Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mapping the Hills of San Francisco

This San Francisco Streets by Slope map shows you the location of San Francisco's steepest streets and also shows you how you can route around them. The map can therefore be used as a quick guide to avoiding the city's biggest hills.

Roads on the map are colored by the gradient of the climb. Red indicates the steepest streets and the flattest streets are shown in green. If you click on two locations on the map you can view a route which avoids the steepest climbs.

You might not love climbing hills but you just might love travelling downhill. In that case you might want to use the Hill Mapper San Francisco, which makes great use of the Google Maps API Elevation Service to show the direction of slopes on San Francisco's streets.

The uphill streets are colored red and the blue streets go downhill. The darker the color of the street, the steeper the hill. If you move your location on the map the colors of the streets dynamically update to reflect the new directions of the slopes, relevant to your new position.

If you really hate hills you can also use the Flat Route Finder to find cycling routes that avoid the steepest slopes. The Flat Route Finder uses the Google Maps elevation service to suggest the flattest possible cycling route. Two elevation graphs are also provided to show you the steepest parts of the route and the route itself is color-coded to show you the easiest and most difficult stages of your journey.

If you don't like the look of the suggested route (or perversely you want to find the steepest route) you can drag the route around to view the elevation and the difficulty of alternative routes.

Bikesy is another great bike routing application that can help you find the flattest, safest or fastest routes anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Bikesy can provide you with bike routes that may be slightly longer than the quickest route but include less steep climbs. Each route comes with an elevation profile for your ride, so you can tell in advance where and when you will face the toughest climbs.

For each request Bikesy suggests a number of different routes. You can choose from the flattest route, a route that takes in reasonable climbs or routes that take in the steepest hills. You can also choose the 'safe', safer' or 'safest' route, which takes into account bike lanes and paths.  

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