Proposed Gmaps feature: Range maps

April 16, 2010

Here’s a Google Maps feature that would be really neat.   It works like this:

  1. I put down a pin at some geographic location.
  2. I select a time of day (9am, 6pm, etc.)
  3. I select a number of minutes (5, 15, 45, etc.)
  4. I select a means of transport (car, bicylce, walking, walking+bus/train, etc).

Google Maps then shades in, on the map, everywhere I can travel to at that time of day, within that number of minutes, by that means of transport.

This would be super-great for people moving closer to their new jobs, and would thus nicely tie into Adsense revenue for mortgages, moving companies, etc.

The shapes surely change with the time of day, but I wonder how much.  During rush hour the freeways are slow so the shape is more “blobby”, going out in all directions along side streets.  Late at night, though, freeways are super-fast so the shape “spikes out” along them.  That’s only a guess, though.  I’d love to know how much it really does change, and I bet Google has most of the data already, in some form.

And then how about doing it not by a quantity of minutes, but instead by some general-purpose metric of hassle and frustration (walking/cycling being minuses, and sitting in trafic being plusses, etc).

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