Google Maps



  • I asked for directions to the body shop [across town, since it's the one the insurance company wanted me to use] my car's at, and it wanted me to take I-70. Now, for those of us not in indianapolis (namely, probably about everyone but me), all the exits for 70 on the east side have been closed for quite some time due to construction.

    Now, maybe it's too much to ask to have it automatically track what roads are closed, etc. But, since it lets you select specific points for your route to go through, a nice added feature would be to be able to select specific points to have your route not go through - basically cross out all the exit ramps that you know are closed. 



  • [code]CALC_ROUTE FROM: Home TO: Lover AVOID: Wife;[/code]

    This feature would open a new world of possibilities...



  • Some other mapping sites have tried this, with interesting results:

    Here in the UK the RAC route finder turned a 200 mile route into a 1000 mile route through three countries (via ferry into Ireland and France), simply by specifying that motorways where to be avoided.

    I see Google has appeared to have stopped telling people to swim across the Atlantic ocean when asking for directions from the US to Europe. (At least it didn't just know when i tried).

     

     



  • The swim across the Atlantic was an april fool's joke that they just kept on for months and months rather than removing.

    But yeah, it's impossible for something like google maps to keep current.  To know about road closures, they'd have to have agents in every city constantly monitoring those, and it's not like even then there's a solid public announcement system when construction is resolved. The street data just comes from national cartography and infrastructure records as far as I know, and there's no way those get updated with construction.  Edmonton is in a constant state of construction this year, and it would be entirely impossible keep up with a tenth of the roadwork that's been going on (my mind is newly boggled every rush hour).  They barely know when new roads are opened.

    When you're at a latitude that gets a lot more snow, it's amusing to browse around google maps and find that some areas of the city are a snow-capped satellite map and there are random blurry lines down the map where on the other side it was a blisteringly hot summer when that satellite imagery was taken!

    I went to see if I could get you a good example but alas it appears to be summer in the entirety of Edmonton currently on google maps...  but as an unrelated aside, it's really cool to zoom out on the satellite imagery and totally appreciate how city zoning changes the landscape.  Check out this really obvious corner where there's an industrial area surrounded by residential areas :) (google maps link)

    Anyway, I think that being able to drag your route line around the map should be more than efficient for trying to avoid construction, if you're fortunate enough to know where the construction IS :)
     



  • Hooray for the Super 70 project! :-P I had the same issue getting directions last week. I know that Microsoft Streets & Trips has fairly well updated construction information. Seems that Google could do something similar.



  • @Random832 said:

    Now, maybe it's too much to ask to have it automatically track what roads are closed, etc. But, since it lets you select specific points for your route to go through, a nice added feature would be to be able to select specific points to have your route not go through - basically cross out all the exit ramps that you know are closed. 

    Check "avoid highways."



  • Well, Id see it as a learning feature. If a user specifies that I do not wish to go through that road, ask why with some simple reasons as options and duration for the ban. Then offer the rest of the users the opportunity to take everyone else ignore lists into account and show them along with listed reasons allowing to remove that particular routing ban. It would be a self learning and self correcting system. All users would become agents.



  • @PSWorx said:

    [code]CALC_ROUTE FROM: Home TO: Lover AVOID: Wife;[/code]

    This feature would open a new world of possibilities...

    I'm waiting for the pro version: [code]CALC_ROUTE FROM: Birth TO: Death AVOID: Work;[/code]



  • @operagost said:

    @Random832 said:
    Now, maybe it's too much to ask to have it automatically track what roads are closed, etc. But, since it lets you select specific points for your route to go through, a nice added feature would be to be able to select specific points to have your route not go through - basically cross out all the exit ramps that you know are closed. 

    Check "avoid highways."

    But what if I don't want to avoid any highways but that one? or, even find out if the best way is to go through that highway itself, which is open, to the first non-closed exit then double back? or if I want to avoid particular surface streets? I should be able to cross out this, this, and this segment of road, and get the best route that does not go through any of those points.



  • @Random832 said:

    @operagost said:

    @Random832 said:
    Now, maybe it's too much to ask to have it automatically track what roads are closed, etc. But, since it lets you select specific points for your route to go through, a nice added feature would be to be able to select specific points to have your route not go through - basically cross out all the exit ramps that you know are closed. 

    Check "avoid highways."

    But what if I don't want to avoid any highways but that one? or, even find out if the best way is to go through that highway itself, which is open, to the first non-closed exit then double back? or if I want to avoid particular surface streets? I should be able to cross out this, this, and this segment of road, and get the best route that does not go through any of those points.

    Well that's simple. Just print out the result, take a pen, cross out the streets you don't want to go through, then play the "find the maze exit" game!



  • @misguided said:

    But yeah, it's impossible for something like google maps to keep current.  To know about road closures, they'd have to have agents in every city constantly monitoring those, and it's not like even then there's a solid public announcement system when construction is resolved.

    What if the data was "free" and created and updated by normal people as with open street map? Or a less extreme departure from the current model allowing normal users to share changes to the propriatory data as with tom tom sat navs. Google appear to collect a lot of gps traces and other related stuff so perhaps they are also working on something with a similar goal.

    Once you come up with a good way for map users to improve it keeping well traveled roads current shouldn't be hard.
     

     



  • If in 10 years everyone has a GPS navunit in their car that allows them to report back on traffic conditions and that kind of thing, that'll be different.  But until then, there isn't the manpower and interest to keep something as MASSIVE as infrastructure updated or even instantiated.  There are a good 40,000 intersections in Edmonton alone.



