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Cycling Navigation for Google Maps Getting Major Upgrade.

Earlier this month we wrote an article about how Google Maps led a cyclist onto the highway. The navigation platform largely viewed cyclists as secondary to both motorists and pedestrians. Directions for car drivers are usually pretty accurate, but in the past had been critisized for leading motorists into dead-ends or through dangerous neighborhoods. Directions for pedestrians have usually been pretty spot-on, leading people through crosswalks and other normal routes. However, the functionality for cyclists has been in testing for many years and a fully fleshed-out version was never released. Instead, cyclists relied on cycling-specific apps such as Strava and Komoot to figure out the best cycling routes to any given location. Just yesterday, July 27th, all of that changed when Google released a massive update to its maps function for cyclists. A quick read of the update can be found on the official Google blog.


A Google Maps trekker manually mapping out pedestrian routes.

A Google Maps trekker manually mapping out pedestrian routes.


An increasing number of people are choosing to cycle for transportation, with a recent global increase of over 40%. This is likely due to a combination of warmer weather and higher gas prices, making sustainable transportation options more appealing. For 12 years now, Google Maps has been providing cycling directions by using data from cities, trusted cartographic partners, and feedback from the Google Maps community. However, the new cycling route information will soon make it even easier to compare bike routes and see more detailed information about them; such as elevation changes, number of lanes on the road, and surface type. All of this will help cyclists plan their rides more effectively and be prepared for what they might encounter on their journey.


Google Maps has updated its directions to include elevation profiles and road type breakdowns for cyclists. This way, cyclists can avoid any surprises like steep hills or stairs on their route. In addition, the app will also let you know if there is heavy car traffic on your route. Finally, you’ll be able to see a detailed breakdown of the road type for each section of your journey. This way, you can plan accordingly if you need to bike on a major road or stick to quieter local streets with the addition of new features that will make it easier to find routes with minimal traffic and plenty of infrastructure provision.


As well as being able to see estimated journey times and elevation profiles for potential routes, cyclists will soon be able to view information on whether they're likely to encounter heavy traffic or difficult terrain. This will help riders plan their journeys more effectively and choose routes that suit their abilities and preferences.


In addition, Google Maps will also start highlighting bike paths and trails that might not be obvious from looking at the map alone. This is particularly useful for finding off-road routes away from busy roads.


The new features are rolling out gradually over the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for them next time you plan a cycle ride using Google Maps.


With these new features, cyclists will be able to get detailed information about their routes, including the number of bike lanes and the amount of traffic on the road. In addition, Google Maps will also offer aerial views of nearly 100 popular landmarks. This update comes as more and more people are taking up cycling as a means of transportation.


Aerial views will be accessible under the Photos section for landmarks on Maps. The new cycling route planning features will include details like changes in elevation and the type of road (main or by-lane). For location sharing, users will be able to set up notifications for when a person reaches a preset destination or a landmark close by. All features will be available for Google Maps users on iOS and Android.

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