directions for a more challenging trip. As the season of big bike races in Europe has started, why not check what route Google suggests for a historical stage of the Tour de France? Our bicycle route for the classic stage from Biarritz to Bordeaux navigates on 206 beautiful, often car-free kilometers close to the Atlantic Ocean, compared to the rather boring 206 kilometers on the N10/A63 which is suggested for cars.

Regardless of the scope of your trip, roads and paths suitable for a bicycle are available by switching on the biking directions legend. This is designed to make it easy to find nearby trails for a recreational ride. Click on the widget at the top right of the map to turn on the "Bicycling” layer.
Suitable roads for riding your bicycle in Dublin, Ireland
One group of people who know where the best cycle paths are cyclists themselves! If you know about a new bike trail, please tell us. Either use the “Report a problem” link at the bottom right of the maps screen or jump into Google MapMaker and add the information to our maps.

A bike path on Google Mapmaker in Poland
We know that many avid cyclists have been awaiting this feature y, so head over to Google Maps and click ‘Get directions’ to try it. Then hop on your bike!