Google maps currently doesn’t let you go anywhere even when you’ve selected that you’re walking, but MapMyRide.com has solved this problem. You can not only go anywhere you want, but turn on/off an option to snap your route to the actual roads. This is great if you’re planning to bike along the road but also take a shortcut through a park or something. Mapping a new route is easy, and you don’t actually have to join. Also it seemed to detect automatically what city I lived in and put me in the city centre (it thought I was in America initially) although I think it helps if you already use Google Maps. You don’t have to be a member already, and it’s totally free to use. They have some sort of iPhone app as well if you’ve got something like that and you’re biking in unfamiliar territory. They are currently testing out their new map which makes it easier to change that setting for “snapping” it to the road or letting your go off road (it’s on the right). Here are some screen shots of a route I drew to get to the Regent on Worcester for the NZIFF:
At the top right it tells you the distance your route is so far. There’s the new beta version of the map. I played with the”hybrid” map type this time, which uses the satellite view overlaid with translucent roads and their names.
In the new beta version, all the view settings are in a handy box in the top left, which looks like this (you can hide it once you’ve selected the options you want by clicking on the little arrow by “map options”):
The marker thing is quite useful if you were going to do a long journey and wanted consistent breaks or something I guess. Or if you’re biking for fitness.
Then there are the route drawing settings:
The “follow roads” button is currently selected, which “snaps” any points you click on to the roads. For example, if I click on one street, then a street three blocks away after a corner, it will navigate itself around that corner. Yay. Clicking the button so it’s not selected will let you go anywhere off road. “Un” is short for “undo the last point” which is good if you accidentally made a point and want to get rid of it quickly. “Cen” centres your latest point drawn and zooms in on it. “Clear all” clears your whole route so you can start afresh.
Then there are helpful options for the points:
I think this could be more straightforward using the delete button on your keyboard once a point is selected. These options are brought up if you click directly on a point.
Go and have a play around! Basically clicking means you want to go to that point, and have a route drawn from the last point (or a line if you’re off roading). Dragging will move the map around. Scrolling zooms in or out. Pretty straightforward really. Personally I do prefer the newer beta version, except it’s not as good as the old one at automatically detecting your location.
PS: If you want to send feedback to these guys about the beta version, I’m sure they’d appreciate it!