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[–][deleted] 22 points23 points  (8 children)

This needs to be part of the default bicycling directions on google maps.

[–]elustran 9 points10 points  (5 children)


We think that this new elevation service is a natural complement to our recently launched bicycling directions. Now you can determine in advance just how painful your bicycling route is likely to be. In fact you’ll be happy to hear that the Maps API bicycling directions already factor in elevation, which is why if you ask for a route up Lombard Street you will be sent the long way round.

[–][deleted] 4 points5 points  (2 children)

I want to see the elevation graph when i search for routes with google maps. Maybe I want a hilly route some days for a better workout.

[–]willcode4beer 4 points5 points  (1 child)

Biking up Lombard isn't a workout, it's right up there with waterboarding

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I wasn't talking about Lombard... -_-

[–]TheWalruss 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Dang, I started working on a Maps API-based bike route app a few years ago, but gave up when I realized I couldn't get the elevation :(

Awesome that Google did it though!

[–]yellowbkpk 3 points4 points  (0 children)

For future reference, you could always get elevation data from the USGS or build off of freely available SRTM data.

[–]coyul 2 points3 points  (0 children)

If you live in Vancouver, UBC's got your back. You can ask for a route by shortest path, most vegetated or least traffic pollution in addition to least elevation gain.

[–]b3hr 0 points1 point  (0 children)

there's an android app called my tracks that tracks your location speed and altitude i wonder if it's collecting data for this. when you save you're maps you put what activity you were doing at the time

[–]BeliefSuspended2008 6 points7 points  (4 children)

Darn clever. I noticed that it doesn't take into account the elevation of bridges.

[–]Grimoire 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Why would it? It is the elevation of the terrain, not of man-made structures.

[–]plesn 0 points1 point  (0 children)

If you're looking for bicycling directions, and you're not Lance Armstrong, elevation of bridges is often to be taken into account.

[–][deleted]  (1 child)


    [–]TinynDP 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    The data came from USGS or whatever, not from their street view cars. So its dirt level, not road level.

    [–]lolmemelol 4 points5 points  (2 children)

    Is it sad that I immediately recognized Lombard Street from GTA: San Andreas? I always wondered why the map designers decided to make such a demented street...

    [–]docgravel[🍰] 8 points9 points  (0 children)

    I just moved to SF and I remember turning a corner and looking straight in front of me and thinking, "Isn't there supposed to be a ramp there?"

    [–]ansonparker 4 points5 points  (0 children)

    Whenever I have some extra time left on my Zipcar session I always go do a lap of Lombard ;)

    [–]IvyMike 2 points3 points  (0 children)

    So about four years ago, I bought a new manual-shift car. But I only had about 45 minutes of actual experience driving standard shift. For 45 minutes of experience I was pretty good... when the ground was perfectly level. When there was any amount of slope, the car would roll and I would panic.

    Getting the car home the first time was quite an experience. This was when I decided that in addition to "minimize time" and "minimize distance" modes, online maps should also have a "minimize elevation change" modes.

    (Then there was the time I followed directions through downtown L.A. at 2 a.m., at which point I imagined the "minimize chance of getting carjacked" mode.)

    [–]faldo 5 points6 points  (3 children)

    Awesome. First project: given 2 tops of buildings, is there line of sight?

    Add 2 highly directional antennas and BAM! Wireless network with a mate's place.

    [–]piranha 3 points4 points  (2 children)

    Trees don't count as elevation. (It remains to be seen whether Google counts building heights for elevation.)

    Or, since you're just doing this with a friend as a one-off thing, you could, you know, get up there on the roof with some binoculars.

    [–]faldo 1 point2 points  (1 child)

    Plenty of reasons why it'd be cool to be able to do this with maps though: say you're looking at renting a place, or you're doing a preliminary feasibility study for a remote location.

    Anyway, the API sounds great, just need to play around a bit and see what it's capable of.

    [–]epic_awesome 11 points12 points  (0 children)

    Nice try, Lee Harvey Oswald.

    [–]mriguy 2 points3 points  (2 children)

    I'd be more impressed if the deck of the Golden Gate Bridge weren't 100 feet below sea level.

    [–]stratoscope 9 points10 points  (0 children)

    The elevation data is for the earth's surface, not for buildings, bridges, or other structures. So it's showing you the water depth at that point. From the article: "If any sampling points are over bodies of water, the service will return the depth relative to sea level as a negative number."

    [–]daytime 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    The geologist in me is freaking out.

    [–]pjleonhardt 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    This is pretty cool, already have some plans on how to use this. Anybody have any ideas where I can get access to a database of street lights / stop sign locations for various states?

    [–]Digipete 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    I have been able to do this since I bought Delorme Topo USA around 2001.


    [–]geocar 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    Waiting for someone to make to combine this elevation data with geoip data...

    [–]TheWalruss -2 points-1 points  (0 children)

    I misread this as "levitation data" :D