Images The GeoInformation Group, TeleAtlas. Route TryCycling in Edinburgh
People often ask “where can I cycle in Edinburgh?” The first response is to say “buy a SPOKES cycle map“. A bargain at £4.95, with off-road routes and quiet roads clearly marked.
But it can’t show what an area or route is like on the ground. One answer is Google Earth an impressive piece of software bringing maps and satellite images to your computer screen. Unfortunately while Aberdeen, Glasgow and many other places could be clearly seen, Scotland’s Capital was a bit of a vague blur.
NOT ANY MORE. About a week ago Google quietly released “small high-res updates in the UK (Swansea, Edinburgh, Doncaster, Gwent) and expanded London coverage”. The image is from a sunny (Sun?)day in 2005 (looks like late July with Edinburgh getting ready for the Festival).
It’s now much easier to see where you might like to go (or have just been). The map is a bit basic with few cycle paths marked – so you’ll still need the SPOKES map!
The clarity of the images will also make it easier for you to plot your favourite route and share it with others. This could be a tour around the North Edinburgh Path Network or a suggested way for someone who wants to cycle to work avoiding the main roads.
One web site that will make this easy is Map My Run. Originally created for runners it’s also used by cyclists. If you have a GPS device the process is simple, but without one a series of mouse clicks will quickly create your own on-line route map. (Works best with Firefox.)
The results can be e-mailed as a web address or as a Google Earth (kmz) file. Existing routes can be searched for on Map My Run. Already available are the H2EP route (Haymarket to Edinburgh Park avoiding main roads) (kmz file) and July’s TryCycling ride to Swanston (kmz file).
If you create your own favourite route e-mail the details and we will compile a list.
The new clarity will help schools to plan safe routes to school as part of their ‘Green Travel Plans’. Businesses will also be able to encourage employees to cycle to work.
(Google Earth needs a recent computer and Broadband to work effectively.)