More on Walking Directions
Richard sends along an AP story (on CNN) about online maps for walkers and bikers — it seems that high gas prices are putting people in the mind to think about other forms of transportation, and are noticing that most of our maps and directions are assuming that they will be used by drivers. In addition to mentioning Google Maps’s walking directions, along with a few other initiatives — such as MapQuest’s walking directions sent to cellphones — the article looks at the challenges of shifting from a driver-centric paradigm:
Pedestrians need sidewalks but don’t have to abide by one-way streets. Walkers and bikers can cut through paths or trails not meant for cars, but they must avoid highways. Bikers, unlike walkers, need to think about whether a road is paved and are prohibited from sidewalks in some cities.
All these variables mean the fastest, easiest route for a driver may not be the same as for someone on foot or riding a bike. And developing a comprehensive system for non-drivers requires a tricky step: collecting huge volumes of local metadata and getting them on national databases used by mapping services.