Google Maps has its oddities too

29th September 2012

While we’re all jumping on the band wagon of pointing out that iOS6 Maps having bad maps (it does by the way, truly awful maps), let’s not forget that no body is perfect…

Not the first issue that I’ve found on Google Maps, let’s not forget what I found on a TomTom satnav a while back, Google AND Apple were based on Telemaps which meant that the same issue crept onto Google Maps too.  Thankfully, TomTom got in touch on that occasion and fixed the issue quickly.

TomTom Respond

14th July 2011

We were not impressed when we found this sign.

We were not impressed when we found this sign.

Remember this photo that I took? Well after receiving over a thousand hits on Flickr I received a comment posted by TomTom themselves stating that after seeing the photo, which I geotagged on Flickr to show where it was taken, they have now corrected the route along with some cheeky/light hearted advice on how people can submit changes to be made on their mapping service.

Hi Andy – we spotted your photo on FlickR, and wanted to let you know that we have corrected this on our maps, and it will be available in new map releases. Thanks for bringing it to our attention! It’s worth adding, that we always appreciate feedback from our users, and the more conventional (!) route for logging map errors is through this link: mapinsight.teleatlas.com/mapfeedback/index.php Come and see us on www.facebook.com/TomTom ;-)

You may also recall that I showed that Google Maps displayed the same error while Yahoo Maps did not. Well it turns out that Google receives its data from TeleAtlas, which as it would happen, is owned by TomTom. Therefore I expect the same correction that TomTom has made will appear on Google Maps thus helping not just owners of TomTom devices but also those using GPS devices that rely on Google Maps.

It’s good to know that TomTom provide a system for feedback and I’m sure I may well submit more corrections in the future.

This post has not yet been checked for grammer, spelling or rambling nonsense.

We were not impressed when we found this sign.

We were not impressed when we found this sign.

I have been lucky enough to be given the week off to spend time with my daughter, the first part of this little holiday though, is the road trip to go and collect her.

Now in the past, people have often said “make sure you call me when you get there” so that they know you arrive safely at a destination after a long journey. Some even go as far as wanting regular updates during your journey to know how that you haven’t died in a horrific traffic collision on route. And of course there’s the age old question, “did you find your way ok?” No longer must I endure tedious conversations, bring in the TomTom, the iPhone and my good friend, Web 2.0!

Having been a user of 4Square in the past, I have abanded it for Facebook’s own “Places.” With this, we checked our selves in at every service station we stopped at to show how far we had come. The Facebook App on my iPhone simply checked the GPS to see where I was and came up asking if I wanted to check in at the service station I was at. Within minutes, a flurry of messages come in from people wanting to know where I’m going. My facebook “friends” now all know that I’m away for the week and so not to try and find me, beautiful. Can you tell I’m not the social type yet? How interesting that I use social media as a tool to be anti-social.

Our TomTom was happily guiding us to our destination in Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire when it took us off the main roads and onto some little country roads. Though happy for the scenic interlude we were not so happy when we were taken down a little dirt track and encountered the sign picture above. A quick photo was taken and uploaded to Facebook where the joys of Schadenfreude (Happiness at the misfortune of others) took over, a “love it” appeared from my brother along with a few more comments.

Google vs Yahoo Maps showing error on route.

Google vs Yahoo Maps showing error on route.

Interestingly, Google Maps agreed with our TomTom about the route however a check with Yahoo showed the dead end that the sign referred to. We added a route correction to TomTom to be uploaded to their server though I’m sure people have reported the error before and we were still sent down this route.

Finally we arrived in town and discovered that we would be waiting for an hour or two before being able to pick up the monster her self. We decided to stop in a café where we ordered pizza, with a check in at the café, people could see that we’d arrived in town safely. After waiting an while for our pizza, we realised a new problem, the waitress had no idea which tables to take food to and so was wandering around each table asking if they had ordered a margarita pizza. If anyone said yes, they got our pizza, she never came to us first. Eventually I decided to open up Google Latitude on my phone. This app shares my current location with my select friends all the time, it also lets me know them know how long I’ve been at a given location. According to Latitude, we had been in the café for a full 58 minutes when our food arrived. We ate and I left the image below on our table upon leaving.

Drawing left in Café

A little message I left after watching my pizza delivered to the wrong table at the Bellview Café.

A lot of the technologies in social media and smart phones are welcomed with a view of “would anyone actually use it?” or “what’s the point?” Well I believe all these little things add to a larger conversation, they may not be necessity but if you think about the last conversation you had with someone, consider how much of what was said was actually necessary and how short and dull the conversation would have been without them. It was Douglas Adams who noted with his character Ford Prefect that humans really do speak a lot of stuff that there is no reason that needs to be said. Our technology is adding to that conversation now, while we’re talking less with our voices, we do seem completely incapable of shutting up.