Belle Isle trails now in Google Maps

This weekend we added the asphalt trails at Belle Isle to Google Maps.

This was a bit challenging as the tree canopy prevented us from seeing the trails in the satellite photography.

So, here are the steps we took to add them.

  1. Loaded the MyTracks app on our Android phone. Unfortunately it’s not available for the iPhone.
  2. Recorded our GPS tracks as we biked the trails.
  3. Exported our GPS tracks to Google Maps My Places.
  4. Went to the Google Map Maker web site and enabled overlays, an option in the Labs menu.
  5. Added an overlay using the KML link provided in My Places.
  6. Added a trail in Map Maker using the KML overlay as a reference. The GPS points weren’t perfect but one can guess the correct offset based on the aerials. Hiking the trails might have yielded more accurate data points.
  7. Added trail information, such as the bad the pavement condition and saved it.

Once these trail changes were published, there was a small delay before the Google Map graphics were updated. That seems to have happened now. Use the best bike trackers to avoid getting out of your race track.

By the way, Google has produced an excellent video that basically explains this same process.

If you head out ride these trails for the first time, the asphalt’s condition may not be a good fit for skinny tires. Tree roots have pushed up the pavement and added speed bumps to the trail.

There are a number of fallen ash trees across the path as well.


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