Google Maps Adds Ski Run Information from Resorts
February 08, 2013
By Christopher Mohr, TMCnet Contributing Writer
Google (News - Alert) announced on Wednesday that it had added ski run information from 38 well-known ski resorts in the U.S. and Canada. The runs are color-coded using the same colors the ski resort industry uses to show difficulty level.
Maps of the runs are included as part of the Google Maps app for the iPhone (News - Alert) and Android devices.
Ski runs are typically indicated by level of difficulty ranging from easiest to most difficult as follows: green circle, blue square, black diamond and double black diamond. A run rated as a green circle would appear on the map as a green line, for example.
Ski lifts are also on these amps, shown as a red dotted line.
The maps can be very helpful in not only locating the desired run, but also determining where it ends. Without prior knowledge of a given mountain (or this app) many people might find themselves on the opposite side of the mountain from where they meant to go. It can also be helpful to anyone who is lost.
Ski runs from many well-known resorts have already been mapped, like Steamboat Springs, Vail, Park City and Whistler. Additional maps are coming soon, according to the Google Maps blog.
A few slopes are available in Street View mode.
Google’s inclusion of these ski run maps is a brilliant move and a great use of the company’s smartphone app for mapping. Developers recognized that users want mapping information for reasons other than getting driving directions, and that they often need this information quickly, as most smartphone users do. If Google can apply mapping technology effectively to ski slopes, they can apply it to other uses.
Hikers and joggers could use the technology on park trails, people who commute by rail could use it as a planning aid, and attendees of sporting events or performances could use it to find the most efficient exit.
This can also be part of Google’s revenue model that ties what users search for to providers of related goods and services who pay for advertising. The only real difference between using a search engine and searching for a map location is the type of result the search returns. Both are still a type of search.
Edited by Braden Becker