Friday, April 22, 2005

Planning a family bike outing via Google Maps

Google Maps - ice cream

Our family bike outings are structured around rewards -- of which Dairy Queen is the optimal currency. Since I'll be solo tomorrow in a new area with our 3 young children and my son's friend I needed som advance scouting. A bike trail map gave me the general idea, Google Maps located the Dairy Queens around the target zone. I found I could trace the bicycle trails from the satellite images; the trails are narrower than streets and they never have cars on them. Sometimes the trail narrows into invisibility when the trees are thick, but it can be seen emerging a bit later. This particular image is centered on the intersection of the 'Gateway/Vento' trail and the Lake Phalen cross trail. Using Google's satellite navigation I'm able to trace the bike trail route we'll take and identify problematic cross-streets.

I've already asked Google to think about how they could add bike trails to these maps. Perhaps regional bicycle groups could submit data in a pre-defined format so that Google could display bicycle and skating trails over their maps.

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