Bubble in the desert

A blog I started whilst on a GE "Bubble" assignment in Nevada. I'm back in Cambridge (UK) now but still miss the desert and my friends out there.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Google Maps - Very Inefficient Routes - Much longer than necessary

We went camping near Oxford this weekend. I was feeling as though I had a cold coming on and so decided to motorbike it over there rather than ride my bicycle (though I had found an excellent Oxford to Cambridge Bicycle Route).

I had a look at Google Maps for directions. I put in my postcode in Cambridge CB4 1UD and the destination postcode SN7 7QJ.

The route that was returned was 147 miles and had an estimated time of 2h 40m. The route was M11-M25-M4 and quite easy to follow.

This route struck me as much longer than it should be. I dragged the route around to find something a bit more direct.

I quickly found a route, via Bletchly, that was 103 miles and had an estmated duration of 2h 46m.

So, Google's default route is 44 miles longer and saves only 6 minutes (it is also an extremely boring route). This 44 miles is more than a gallon of petrol even on my motorbike.

I would have thought that Google's directions could be tuned to provide more economical route options, especially given challenges we are facing with climate change and rising fuel costs.

Google are changing their directions to incorporate new route finding options but have not get addressed Bicycle Routes, which is what a lot of us really want them to do - see the petition.


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