Google Maps adding wheelchair-accessible routes for bus and train journeys

  • Wheelchair accessible filter added to Google Maps for public transit navigation.
  • Feature rolling out now for five major global cities: Boston, London, Tokyo, Sydney, and Mexico City.
  • Wider rollout expected in the coming months.

Google Maps has added a navigation filter for buses and trains that identifies the best route for users with mobility needs. “Wheelchair accessible” routes are now rolling out to five metropolitan cities with major transit links from around the world: Boston, London, Tokyo, Sydney, and Mexico City.

As the name suggests, the feature is intended to help people who use wheelchairs, but Google is also aware that anyone with mobility issues – as well as families with baby strollers – could benefit from the wheelchair-friendly routes.

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To activate the feature, all you have to do is head to Google Maps (on mobile or desktop) and input directions for public transport like you normally would.

Then, before selecting a route hit the “Options” menu and change the tick to “Wheelchair accessible” under the preferred route column.

Once that’s done, Maps will then show the best possible route while taking into account the availability of mobility aids such as wheelchair accessible stops, platforms, entrances, and exits at transit stations.

Google explained in a blog post that much of the data was gathered as part of its Local Guides program. Over 12 million places have been assessed by Local Guides over the course of 200 global meet-ups late last year.

It’s likely that the volume of accessibility-related data will continue to increase as more Local Guide answers are taken into consideration. Google also notes that it has updated Street View imagery of city centers and transit stations to give users an up-to-date preview of the area ahead of time.

While there’s no exact road plan for a wider rollout, Google said that it is hoping to join forces with more transit companies to add wheelchair accessible routes in more cities around the world in the “coming months”.

Google Maps API lets game developers build real-world video games

Google Maps has a huge amount of information that can be useful to anyone in the world. For navigational purposes, it’s obviously the go-to, but there are also many other potential benefits. Google Maps supplies a worldwide updated map and many places can be viewed at street-level via Google Street View. Games that utilize real-world navigational data like Pokemon Go and Ingress rely on Google Maps data. Even just for the curiosity to view anywhere in the world like you’re there, it’s a priceless resource. Google is implementing an API to allow game developers to build games with data from Google Maps to be available to developers.

google maps games

Not only is Google opening up its real-time Google Maps data, but it is also providing a Unity Software Development Kit (SDK) to make it easier to incorporate Google Map’s data into any game. Users can simply design worlds with data obtained from Google themselves, based entirely on real-life structures. You can then use this data to create a world for your game to take place in, and in the case of Unity, assign textures and designs depending on what the object is. Google will be working with developers to ensure that they can find the best places to situate their games. Google released a promotional video with the announcement, which you can check out below.

There is a huge amount of potential here. With Unity being cross-platform we may see games on Android with capabilities to rival even the likes of Pokemon Go and Ingress. With no limits on what data from Google Maps you can access, you can use famous landmarks across the globe as the centerpiece for your video game. There are no limits, and you can rely on Google to provide accurate, real-time information consistently.

Source: Google Maps Blog

AR game developers can now use Google Maps APIs

  • Game developers can now use Google Maps APIs to design their augmented reality games.
  • Google has integrated the Unity game engine into Google Maps, making it incredibly easy for developers to create AR games.
  • Developers will be able to test out the new system at the Game Developer Conference in San Francisco next week.

Augmented reality games like Pokémon GO have been incredibly successful, and new AR games like Ghostbusters World and Jurassic World Alive are poised to be huge. But developing the games is tricky because you have to understand the real-world physical environments around your players, no matter where they might be on the planet.

That’s why Google is now offering AR game developers access to Google Maps APIs. Using Maps’ real-time updates and rich location data, developers can focus more on making their games awesome rather than worrying about designing interactions with real-world environments.

google maps unity game engine Google

To make things even easier, Google mixed the Maps API with the Unity game engine. Buildings, roads, parks, and other real-world objects are turned into GameObjects in Unity automatically, so developers only have to worry about texturizing and designing those objects to fit their game’s universe.

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The two AR games mentioned earlier in this article utilized Google Maps APIs in the development process. Han Sung Gin, CEO of 4:33, which developed Ghostbusters World, said, “Building game interactions around real-world places at global scale and finding places that are relevant to users and fun to play is challenging. Google Maps APIs helped us incorporate the real-world, user relevant locations into our game. Users from all over the world can experience the Ghostbusters virtual world through our game, leveraging Google’s location data.”

Google will present a demo of the new Google Maps Unity engine at the Game Developer Conference in San Francisco next week if you care to give it a test.

Let’s-a go! Zip around as Mario using Google Maps

mario google maps Google

  • To celebrate Mario Day, Google Maps is changing its navigation system to show Mario riding around your route.
  • All you have to do is update to the latest version of the app and hit the question block before starting navigation.
  • The function will only be available for a week, so let’s-a go!

Today is March 10, which if you write as MAR10, kind of looks like Mario. That’s why March 10 is officially Mario Day!

As part of the celebration of everyone’s favorite Italian plumber (sorry, uncle Vinnie), Google Maps is temporarily changing the distinctive blue arrow in its navigation mode to an image of Mario in a racing kart.

To use Mario to navigate around Google Maps, first, you must make sure you’re on the latest version by updating the app in the Google Play Store. Start up a navigation route, and you’ll see a yellow question block (the kind Mario usually bashes with his skull) next to the blue Start button. Hit that yellow block, and you’ll see this screen:

mario google maps Google

Obviously, choose the “Let’s-a Go!” button. Unless you hate Mario and fun and joy — then you should hit “No Thanks” and just leave us all alone forever.

Once you hit the “Let’s-a Go!” button, the blue navigation arrow is replaced by this:

Pretty cool, right? Unfortunately, the Mario Kart navigation arrow will only be around for a week, so if you’ve been planning a cross-country road trip, now’s the time. That way you can be Mario on MAR10 Day for as long as possible.

If you actually do perform some sort of exciting route, Google encourages you to take a screenshot and share it with @GoogleMaps on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #MarioMaps. Just make sure you crop out any information that would divulge personal info, like your home or work address. Otherwise, it’s Game Over for you.

Here we go!

Nintendo celebrates MAR10 Day by bringing Mario Kart to Google Maps, Super Mario Run 50%-off

Tomorrow is March 10th and while that may not mean much to many of you, it’s better known to Nintendo fans as #MAR10Day (Mario Day, get it?). To kick off the festivities, Nintendo is doing a few fun things for Android users.

The first is a big discount on unlocking the full version of Super Mario Run via in-app purchase. The 50% discount is good from Mar 10th through March 25th, so if you were interested in the game but never got around to forking money over to unlock the game in its entirety — now’s your change.  Whether that gets you to finally pull the trigger on the game is up to you. Don’t forget, you can still try the game for free by giving it a download via the link below.

Download Super Mario Run on Google Play

The other bit of news is a bit more unexpected and little more interesting. Nintendo is teaming up with Google to bring a Mario Kart to Google Maps. No, you wont be throwing projectiles or collecting items, instead — for one week only — you’ll have the option to use Mario as a your avatar when navigating in Google Maps.

It’s nothing too huge, just a fun little Easter Egg of sorts. The Mario Kart themed navigation wont go live until tomorrow, so make sure to try it out (even if you already know where you’re going).

via Twitter