Google Transit Mapping Comes to New York

googmap.jpgThis morning a number of public officials, including Governor David Paterson, joined Google co-founder Sergey Brin in announcing his company’s new city transit mapping tool.

The service covers MTA subway and bus lines, along with PATH and New Jersey Transit routes. New Yorkers (including yours truly) who have been frustrated in the past by Google Maps’ assumption that all users were looking for driving directions will be pleased to see that it now offers walking directions as well, eliminating glitches caused by one way streets.

Google isn’t the first to offer transit mapping here (see HopStop and onNYTurf). But as City Room notes, few entities can rival its name recognition and economic clout, which should make it possible for the company to upgrade and innovate more quickly. The MTA has endorsed the tool with a link from the agency’s web site, and Google’s ubiquitousness should make the service popular with tourists.

Google Maps already feature transit routes in other cities in the US
and beyond. Apparently the scope of the New York system presented a
challenge to company programmers.

As for functionality, the transit tool worked seamlessly with Google Maps on my desktop. I could not access the function on my iPhone, though that could be because I don’t update my software every 20 minutes. Let us know how you think the service stacks up.

After the jump is a comprehensive list of features, courtesy of the MTA.

In-depth information about a destination:

  • subway, train or bus stops serving the destination
  • next scheduled departures from the station or stop
  • search of nearby businesses, restaurants, attractions, and amenities (e.g. “delicatessens near City Hall Station”)

Unique, user-friendly features:

  • 360-degree street-level views of the destination with Google Maps Street View, which can be rotated by the user with their computer mouse
  • “My Location” feature triangulates the user’s approximate cell-phone position on Google Maps for mobile and indicates distance from the destination
  • Still photo entries for popular destinations
  • Icons for Wikipedia entries for places of interest at stations
  • Trip planning also accessible via many portable devices

Helpful links:

  • Ability to instantly share a trip plan with friends via email
  • A link on the Google Transit page will take visitors back to www.mta.info to access additional MTA information each time MTA data is shown on Google Maps
  • Boris

    It turns out it takes less than an hour to get from Penn Station to JFK using transit. I’m not sure I support the JFK-Downtown Link project any longer…the money would be better spent on helping those who don’t live or work near Penn Station but still need to get to the airport every once in a while. Staten Island and south Brooklyn have vast numbers of people for whom the trip to JFK without a car is much longer than for those in Manhattan.

  • Ian Turner

    There is not a lot of extra value to google maps’ online offering, but the ability to use GPS or triangulation on Maps for Mobile is huge. My company gave me a blackberry 8800 (w/ GPS) recently, and I’ve found myself using it a lot whenever I go to a new part of town, even just on foot.

    As all of the trip planning services have discovered, the main issue is getting data from transit agencies and in keeping it current. Ridiculously, Onnyturf ended up having to sue the LIRR in order to get a hold of their timetable database. Trips123 lists some 3 dozen, and there are lots more suburban services (such as Rockland Coaches) that are not available electronically from anyone.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

If you live in Greenpoint (the blue pin), the darkest red areas of this map would take at least 25 minutes longer to reach via transit without the L train. Image: Sidewalk Labs

Mapping Life Without the L Train

|
This fall, DOT and the MTA will unveil their plan to keep New Yorkers moving when the L train west of Bedford Avenue shuts down for repairs. But what if the L train went away and nothing took its place? A new mapping tool from Sidewalk Labs, “NYC Transit Explorer,” shows how far you can get via transit from any point in a given amount of time. It also includes an option to see how things change when you strip the western segment of the L train out of the system.

Google to Host “Unconference” for MTA App Developers

|
In January, the MTA took the long-awaited step of opening up its data to software developers, clearing the way for third parties to devise new and innovative ways to put current information in the hands of transit customers. Since then, the agency has received some 1,100 requests for data, reports AMNY. New apps provide everything […]