Google has updated Maps to include elevation profiles for bike routes, something that should come in handy for everyone that enjoys some time in the outdoors.
Biking directions have been available for Maps users for a while now, but up until now you couldn’t tell if you had a straight road ahead of you or had to go up and down over hills to get to the destinations. Considering the effort needed for each type of biking differs greatly, the new info is sure useful to have when planning a route.
Of course, other sites had such information available, but you had to go look that up specifically. Now that everything is mixed together into Google Maps, it saves you a trip, even it’s an online one.
Google hasn’t exactly advertised the new features, but you can find the info was added in along with the latest update.
The company did confirm the news to TechCrunch and informed them that the elevation profiles are only available for the 14 countries where Google already offers biking directions, namely Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Finland, Great Britain, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Sweden and the United States.
The feature is quite cool to play around with and you only have to go Maps, type in your current location and then ask for directions. Type in the location where you want to end up and choose biking from the top ribbon (where you can also pick traveling by car, by bus, by foot, or by plane).
The new cards will also tell you the total number of feet you have to climb on the route so you can properly dose your energy and what to expect from your trip, especially if you’ve never been on that particular route before.
For routes that have no significant elevation differences the new feature won’t activate, so if you don’t see it, that’s likely the reason why.
The bad part about this new feature is that it’s only available for the desktop version of Google Maps, cutting down some of the usefulness of the app since such a feature would better suited for the Maps apps for smartphones and tablets, gadgets that bikers would actually travel with.
Even so, chances are that the feature will make the transfer in the near future since Google likes making all its tools available on all platforms.