Editor’s note: Today’s guest blogger is Heidi Skinner, Social Strategy Manager at the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company. Read how Harley-Davidson uses Google Maps APIs to help motorcyclists plan and share road trips. Harley-Davidson is one of many customers sharing their story as part of our cross-country road trip, Code the Road.

Hitting the open road on your motorcycle isn’t what it used to be—it’s better, thanks to the Harley-Davidson Ride Planner mobile app and website that use the Google Maps APIs to help you plan trips, share them with others and get the most out of your route along the way. It's one of the many ways Harley-Davidson helps more people ride more miles.

Motorcyclists are a varied bunch. Some like short drives through urban centers, while others favor long rides through mountain ranges. They plan their rides with the same care as they plan their honeymoons or vacations. On the Ride Planner website, powered by the Google Maps JavaScript API, they can build their routes using Google Maps and choose the kinds of roads they favor, including Harley-Davidson Great Roads, which are some of the best roads in the country to ride on as rated by other Harley-Davidson riders.

The Google Places API lets them add important places—gas stations, hotels and attractions. We also use it to call out relevant places people might want to visit, like the hundreds of Harley-Davidson dealerships across the country that offer official Harley-Davidson merchandise, riding gear and parts & accessories as well as great restaurants, landmarks, campgrounds and other points of interest.
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After people build their trips, the iOS and Android apps grab the information. The Android app uses the Google Maps API for Android to display the map, route and turn-by-turn directions. The Google Places API for Android lets people see and change their planned stops and attractions. The Google Maps SDK for iOS and Google Places SDK for iOS do the same thing for our iOS app, providing the same user experience across both platforms.
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People can share their rides as well. Members of the Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) plan rides for as many as 500 people, who follow the route on the mobile apps. The apps also tie into mobile device GPS systems for navigation, and motorcyclists can export rides using GPX format into the built-in GPS on their Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

The app has been a huge success—people have planned hundreds of thousands of rides on the website, and the apps are each downloaded between 3,000 and 5,000 times a month. To help celebrate this momentum, we’re excited to be part of the Code the Road road trip with Google.

On June 8, members of local H.O.G. groups drove their Harleys alongside the Code the Road bus from our headquarters in Milwaukee to the nearby Harley-Davidson Museum. At the museum, we celebrated with a big party, including live music, tours of the bus and museum discounts for attendees. It was a great time with a great partner.