If you’re a biker tackling new terrain, you can now get hold of elevation information via Google Maps while planning a ride, ensuring the difficulty level is just how you want it.
To bring up the data, simply select Directions top left and then click on the bicycle icon. Input the start and finish points of your ride and the inclines and declines will show in a graphical representation of the route, with height information offered in feet so you’ll know just how hard you’ll have to work (or not). If you think your pins won’t be able to handle the suggested journey, simply select another and see how that looks instead.
According to TechCrunch, elevation information for Maps is now available for locations in 14 countries: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Finland, the UK, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Sweden, and the US.
It seems the data shows up only when the route includes significant ups and downs, so no information is presented for relatively flat journeys. Also, the new feature currently only works for the desktop version of Maps, but at some point it’ll more than likely roll out for mobile, too.
Elevation data is, of course, nothing new for route-planning tools similar to Maps, with services like bicycle-based MapMyRide for some time offering such information for those creating new cycling routes.