My brother sent me a link a few weeks ago to yet another cool Google Map mash-up. This one allows you to measure the distance between two points on a map via connected line segments. This is particularly useful to me in estimating the length of a bike ride on a route I haven’t yet ridden, since the routes I take tend to involve lots of curvy roads and several turns at intersections. Once I ride a route, I can get the distance from the computer on my bike, but sometimes it’s nice to know in advance what to expect.
- Zoom in until you can easily see your starting point.
- Click the Start Recording button on the top left of the window.
- Double click on your starting point. You should see a little red flag.
- Double click at the desired end of the first line segment. A second red flag will appear at the new end point.
- Double click at the desired end of the second line segment. The second red flag will move to the new endpoint.
As you lay out your path, you can monitor the total length of the line segment as well as the length of the last segment/leg in the top left of the window. If you accidentally double click in the wrong place, click on the “Undo last point” button to go back.
An even cooler feature if you are a bicyclist in a hilly area in the US is that an elevation graph will appear at the bottom of the map if you click on the small or large links to the right of the Elevation: label on the left side of the window. My standard ride starts with a 350 feet climb in the first 3/4 of a mile. At 2 miles, I’ve climbed over 800 feet. No wonder my heart rate reaches the high end of my target range so quickly.