Thursday, September 20, 2007

Getting directions using Google Maps

I'm not sure when this feature was added but Google Maps now lets you drag your route around, if you want to go via a particular place. I'm not sure how useful this will be for me, but it's certainly cool to play with. Saying that I have asked for a web app to create Google Maps routes previously, and this is certainly heading in the right direction. It's possible to embed the map in a web page via an IFrame pretty easily, but I can't add markers and images, so not quite there yet. I was going to embed the route of my bike ride today but of course it doesn't understand about going off road or, erm, going through pedestrianised areas so I didn't have any luck with that.

Another great new feature is the information about bus departures, although weirdly I'm only seeing these in my local area, Kingston. It seems to be getting its information from Transport Direct, a website I've never seen before, but that looks like it goes some way to fulfilling my request for a site with complete knowledge of all the different transport options. It seems to be missing some pricing information but it knows about trains, buses and cars. Depressingly enough, cars are always cheaper than the more environmentally friendly option. Saying that, it claims a 200 mile journey by car is more environmentally friendly than the train, if the car has 4 occupants. But the train will be running anyway and using just the same amount of CO2, so what to do?

Some time ago I complained that Google Maps' directions to Heathrow from my house were completely ludicrous. Well it looks like they've fixed that as well, I'm sure they must have read my post...

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