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Google Customizes Map Directions
Not long ago Google introduced an “avoid highways” checkbox on Maps that provides alternative routing. Now Google has gone much further in that direction (so to speak), allowing users to drag icons on the map to create customized routing. With each change directions update automatically. Here’s the Google Lat Long Blog discussion and here’s an entertaining video that explains the range of new features.
This can be used within cities or on cross country trips. Below I plotted a car trip across the U.S. from New York to San Francisco, with a number of stops in between.
One of the very nice features of this is the ability to manipulate multipoint directions. In my example above, one could add additional cities with an “add destination” link and then drag and drop the order of those cities.
Today I’m in New York and below I’ve decided to map the route from my hotel to another hotel hosting a conference I’m attending:
But maybe I want to take a quick side trip to the Museum of Modern Art. I can do that by either adding the museum as a formal destination or by dragging the routing line to MOMA provided I know it’s location:
These enhancements are valuable and practical additions to Google Maps. While the “click and drag” feature is novel and innovative, Yahoo and Ask also offer easy-to-use mutlipoint directions.