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Google Maps is great. Even if you don’t have the app on your smartphone, you can look up your destination on your PC and get turn-by-turn directions. Thing is, in most African countries those directions were limited to driving.
Not ideal on a continent where large sections of the population don’t drive. All that’s just changed though. Google has announced that it’s implementing walking directions in 44 African countries.
Google does caution however that walking directions are currently in beta. Anyone new to the service should be careful because the routes may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian crossings. If you do notice something wrong with the directions, they are editable. So if anything is amiss, you can correct it with the internet giant’s community mapping tool Google Map Maker.
That’s impressive because Google only recently announced the expansion of Map Maker to South Africa and Egypt, two of the continent’s most tech-adapted countries.
If you’ve never used walking directions on Google Maps, here’s how to do it:
- Click Get directions, enter a starting and ending location and click Get Directions.
- In the search field, enter a from-to statement and click Search Maps.
- Click “Directions” in an info window that pops up for a business or location
- Right-click on the map to get directions to that location
It seems that Google’s cartography department has been having a busy time of late.
Today it also announced that it was expanding biking directions into Europe and Australia.
In an official statement, the internet giant said it had drawn on the popularity of cycling maps in the US and Canada. It also reckons the routes it provides might help people get out of their cars and onto their bikes:
We know how popular cycling is in many parts of the world, so we wanted to include as much bike trail data as possible to provide efficient routes, allow riders to customize their trips, make use of bike lanes, calculate rider-friendly routes that avoid big hills and busy roads and to customize the look of the cycling map to encourage people to hop on their bikes. So that’s exactly what we’ve done.
Anyone in the countries involved just has select the cyclist icon from the list of routing modes when they search for directions to get a bike route.
As is the case with walking, Google’s cycling maps are editable in Map Maker.