Microsoft Patents Directions That Help You Avoid Scary Neighborhoods

Microsoft has just received a patent for a new way to give you walking directions that take into account the many hardships you encounter while using your feet to get from place to place.

The newly patented system for "pedestrian route production" takes into account conditions that specifically affect your journey on foot. In particular, the system calls out obstacles like crime-ridden neighborhoods and harsh temperatures in big exposed areas. The system would presumably be added to Microsoft's existing walking directions feature on Bing Maps.

While some people are sure to grumble about why their neck of the woods has been deemed unsafe, it's nice that directions might start taking into account more qualitative information about the route they want you to take. If you're in an unknown part of town, it's reassuring to know where you are going. It's even better to know what you're walking into. [USPTO via GeekWire]