With great biking weather around town and spring almost here, Internet giant Google has cleverly released their newest mapping system for bicyclists.
The official announcement will actually be made right here, in the District, during the National Bike Summit.
Through a partnership with the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy -- a non-profit organization based in D.C. -- Google has more than 12,000 miles of trails included in biking directions, according to Google's official blog site. Product Manager Shannon Guymon posted the blog and talked about what the added mapping tool has to offer.
We wanted to include as much bike trail data as possible, provide efficient routes, allow riders to customize their trip, make use of bike lanes, calculate rider-friendly routes that avoid big hills and customize the look of the map for cycling to encourage folks to hop on their bikes. So that's exactly what we've done.
Faster Forward tested the tool in D.C. and apparently the results weren't favorable.
Google's trails-first algorithm doesn't always yield efficient results, as a request for directions from the old Washingtonpost.com offices in Arlington to the Post's downtown HQ revealed: The site suggested taking the Mount Vernon Trail over Memorial Bridge and then heading north. That's about 50 percent longer than the route I'd take -- down Clarendon Boulevard and through Rosslyn to the Key Bridge, then across town on M Street, Pennsylvania Avenue and L Street.
Guymon did add in her blog that they are welcoming input from users.
We'll continue to add new trail information and encourage riders to send feedback (biking directions is in beta, after all) and route information for inclusion via the “Report a Problem” tool.