June 13, 2008 13:10 ET

BCIT Researchers Celebrate Bike Month with 'Map with Wheels'

"Green" navigation software maps bike-routes and encourages secondary mode of transportation

BURNABY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - June 13, 2008) - For staff and students of the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT), commuting just got easier - by bike that is. Thanks to a team of five developers and project managers within BCIT's Technology Centre, online bike-route navigation software has been created to help the BCIT community share biking routes to and from the Burnaby Campus from various locations throughout the Lower Mainland. Titled Map with Wheels, the program is available as an application on Facebook and uses Google Maps.

"The project makes use of two powerful web sites that allow groups such as BCIT to use the system for their own use," says Joel Carter, one of three developers of Map with Wheels and a research analyst in the BCIT Technology Centre. "Facebook was chosen for its social networking characteristics to allow not only bikers to share routes but also hopefully make new acquaintances who share their passion for bike riding. Google Maps was chosen for its easy-to-use mapping functionality of the Lower Mainland for mapping out the actual routes. We glued these two together using custom software we developed in-house to create the final product."

Just in time for Bike Month, Map with Wheels was the brainchild of BCIT social scientist Ari Goelman in March, 2007. Over the next year, the project was developed into a grassroots program by Goelman, Clay Howey, Joel Carter, Stephen Makonin, and Ben Sayo. Map with Wheels allows cyclists to map their route, share these routes with the community, as well as group routes by destination directness, controlled crossings, route flatness, and traffic volume.

"I'm certain Map with Wheels will be useful to the BCIT community and promote biking as a means of transportation," adds Carter. "I am an occasional bike commuter and have already used the application to find new, interesting routes to try out."

To add the Map with Wheels application to your Facebook account simply enter Map with Wheels in the search tool bar. For further information on the BCIT Technology Centre, call 604-432-8761 or visit bcit.ca/appliedresearch/tc/.

Note: For photo opportunities or to interview Joseph Boyd, an avid user of the Map with Wheels software, please contact Stephen Makonin at 604-412-7527 or email Stephen_Makonin@bcit.ca.

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