Google Maps Adds Line-Measuring Tool

    September 6, 2007

To me, camping means carrying a lot of stuff and sacrificing a decent shower.  Hiking, on the other hand, suggests a pleasant jaunt through the wilderness.  So a new distance-measuring tool from Google Maps is rather interesting – it should make sure that hikes don’t inadvertently turn into camping trips.

Granted, I’d consider myself a bit of a doofus if I misjudged things that badly, but it could still be nice to know the exact distance of a custom-made trail.  Now, as Google’s Keith Golden posted on the Google LatLong Blog, “Whenever you draw a line, you’ll see the current distance as you move the mouse and add new points.  The distance is also displayed in the info window when you click on your completed line.”

This feature is already getting attention from some outdoor enthusiasts; sources such as Free Geography Tools and Team Geared Up have taken (positive) note of it.  Complaints are relatively minor – the feature has not yet been introduced in Google Earth, and it’s also limited to expressing distances in miles.

On the whole, it’s a welcome addition, and one of many, really, which have been made to Google Maps in the recent past – the ability to embed was established less than a month ago, and not so long before that came the introduction of drag-and-drop features.

So go, hike, and rest easy in the knowledge that you can get by with a canteen and a granola bar or two.