Google keeps adding data to its maps to make them more detailed.
That's good news for bicyclists who want to find bike trail routes in their cities that might take them near their destinations.
As I found from tracing some bike trails in the Seattle area, some are labeled and some aren't. Some are mislabeled. Some vanish from sight in places then reappear later. But it's a start, and the information on the Google maps is only as good as the sources. (Look for the “report a problem” link in the bottom right hand corner of maps to suggest corrections.)
At its Google Lat Long blog, the company tells about some of the improvements and says “…cyclists will now find many more trails and paths to explore. Soon we even plan on providing you with biking directions to take advantage of this new data.”
That's what the “Bike There” petition launched nearly 2 years ago was all about, encouraging Google to show direction results for bicycles, as well as driving, walking and taking public transportation.
The author of that blog was encouraged by this latest news:
“This is totally awesome. We heard the rumors before, but this is an official announcement. Great stuff.“Now we’re all curious to see the first cut. If there is a city or organization working with Google to provide them actual bike-specific street data (say, on the relative ‘bikiness’ of certain streets, Class I/II/III, contra-flow routes, etc.), I haven’t heard about it yet …”
That picture above
As I was tracing the Burke-Gilman Trail, I checked to see if it was on StreetViews. It wasn't per se, but I stumbled across a view of the trail from an adjoining street that showed five cyclists out for a spin (two have stopped).
I was amazed. Just a random shot of the Burke-Gilman shows five people on bikes. If I didn't know better, I would have guessed the scene was staged..