Sunday, March 02, 2008

Bike Routes in Google Maps

Following last week’s post on Google Maps Saving the Planet an organisation called Google Maps Bike There (dead link removed) contacted us about their campaign to get bike routes added to Google

Here is how they describe themselves on their website,

" was created to ask Google to help us make the world safer for bicyclists by adding bicycle routes to Google Maps."

Google Maps presently has 'Drive There' and 'Take Public Transit' options. Google Maps Bike There would like Google to add a ‘Bike There’ option. Here’s how they imagine it would look:

Google Maps Bike There have started an online petition for those who support their campaign.

UK Public Footpaths

The implementation of bike routes for UK users would be hindered by the fact that Google Maps does not include public footpaths in its UK map coverage. Local government authorities in the UK have to keep a ‘definitive map’ of public rights of way. This ‘definitive map’ records public footpaths and bridleways that are ‘public rights of way’. Nearly all maps printed in the UK include these public footpaths as a matter of course. Google Maps for some reason does not include public footpaths.

For example, the Google Map below looks very sparse compared to maps produced by the UK Ordnance Survey. The UK Ordnance Survey Map of this area is covered with dotted lines showing all the public footpaths (although you will have to take my word for this as the Ordnance Survey protects its copyright very closely and does not allow us to show you the map).

Gavin Brock has produced an Ordnance Survey Overlay for Google Earth which enables you to view public footpaths in Google Earth. Unfortunately the kml of the overlay doesn’t appear to work when loaded into Google Maps.
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