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What does it say about car-centric US culture that, for all the eye-popping progress Google, MSN, and others have made with online maps, it’s taken me till now to find one that generates something as simple as good walking directions. Consider a trip to get lunch in NYC: if I punch in start and end directions, most of these services will send my through a maze of oneway streets a car would follow rather the sidewalk path a walker would travel.
Imagine yourself newly arrived to center city Philadelphia, checking online and being given directions to drive to a destination 2 miles away. This happened to me. It was only when I got to my destination that I realized what a simple walk it would have been.
Google’s map takes guess work and anxiety out of walking through a new neighborhood. Using street views, for example, you can even preview your foot journey to get a feel for the kinds of streetscapes you’ll stroll through.
Good work Google! Check out a sample here.
Late addition: I got a call from AOL Maps explaining they have a similar service. My bad, and let me know if there are other, good pro-pedestrian solutions out there.
BusinessWeek correspondents John Carey and Mark Scott, cover the green scene, keeping on top of the business aspects of energy, the environment and climate change, as well as the technologies, policies, markets and people that are shaping how the earth's resources will be used in the century ahead.