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Official word from Google: "Nothing new to share"

April 13, 2008 By: Peter Smith Category: Uncategorized

I chickened out of calling Google on the phone, but I did send an email to the ‘Press only’ email address and got a very nice response - if not a commitment.

Because you’re not supposed to quote folks’ emails without explicit permission, I’ll paraphrase Google’s response:

Thank you. Everyones’ efforts and enthusiasm are awesome. Unfortunately, no new information to share.

So, we press on.

Now that we’ve heard something more than just an internet rumor about bicycle directions on google maps, I’m feeling a bit more confident that this can/will happen. Still, without official confirmation from Google, I think we need to continue to build momentum for this feature request, and that includes working on all of the associated tasks - like making sure our local governments have valid/accurate/up-to-date bicycle route information available in digital format.

3 Comments to “Official word from Google: "Nothing new to share"”


  1. “like making sure our local governments have valid/accurate/up-to-date bicycle route information available in digital format.”

    My city does, but my brand new navigation system doesn’t. So I submitted a few corrections. Unfortunately, it’s too late to make it into this year’s map update, and maybe next year’s also (Navteq seems to be extremely slow about updating their maps).

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  2. Peter Smith says:

    That’s a good point, Derek - I’m hoping that through all of this, we can drastically reduce the time from ‘problem found’ to ‘bike map update’.

    So, the paper PDFs look really pretty when you lay them out on a table, but their usefulness to people - I just think it’s not what it needs to be. And part of that, of course, is just the medium - it’s difficult to update expensive paper maps.

    But digital data is easy to update.

    The Google Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) makes it easier (if not easy) for governments/municipalities/transportation systems to update the schedule/route data - all they need to do, as far as I understand it, is update their feed file. We should have the same thing available for bicycle routes.

    http://code.google.com/transit/spec/transit_feed_specification.html

    I’m gonna look into this - see how often an update can/does happen for the GTFS.

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  3. Peter Smith says:

    ok - i asked on the Google Groups and they said the feed is typically updated about once a week, but that it was up to each transit agency to determine how often they wanted Google to poll/check for a new/updated feed.

    So, this means if you find a mistake in your transit data - boom - you just update your zip file and it’ll be reflected in the live Google Maps/Transit application soon. That’s pretty cool.

    I’m hoping the same could be true for any bicycle directions service - if we get it created. The only thing it seems we need to worry about is making the correct data available as soon/quickly as we can/want.

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