Where Is That?

Google Maps, a venerable tool in my digital kit, has become a little more user friendly over time. Of course you can drag routes to change them, you can select driving, walking, biking, and public transportation, and you can see traffic flow. There are multitudes of things you can do.

It used to be that suggesting changes was difficult, but that, too, has been simplified. I even suggested the underpass near my house as a biking and walking route, and it now shows up in directions. After reading about desert kites, ancient animal funneling devices in the deserts around Syria and Iraq, I found one on Google Maps and proposed it. I got rejected, though, and did not follow up with documentation that showed what it was. This type of labeling and route suggestions would be a neat project for students.

As the weather continues to improve in the Boston area, I have thoughts of getting my bike out and commuting that way. Back to Google Maps, I go and type in the addresses, select bike, and presto a kind of accurate route is figured out. I dragged the route to resemble more what I wanted to achieve.

Maybe this is already happening, but I don’t see evidence of it. I think mapping software should learn preferred routes and specific shortcuts that one regularly takes. If I have dragged the route to a certain configuration time and again, the tool should learn from that. I have started using the star function to avoid retyping the same addresses and places all of the time.


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