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Summit: Record attendance and “an announcement” from Google — UPDATED

Posted by on March 9th, 2010 at 9:03 am

Finally?!
(Graphic: Peter Smith)

The League of American Bicyclists just announced record attendance for the 10th annual National Bike Summit. They’ve also announced a new speaker for tomorrow morning’s Opening Plenary: Shannon Guymon of Google, Inc. Could Ms. Guymon be here to make a big announcement about adding bike directions to Google Maps?

According to a press release from the League, more than 700 people from 48 states have already registered. That’s more than 100 more than last year (in 2001, the Summit’s first year, fewer than 150 people showed up). League President Andy Clarke says that more than 400 meetings have been scheduled with members of Congress during Thursday’s Capitol Hill lobbying day. “The Summit and bicycle movement is on the rise,” said Clarke.

That’s great news… but let’s get back to Google. A cursory search on Guymon shows that she does indeed work on Google Maps. She’s slated to present on “new features” at SXSW this Saturday in Austin..

Google has been working on bike directions for at least two years. Peter Smith, a citizen activist from San Francisco and author of the Google Maps Bike There blog reported in November that Google was actively seeking partners to help them gather data to launch the feature.

This is all speculation at this point, but it seems curious that the League would have Mrs. Guymon in the line-up (and she was a late addition). Also set to speak at tomorrow’s opening session are Congressman Earl Blumenauer, Delaware Governor Jack Markell, and Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff.

Stay tuned.

UPDATE: It now seems likely that Google will announce a “Bike There” feature tomorrow morning. I’m meeting with a rep from the company after what they referred to as “an announcement.” They’d like to show me a “demo” and a spokesperson for Google said I “won’t be disappointed with the news.”


2010 Bike Summit coverage sponsored by Planet Bike. More stories on our special coverage page.

25 Comments
  • nuovorecord March 9, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Can’t think of any other reason why Google would be addressing the Bike Summit if not to announce a new map feature. Good for them!

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  • Shetha March 9, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Still, it won’t be a “new” type of tool to me, unless they have a widget that avoids steep inclines ๐Ÿ™‚ Just for the days I’m loaded to the gills!

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  • Ron March 9, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Shetha, perhaps there will be a field to enter the weight of your rig (including panniers) to be considered for route planning purposes ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • fredlf March 9, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Oh man, I want the job verifying and mapping routes. Hello, google? I’m available!

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  • eli bishop March 9, 2010 at 11:00 am

    i. am. so. EXCITED! i’ve been using bycycle.org pretty regularly; the ability to overlay the bike map over a google map has been very helpful to me as someone who’s still exploring and discovering my area. i’m especially hoping it trickles down to the iPhone Maps tool.

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  • Wyatt Baldwin March 9, 2010 at 11:21 am

    @Shetha/#2

    It’s likely that a Google bike trip planner would take elevation into account. Even the bycycle.org trip planner does this, though admittedly it’s not very sophisticated. Given Google’s resources and brainpower, I’m certain they will come up with something that works much better.

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  • matt picio March 9, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Has anyone else noticed that Google Maps now shows the I-205 bike path (and a few others)?

    What will be great is if they start showing the cut-throughs that are only open to bikes, with bollards that prevent cars from entering.

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  • Anne Hawley March 9, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    I have a GREAT suggestion for Google: offer a “car route with fewest bikes” option for motorists!

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  • Dave March 9, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Or better yet – make that the default option ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • Esther March 9, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Looking forward to this. On my most recent trip out of town, I realized that even outside urban areas, google maps are useful for finding small rural roads that parallel larger highways, and I was able to pull up the map in real time on my phone, as well as the map I’d planned out in google maps as an overlay. But it will be great in urban areas that don’t have bycycle.org…I was just in SF and my friend, who bikes there, said she wished there was some kind of online map that would give you a bike route.

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  • Steven Vance March 9, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    It seems like the Chicago Tribune had this story ready to go at 4 PM CST but pulled it. See the screenshot.

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  • […] at Bike Portland scooped me big time โ€” heโ€™s at the National Bike Summit, where Shannon Guymon of Google will make an announcement […]

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  • Thomas L. Ngo March 9, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    The Bicycling layer is now enabled on Google Maps!!!

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  • […] live. Product manager Shannon Guymon will announce the product tomorrow in Washington, D.C., in an eagerly anticipated talk at the National Bike […]

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  • […] League of American Bicyclists has just sent out a press release confirming what I speculated (and all but confirmed) earlier today — Google has turned on biking directions for Google […]

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  • […] live. Product manager Shannon Guymon will announce the product tomorrow in Washington, D.C., in an eagerly anticipated talk at the National Bike […]

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  • NookSurfer March 10, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Awesome addition. I use Google maps when I’m driving. I’m eager to see how well the GPS will work on the handheld and how accurate the locator will be since you have to be more precise when you ride a bike. Either way, great news that Google listens to their customers requests.

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  • […] League of American Bicyclists has just sent out a press release confirming what I speculated (and all but confirmed) earlier today โ€” Google has turned on biking directions for Google […]

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  • Paul Johnson March 11, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    OpenStreetMap.org’s cyclemap layer has done this for years. And unlike Google’s maps, you can take OSM with you on a Garmin.
    http://garmin.na1400.info/routable.php

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