  • @DOA said:

    I'm waiting for the pro version: [code]CALC_ROUTE FROM: Birth TO: Death AVOID: Work;[/code]

    Well, that's easy.

    1. You are at BIRTH.
    2. Exit WOMB. Keep STRAIGHT ON for APPROX. 90 MINUTES until you arrive at CRADLE.
    3. Turn SHARP LEFT, then SHARP DOWN until you arrive at GROUND.
    4. WAIT for APPROX. 10 MINUTES. You are now DEAD.
    5. You arrived at your destination, avoiding WORK.



  • @Sunstorm said:

    @Random832 said:

    @operagost said:

    @Random832 said:
    Now, maybe it's too much to ask to have it automatically track what roads are closed, etc. But, since it lets you select specific points for your route to go through, a nice added feature would be to be able to select specific points to have your route not go through - basically cross out all the exit ramps that you know are closed. 

    Check "avoid highways."

    But what if I don't want to avoid any highways but that one? or, even find out if the best way is to go through that highway itself, which is open, to the first non-closed exit then double back? or if I want to avoid particular surface streets? I should be able to cross out this, this, and this segment of road, and get the best route that does not go through any of those points.

    Well that's simple. Just print out the result, take a pen, cross out the streets you don't want to go through, then play the "find the maze exit" game!

    Bleh - for sufficiently far-apart points A and B, I know literally billions of ways to get between them (or, rather, I know there are billions. If asked to enumerate them, I will stab you with an exponential curve.) . Google Maps is there for telling me which way is the best way. I'd just also like it to be able to tell me the second-(Nth, whatever)-best way, when the best way happens to be closed. (or I don't want to go that way for whatever reason)



  • @PSWorx said:

    @DOA said:

    I'm waiting for the pro version: [code]CALC_ROUTE FROM: Birth TO: Death AVOID: Work;[/code]

    Well, that's easy.

    1. You are at BIRTH.
    2. Exit WOMB. Keep STRAIGHT ON for APPROX. 90 MINUTES until you arrive at CRADLE.
    3. Turn SHARP LEFT, then SHARP DOWN until you arrive at GROUND.
    4. WAIT for APPROX. 10 MINUTES. You are now DEAD.
    5. You arrived at your destination, avoiding WORK.

    I wouldn't be so sure about that - for a newborn, escaping from one's cradle would require quite a bit of work.



  • @misguided said:

    When you're at a latitude that gets a lot more snow, it's amusing to browse around google maps and find that some areas of the city are a snow-capped satellite map and there are random blurry lines down the map where on the other side it was a blisteringly hot summer when that satellite imagery was taken!

    Or altitude.  I saw a good example of that up at my favorite California ski resort: [url=http://maps.google.com/maps?f=l&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=Kirkwood+Ski+Resort&near=Kirkwood,+CA&ie=UTF8&ll=38.686649,-120.071082&spn=0.020434,0.035233&t=h&z=15&om=1]Kirkwood[/url].

     (It's getting to be that time of year... I'm getting new skis this year too.  Ah,  the joys of employment.  $2000 worth of ski gear and a season pass.  I'll be playing [url=http://www.getafirstlife.com/]First Life[/url] this winter.)



  • @Random832 said:

    Now, maybe it's too much to ask to have it automatically track what roads are closed, etc.



    In-car GPS maps tend do that and also include traffic jam info. When they calculate fasted routes they include average speed on road sections. Not sure to what extent they include the actual road status in those calculations, but they sure could.

    So  no, it's not too much to ask. 



  • @phaedrus said:

    @misguided said:

    When you're at a latitude that gets a lot more snow, it's amusing to browse around google maps and find that some areas of the city are a snow-capped satellite map and there are random blurry lines down the map where on the other side it was a blisteringly hot summer when that satellite imagery was taken!

    Or altitude.  I saw a good example of that up at my favorite California ski resort: [url=http://maps.google.com/maps?f=l&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=Kirkwood+Ski+Resort&near=Kirkwood,+CA&ie=UTF8&ll=38.686649,-120.071082&spn=0.020434,0.035233&t=h&z=15&om=1]Kirkwood[/url].

     (It's getting to be that time of year... I'm getting new skis this year too.  Ah,  the joys of employment.  $2000 worth of ski gear and a season pass.  I'll be playing [url=http://www.getafirstlife.com/]First Life[/url] this winter.)

    Both of the links in the above post are fricking outstanding.  Kudos to you sir :)

    Something that I don't think has been mentioned yet in this discussion, also, is the problem of wikisabotage as it relates to community map updating...  I think there's a lot more potential for abuse because you don't have the same volume of auditing users.  If I'm a business owner with a lot of casual traffic (say, a gas station for example) and I decide to make the routes to competitors appear closed or experiencing delays, people will come the other way as a result and frequent my business more.  It would take ages to get fixed as compared to traditional wikisabotage, because those with the systems and awareness to be affected by it won't be poking along re-correcting the routes, they'll be avoiding the indicated construction as per the whole point of the thing.  I could pull that once a month and get a week and a half of increased business.



  • I forgot possibly the biggest hint of what may be just around the corner. Nokia just agreed to buy navteq for a high price. Possibly indicating that gps in mass market phones is not far away.

    If you want users to improve maps a phone is a pretty good platform. Phones have the capability to send the results to some server for processing along with geocoded images taken with the phones camera as evidence.
     


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