Mapping the Motor City with Google Map Maker
Hailed as the birthplace of the automotive revolution, the city of Detroit, Mich. is taking its transportation legacy down new paths. As Detroit embraces a greener, non-motorized outlook, cycling is steadily increasing in popularity. The Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance is facilitating this transition by creating an interconnected statewide system of trails and greenways, including the development of bike paths throughout the Detroit area.
As these new bike paths change the city’s landscape, Motor City residents need a more comprehensive map showing bike friendly routes. Todd Scott, the Detroit Greenways Coordinator, discovered that he could use Google Map Maker—a free tool that allows anyone to make contributions to Google Maps—to add new information on biking paths and trails in and around Detroit. Adding new bike paths not only makes the map more accurate, it also improves biking directions, making it even easier for people to find the quickest routes through town. Anyone can also enhance existing trails by including details such as the official name, surface type and bicycle suitability. Keeping Google Maps updated with the latest information means everyone in the community is able to find and enjoy these new additions to the trail system.
Building a more comprehensive, accurate and usable map for local cyclists is just one part of Todd’s mission. From the smallest town to a rapidly evolving city like Detroit, maps reflect the heart of a community. Whether you’re improving directions, adding local businesses or mapping an entire area from scratch, your local expertise will help make life easier for not only you, but all Google Maps users. As Todd says, “It goes beyond map making. It’s a way to take back your neighborhood.”
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