Google Maps elevation data now available for bike enthusiasts

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Biking

Google Maps includes elevation data in its bike routes, providing better directional guidelines for bikers or cycling enthusiasts treading uphill challenges. Oh and it’s for their safety, too!
(Photo : Zach Dischner)

Google enhanced its Google Maps service by making elevation data now available for cyclists or bike enthusiasts, providing better details on what is up ahead of their bike routes.

Research says the changes were made quietly and unannounced for reasons undisclosed and may only be noticeable to individuals who constantly check the said routes ahead for their wheel activities. It was, however, launched on Friday, research claims.

Since Google isn’t talking about the elevation data feature, some say it remains vague as to where Google gets its elevation profile or data. There were speculations though that this could have come from integration with Google’s Elevation API that provides elevation information in all locations on Earth.

Biking directions were included to Google Maps a few years ago, along with specialized maps highlighting the routes for bikers or cyclists. However, data on elevation were not part of the bike routes, which still made it harder for wheel enthusiasts to plan what’s up ahead. 

A few gathered observations suggest that data was not easily visible in the route, and that the elevation data feature on Google Maps works much on Canada and U.S. bike routes only.

TechCrunch, however, asked Google for comment and got a confirmation from the latter that the elevation data was truly added unannounced and is up and running. The media outlet also says such added feature is now made available in 14 countries where Google provides biking directions, namely, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Great Britain, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Sweden and the US.

To check bike routes and elevation data, type in a particular address. From there, choose destination and then pick biking option. If ever the bike route isn’t entirely flat, Google Maps will include a little chart showing the elevation data just below the total estimated time. Because it’s presented in a chart, bikers or cyclists can get a pretty good sense of the up- and downhill challenges along the bike route — though it was said to be not completely specific in, say, giving the possible time the biker may hit the uphill. Nevertheless, it fairly gives a sense of where the biker may begin to hit the ascending roads. 

Unfortunately, Google Maps’ elevation profile or data is only available on the desktop version of the maps, not on any of the mobile apps yet, but knowing Google, we could assume it’s already in the pipeline.

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