Google Australia have been busy working on a new feature for Google Maps in Australia – cycling directions. The company today added the ability to find directions for those who would like to travel by bike, a feature that was, according to an official blog post, high-up on many people’s wish-list for the continued localisation of Google Maps in Australia.
Despite the mighty warning that it’s in beta, the new ability, made possible thanks to councils across Australia, as well as other data provided to Google, appears to work like what it says on the tin. In just a few minutes I was able to find directions via a local bike and walking track in ‘regional Australia’ (Wollongong).
As well as specific cycle-ways like the one I looked up, the directions are also meant to work in bicycle-friendly streets, although Google Australia obviously haven’t gotten every one in the country mapped yet and, through crowdsourcing as well as continued co-operation with local councils, will continue to add new bicycle-friendly areas over time.
The new feature will be seen in three different styles, with dark green indicating a dedicated cycle path, light green showing a dedicated cycle lane along a road and dashed green lines showing roads that can be ridden on, but don’t have dedicated lanes.
As the new feature is in beta, Google warns that some of the mapped streets or areas may not, in fact, be bike-friendly, or that some paths will not be marked yet, for obvious reasons. And if you do find either of these warnings to be true then you can press the ‘Report A Problem’ button in the web interface, which will help Google Australia improve the listings.
Unfortunately the new feature doesn’t appear to make lycra look better on anyone ever. But, you can be the judge on that.