Thursday, July 12, 2012

[G] Biking directions expands into Europe and Australia

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Google Lat Long: Biking directions expands into Europe and Australia

Back in 2010 we added biking directions for users of Google Maps in the US and Canada. Helping cyclists navigate the bike trails throughout those countries proved hugely popular, so we’re wheelie excited to announce that starting today, we've also added extensive biking data to Google Maps for Austria, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. In many of these countries we are also enabling biking directions in beta mode.

We know how popular cycling is in many parts of the world, so we wanted to include as much bike trail data as possible to provide efficient routes, allow riders to customize their trips, make use of bike lanes, calculate rider-friendly routes that avoid big hills and busy roads and to customize the look of the cycling map to encourage people to hop on their bikes. So that's exactly what we've done.

To start off, we've added information about bike trails, lanes and recommended roads directly to the map through the updated biking directions legend. This can help you get a better sense of your route, or easily find trails nearby for a recreational ride. When you're zoomed into a city, use the widget at the top right of the map to turn on the "Bicycling” layer.

Cycling is big in the Netherlands!

If you’re keen to start riding into work, or maybe just do your bit for the environment by swapping your car for a bike a couple of days a week, biking directions can help you find a convenient route that makes use of dedicated bike lanes and avoids hills whenever possible.

To use biking directions, select the cyclist icon from the list of routing modes when you search for directions. Watch this short video for more information. Biking directions are now available in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

A three hour ride through Swedish countryside

We’ve been working hard to add as much biking data to our maps as possible and we hope you enjoy this latest addition to Google Maps. That said, knowing the best roads for cycling is a challenge and there is only one group of people in the world who really know where the best cycle paths are in their regions: Cyclists!

Luckily, Google Map Maker is available in most countries where we’re releasing biking data and directions today, so we encourage all of you to help your fellow riders enjoy cycling as much as you do. Check out the brief tutorial and start adding those bike paths to your city or other places with which you’re familiar!

Add and edit bike data in Google Map Maker

If you live in a country that does not yet have Map Maker enabled, we appreciate your patience while we work to make it available as soon as possible. Or if you live in a place where biking directions are not yet enabled, but where you can already contribute to the map via Map Maker, we encourage you to add biking information in the meantime - and thanks for your help in making life easier for riders in as many countries as possible!

Posted by Kai Hansen, Product Manager, Google Maps

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