Google Maps makes navigating America's national parks easier with several new user interface updates. Travel Leisure.
The latest update to Google Maps will offer walking and cycling directions, as well as displaying the entire route.
Updates introduced ahead of National Park Weeks, include easier ways to navigate the trails, as well as photo presentations of the most popular sites. New map features were developed with the help of rangers and directors of the National Park Service.
“As someone who has visited 24 US national parks, I am thrilled that we are making these helpful updates to Google Maps that will make it easier for people to explore, navigate and find fun in parks across the country,” said Michael Curts, Google Maps Product Manager. “Google Maps now has all the information you need, so you can save time on planning and spend it on research.”
Hiking will be easier in the future if the entire route from start to finish is highlighted on the map, rather than just a red pin in the center, according to Google. The map will also suggest walking or cycling routes to the nearest end of the trail.
In addition, Google will include information about the trails, such as how difficult the trail is, and will also add "a more convenient button to download the park for offline use, located next to other common site activities."
In addition to the trails themselves, the entrances to the park will now be displayed on the base map. And the map will show popular places (such as attractions, campsites, and visitor centers) as photo pins.
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The new updates are coming as the NPS prepares to celebrate National Park Week from April 22-30. On April 22, admission to all parks will be free.
There are 63 different national parks in the United States, but some are more popular with visitors than others. Yellowstone National Park is the most popular of all national parks, according to data from Google, which tracked direction and interaction requests on Google Maps over the past year. It was followed by Yosemite National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, and Joshua Tree National Park.
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At the other end of the spectrum was Hawaii's Haleakala National Park, which Google considers a "hidden gem" thanks to its 4,8 rating but less than 1000 reviews on Google Maps.