Google Maps bicycle directions are now live in Canada.
Google maps routing service for bicycles went live for Canadian cities yesterday. Type your start and destination address and click the bicycle icon for a route that selects for bike paths (shown in dark green), bike lanes (shown in light green) and designated bike routes (dashed green).
Like with the USA version, you have the opportunity to report problems (e.g. non-connecting paths, routing on bike-prohibited roads) to Google Maps. In my experience, you can expect to see the problem resolved within about three or four weeks.
Detailed bike facility information is available for Gatineau QC, Ottawa ON, Waterloo ON, Toronto ON, Edmonton AB, Calgary AB, Winnipeg MB, Vancouver BC and Kelowna BC. Outside of those cities, Google selects for lower traffic roads.
Here’s an example: Gatineau, QC to Ottawa, ON
Thank you to Eco Localizer for the heads up on this.
Here’s to hoping they have a better initial data set for Canada than they did for Chicago (or the rest of the States).
I compared bike directions for Ottawa to Gatineau across the Ottawa River using Google’s bike directions vs MapQuest + OSM bike data. OSM bike data is slightly better than Google’s in this case, with path names in OSM data that’s lacking in Google directions.
Mostly minor differences otherwise: Google’s preferential routing over longer bike paths adds about 1 KM (less than 10%) to the total distance on their route, which really isn’t much at all. MapQuest routes on Rue Laurier instead of on adjacent (but windy) Sentier des Voyageurs Pathway, and Rue Laurier has bike lanes.
Other difference is routing around the Tecumseh golf course. Google takes you up a narrow alley and dumps you onto a provincial highway with no shoulders about 400 meters before MapQuest does. Neither Google nor OSM know about the sidepath along that provincial highway. With OSM, though, I’m adding that sidepath in right now; with Google, we have to wait for them to add it.
I’m guessing the license OSM has for the data disallows Google from “co-opting” it for use on Google Maps.
Oh wait about that provincial highway – Google Maps *does* know about it. That’s why Google routes bikes along that highway!
More likely CC-BY-SA license used by OSM is probably incompatible with Google’s licenses from their other map data providers. A big part of my dayjob is working with in-house lawyers on open-source license issues.