Several places in Europe and Australia are getting biking maps and directions, but Google Maps is getting better in other places around the world as well. In fact, Google is now debuting walking directions in many African countries.
Driving directions have been available there for a couple of years now, but walking directions are a new thing. The nice part is that the feature isn't just being rolled out for a country or two or just in South Africa as is the norm, it's rolling out for 44 countries at a time.
Much of sub-saharan Africa is covered by the new update, South Africa already had the feature and so did the North African countries as well as Sudan. Only a few small countries are left out at this point.
The feature works as expected in Google Maps. On the site, you get a "walking directions" button next to the driving directions one. If you've used the feature elsewhere where it's available, there's nothing new here.
The feature is available in Google Maps for mobile as well, a good thing since Android phones, of the "cheap" variety, are becoming increasingly popular in Africa.
"As a reminder, walking directions are currently in beta, and we recommend that you use caution, as the routes may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian crossings," Google warns
"Walking directions are editable, so if anything is amiss, you can correct it with our community mapping tool Google Map Maker. Google Map Maker is a tool that allows you to add and update geographic information for millions of users to see in Google Maps and Google Earth," it said.
"We are always grateful to our active African online cartographers who have helped make our African maps what they are today," it added.
Africa is a big place so there will be some missing information, so don't trust the directions blindly. Fortunately, as Google notes, the data will get better in time especially via programs like Map Maker, to which you can contribute yourself.