MapMyRide and surely many other maps, but as of yesterday, we will probably begin seeing it pop up all around the web - elevation on maps.We've seen the feature before on services like
Google announced yesterday that it would be bringing elevation to its Maps API, ensuring a whole new slew of Google Maps mashups.
The new service, available for use as either the ElevationService class or the Elevation Web Service (which doesn't require an API key to use), provides "the elevation in meters for one or more sets of coordinates" or a select number of points, equally spaced along a path.
As Google points out in its blog, the most obvious use for elevation is in planning out something like a bicycle route. "In fact you'll be happy to hear," the company writes in its blog "that the Maps API bicycling directions already factor in elevation".
Already, for bicycling junkies like myself, the ability to check out routes and elevations on sites like MapMyRide is extremely useful, if not just really interesting. The mashup on Google's blog post about this new feature shows how the data can be used to give a side-view of any path, alerting you to any unforseen inclines or descents.
Aside from bicycling, there are any number of uses for this sort of data - avoiding hills in icy winter travel, figuring out sight lines or just choosing the best route to drive that moving van and not have everything slide to the back end.
While there are other services, as we've mentioned, that have already offered this feature, there's something about it coming to Google Maps. We already use Google Maps to plot out our routes and get directions, so why go somewhere else to get elevation? Now, you might not have to. We're hoping this gets added as a standard feature on Google Maps soon.
Take a minute to play with the embedded map below and see how the elevation data can be used with Google Maps.