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50,000 Signatures, and a Big Google Announcement

October 13, 2009 By: Peter Smith Category: Advocacy

Congratulations, y’all! 50,000 signatures!

We hit that number about a week or so ago, thanks to ‘Jessica’ — the 50,000th signature.

Shortly after we hit the big 50k mark, Google made a small announcement on their LatLong blog:

The best part about this new dataset is that we’ve been able to add a lot of new, detailed information to Google Maps - information that helps people better explore and get around the real world. For example, college students will be pleased to see maps of many campuses; and 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. Of course, in the true Google spirit of “launch and iterate,” we plan to work with more data sources to add new features in the map.
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 — but that’s not saying much, as I’m usually the last to know. :)
This page talks about path data provided by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (an awesome bike and walk path-creating and and right-of-way-preserving organization) and the U.S. Geological Survey (putting our tax dollars to work, baby!).
So, cross your fingers, hope for the best, and when the first cut is out we’ll try it out and offer constructive feedback and help to make it the best bike-trip-eventually-fully-multi-modal-planner ever!

9 Comments to “50,000 Signatures, and a Big Google Announcement”


  1. You can do this in Portland and Milwaukee at this website:
    http://bycycle.org/

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  2. all saints says:

    Or in the Twin Cities at

    http://cyclopath.org/

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  3. Marc Ebuna says:

    I just found out about this today through a three-day-old link summary on Infrastructurist (http://www.infrastructurist.com/2009/10/14/the-daily-dig-google-maps-for-bikes-edition/) so I’m sad to say that I wasn’t able to be one of the signatories on the petition. The least I can do is send out my thanks to everyone who did for encouraging Google to add a feature that will allow me to better explore and travel around my area.

    Now, what would be nice is if Google was also able to mark rights of way that include separated bike lanes…

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  4. Thank god they finally announced that they’re working on bike directions. I work at Google (not on Maps team) and we’re not allowed to talk about upcoming products, so I’ve had to keep mum on this, even though it would have been very pertinent to conversations I was having w/ other bike routing developers on whether it was worth trying to build a more ambitious architecture that could scale to nation-wide and be reused across cities. My 2 cents: Google does these kind of large-scale problems well, better than most anyone else could, so instead of trying to solve the bike-directions-for-nation-world problem, bike routing developers can/should focus on creating planners tailored to their individual city or region. Keeping the scope small and counting on local expertise means that devs can focus on creating cool features & great directions beyond what Google offers now. Having ‘best of breed’ examples out there will spur improvements from Google (‘NYC planner has Foo, I wish Google bike dirs had Foo’) and will allow comparison of routes to improve generated directions. I will have more to say on this when I can. :)

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  5. Ross Nicholson says:

    The bike information should allow routes by shadiness, too, as well as topographically. Tree-lined routes are much easier and nicer for cyclists than blue sky overhead routes. Shade varies by time of day, too, just like traffic does, and its importance varies by season and with wind speed.

    Cyclists need to know about the roadway surface, available public water fountains, quickie marts, Walmarts/Target stores/ etc. and areas where free (and pay) camping or shelter is available.

    Then there’s locations of bike lockers, bike racks, bike theft reports (varies by time of day and season), bike injury and death reports (accumulated and as it varies by time of day and season), bike carrying city buses (hopefully in real time), bike carrying transit agencies.

    “It ain’t easy bein’ green!”

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  6. Marni Ratzel says:

    Boulder offers turn by turn bike routing along on-street and off-street bikeways -helping you navigate Boulder’s 300+ miles of bike lanes, routes, designated shoulders and paths. It also tells you how many miles you’ll ride along your route, plus how many calories you’ll burn getting there. You’ll also be able to calculate the economic benefits of bicycling, like how much you save in gas money by not driving.

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  7. New York has a “beta” version of “ride the city” here:

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/bicyclists/bikemaps.shtml

    Could a freedom of information act inquiry help get the raw data?

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  8. I’ve always used the walk there option when charting directions to ride somewhere. Having this option will be super useful. I can’t wait!

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  9. Hipolito M. Wiseman says:

    I was looking for somewhere I can find some good information covering Google Maps ‘Bike There’ | 50,000 Signatures, and a Big Google Announcement. Searching in Bing I finally found this great blog. After reading this post I’m very happy to say that I have finally found just what I was looking for. I will make sure to remember blog and come back here regularly . Thanks! :-)

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