Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Walking Directions + Avoid Highways = My Kind Of Driving!

Back when I was attending high school in Syracuse, NY, I did the typical teenager thing and learned how to drive a car. Syracuse is a (relatively) large city in the middle of upstate NY, so getting from point A to point B could either mean driving down winding country roads and passing by Llama Farms (true story) or driving on multiple highways to get to our nearly-biggest-mall-in-America/most-polluted-lake-in-NY (yep, its at the same location.. go city planners!).

I quickly learned that I loved country roads (who doesn't like llamas??) and hated highways, but since everyone around me were highway-lovers, it was near impossible to get directions to places that didn't involve highways. So that's where Google Maps, and now the Google Maps API, becomes my new best friend. By specifying avoidHighways in GDirectionsOptions, I can find a route that avoids highways. Click the screenshot below to check it out.


Fast forward 5 years: I've moved to the bay area to start my job at Google, and I realize that there aren't really many country roads left, and pretty much all routes involve either a highway or intersections. I should probably mention that I eventually learned in Syracuse that I hate intersections: left turns, right turns, they all freak the gajeezus out of me. So I decided that I'd walk everywhere possible, and seek housing in highly walkable areas. So once again, that's where Google Maps and the API help me out. By specifying G_TRAVEL_MODE_WALKING in GDirectionsOptions, I can get walking directions from my apartment to the nearest "beverage" store. Click the screenshot below to check it out.


Note: Since walking directions may sometimes not include clear pedestrian paths, we need to make sure that your users take caution when using them. So, walking directions are only supported if you have supplied a <div> in the GDirections constructor; this <div> is used to display a warning to the user in the turn-by-turn textual directions.

If that piqued your interest, read through the updated Developer's Guide and API Reference. As always, post in the forum with any questions you may have.