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Fun with Google Maps (Routing) - RonO's Ramblings

Jul. 24th, 2007 10:59 am Fun with Google Maps (Routing)

While waiting for a tool to finish executing so I can continue my work, I have been playing a bit with Google Maps (http://maps.google.com). They have recently updated, and improved, their routing capabilities by adding an option to include stops, which also lets you customize the route. More fun, they have added a "avoid highways" option, which seems to actually function as an "avoid freeways and expressways," since my experiments have resulted in routes with few freeways or expressways, but many highways.

{I'm being overly precise in my wording here, since I've done some reading of the "road geek's" newsgroup (misc.transport.road) and some of their web sites. A "freeway" is a limited access road that meets specific standards. All Interstates should be freeways. An "expressway" is a limited access road that meets lesser standards. A "highway" is a road that is designated as a highway, and includes most US and state routes. BTW a road can be classified as a freeway even if it has tolls.}

The fun results have come about using the "avoid highways" option to produce routes from my house to my brother's house in Bailey Colorado and to my parent's house in Albuquerque. To Bailey, the route isn't too odd -- basically a zig-zag across Illinois to someplace south of St. Louis followed by a run across Missouri and Kansas into the eastern part of the Denver area, then streets across Denver to US 285 on the west side.

The route to Albuquerque is a bit more interesting. It follows the Bailey route until somewhere in western Kansas, where it heads southwest. Eventually it ends up in Taos. From Taos it cuts through Española, to Los Alamos and through the Jamez. Even if I was avoiding freeways, I don't know if this is the route I would have come up with.

Of course, in the past I've done similar routes with DeLorme's Street Atlas, and know that the shortest route from San Diego to Seattle runs through Nevada (IIRC, on some forest service roads), so I shouldn't be too surprised.

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Date:July 24th, 2007 05:02 pm (UTC)
The COOLEST new feature is the drag/drop manual routing. This makes it very useful if you know about a bit of construction you'd like to avoid, or if you're using a bike or something and don't want to ride on that 60 MPH 4-lane road of death, or have to avoid a "no bikes allowed" bridge, etc.