Last week, in conjuction with the opening day of the National Bike Summit in Washington DC, Google maps launched a Beta version of its new direction finder for bicycle routes.
The new map tool will help cyclists find the quickest, safest way from Point A to Point B.
Apparently cyclists have been advocating for Google to add a layer for bicycles to its "Get Directions" function for some time now.
A petition started by Peter Smith at Google Maps 'BikeThere' received more than 50,000 signatures from bicyclists who wanted the service.
The bicycle route finder uses data gathered on bike paths, bike lanes and low-traffic streets to arrive at the suggested route. Google staffers are emphasizing that this project is in Beta, and have built in ways that users can inject their feedback into the results at the "Report a Problem" area.
The results may not show the most direct route in some cases. Not only safety, but topography is also factored into the route-finding formula so that cyclists can avoid steep hills, etc.
Google has produced a "how to" video explaining how to use the new service:
> Please click here to give the new map tool a "test drive."
> Click here for information on bicycling in and around the Great Smokies.
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