Walking Directions in Google Maps

Barry at Search Engine Land reports a new discovery in Google Maps today: walking directions.

Earlier this month, I reported that Google Maps was testing walking directions on a small subset of users. This morning, I noticed that Google Maps now is offering walking directions for all Google Maps users.

For example, conduct a search for 200 Madison Ave to 200 Lexington Ave and you will see the option to take “Walking” directions, as opposed to driving directions.

Hmm…I’m underwhelmed. Compare the route from my old Vancouver apartment to Science World. Here are the driving directions, and here are the walking instructions. The only difference seems to be that the walking directions ignore one-way streets. In truth, shouldn’t the walking directions ought to run along the waterfront? Of course, that route would be longer than the prescribed one, but walkers (more than drivers, I suspect) don’t necessarily want the most direct route from point A to B.

Maybe Google needs to crowd-source this problem to optimize the walking routes?

6 comments

  1. What would actually be helpful is bike directions, taking bike optimized streets and off-road paths into consideration.

  2. It sounds like the walking routes need some metadata, like ‘fastest’, ‘interesting’ or ‘scenic’, even ‘dog friendly’ would fit the data to the desired outcomes better. I have noticed that routes for driving from the iphone maps app do account for one-way streets very well, so it might be a few iterations away for that to play into walking directions as well. Frankly, I’m looking forward to the first time I can get myself un-lost in a strange city.

  3. Does the walking directions include those intersections that have there aren’t crosswalks on all four sides? I.e., those intersections where it might say on the usual south side, “Use north sidewalk”?

  4. It’s true that the results yield an apparently similar route for walking as driving.

    The real difference is that when you ‘Drag to change route’ it’s not as restrictive should you want to walk the wrong way down a one-way street. It won’t however allow a walk across a park either.

    This upgrade is welcome and noteworthy but Walking beta still needs muchmore meta-data – perhaps user contributed – to help us chart what it’s like to really walk a path in our hometown.

    As long as I can’t rechart my planned route or the one I ended up taking it still feels too much like trying to format using the Window’s 3.1 version of Word.

  5. So I needed directions from downtown to the West Vancouver Memorial Library. Here’s a link to the driving directions – http://tinyurl.com/6lt6ws

    Fairly straightforward, but I don’t drive to work. I will take the bus, but just for fun try selecting the walking option… heh

  6. How is it that merely anybody can write a web site and acquire as widespread as this? Its not like youve said something extremely spectacular -more like youve painted a reasonably picture over a difficulty which you just recognize absolutely nothing concerning I don’t want to sound mean, here. but do you truly suppose which you can escape with adding some pretty pictures and not truly say anything?

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