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Catching Satnav Errors On Google Street View

timothy posted about 4 years ago | from the now-wait-3-months-for-the-ferry dept.

Google 312

Barence writes "Most of the satnav companies allow users to report errors with their maps, but do they ever get fixed? PC Pro's Paul Ockenden uses Google StreetView to highlight glaring and dangerous flaws in Tele Atlas maps — which are used by TomTom and Google Maps itself — but the company has failed to respond to numerous reports of map errors posted over the course of several years. 'About half a mile from where I live, a Tele Atlas-based satnav will instruct you to turn off at a junction where there's only an on-ramp,' Ockenden reports. 'I've witnessed some confused and dangerous driving at this junction as people try to find the non-existent exit, so I wouldn't be surprised if major mapping errors like this are a danger to road safety.'"

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Data Posioning.... (5, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | about 4 years ago | (#32959626)

Drive Southbound on Route 3 in MA with a route in your GPS that has you headed South on I-495, and you'll be presented with three routes that tell you to get off Route 3 well before I-495 despite the fact there's a perfectly good direct ramp there.

How'd this happen? Your GPS is pre-programmed with the "fact" that that offramp is constantly backed up and therefore you should seek alternate routes. However, that's absolutely not true. How'd this mistaken info get there? Residents of the area intentionally caused traffic disruptions on the days years ago when GPS mapping companies were in the area so that people would be routed further away from their homes. The trick worked, and the mistaken info remains on the maps.

There's got to be a better way to confirm the existence or non-existence of such must-avoid intersections.

Re:Data Posioning.... (4, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#32959658)

There's got to be a better way to confirm the existence or non-existence of such must-avoid intersections.

Live traffic data I suppose. Traffic signals will calculate degree of saturation from dwell times on induction loop vehicle detectors. In most systems that data is passed up the chain to the software which does strategic traffic management. I have been out of the area for a while but I assume the live data is extracted at this point and aggregated into these live traffic data sets.

Re:Data Posioning.... (2, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | about 4 years ago | (#32959680)

Yep. Live traffic senors would solve the puzzle... but they're just not there yet.

Re:Data Posioning.... (5, Interesting)

camperdave (969942) | about 4 years ago | (#32959838)

My dad will, when making a left turn on a particular red light, hang back about half a dozen car lengths back from the intersection. This tricks the system into thinking that there's a large lineup of cars in the left turn lane, which activates the advanced green. He then can make his left hand turn on his own private advanced green.

Re:Data Posioning.... (3, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#32959944)

Just look for the loop cut into the road. As you say typically two or three car lengths back but you don't have to guess. Its a sawcut filled with polymer filler. Implementations I have seen will assume a queue exists if that loop is triggered for three seconds so stopping for a count of five should be enough.

Re:Data Posioning.... (2, Interesting)

simcop2387 (703011) | about 4 years ago | (#32960170)

You can't always count on seeing the loop in every area. By me they put them in the ground before they lay the asphalt so that they can save on costs. But the problem with that method is that not all of the loops are exactly where they should be.

Re:Data Posioning.... (2, Funny)

Hylandr (813770) | about 4 years ago | (#32960230)

In some bad areas there's no sensor in the road. Presumably because the crack-heads keep tearing up the copper. BUT, if you send some brave soul out to hit the button on the crosswalk it will trigger.

The trick is getting the white boy back in the car in one piece and not miss the light...

- Dan.

Re:Data Posioning.... (3, Interesting)

meerling (1487879) | about 4 years ago | (#32960156)

I know an intersection where the sensor is right behind the stop line. Lots of idiots stop 1 or 2 car lengths behind the line, and don't understand why the light never changes. There have been several times I had to get out, walk up to them and point out the sensor in the road. Most of them get the hint, but a couple times I had to tell them that if their car isn't on that diamond (some of them here are diamond shapes, not circles) the light will never trigger.

Re:Data Posioning.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32959732)

Sounds like a good reason to make sure Route 3 has an easy way onto the I-495, and for the "blocked" route to be closed down, as nobody is using it there's no point putting the money into it.

Re:Data Posioning.... (2, Funny)

mysidia (191772) | about 4 years ago | (#32959782)

There's some logic to that.... if the GPS and mapping is in error, alter reality, so the GPS is accurate.

It is probably cheaper than fixing all those maps.

Google Map is choke full of errors (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32959736)

But I do like the pretty pictures. Google is interesting in that they have already changed the world in 2-3 ways. Without even killing anyone!

-- Nigger Master

Re:Data Posioning.... (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 4 years ago | (#32959872)

That is freaking awesome and I'm all for it.

Good for the citizens of the community ( DC ? too lazy to remember where 495 is up there). Thats actually probably better for traffic all around as it distributes the load, though they could have just screwed themselves worse by causing more congestion elsewhere.

Thats freaking awesome though, its like Human OSPF for the superhighway.

Re:Data Posioning.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32959898)

Oh, sorry, I thought I'd navigated to because Google Reader directed me here and told me there was something interesting and perhaps slightly urbane... but the beautiful green panorama of discussion on offer would seem to suggest otherwise. That'll teach me to trust software over senses.

Re:Data Posioning.... (1)

JxcelDolghmQ (1827432) | about 4 years ago | (#32959906)

Further confirming why they're called Massholes.

Re:Data Posioning.... (5, Insightful)

Hays (409837) | about 4 years ago | (#32959908)

I find your claim a somewhat incredible. How did they know when these companies were coming? And then how did they cause traffic disruptions? Did the residents take turns parking on the road for hours on end? Did they fake car accidents? That seems like an awful lot of trouble to go through, with considerable risk of police intervention, just to reduce tourist traffic on a nearby highway. What is your source for this information?

Re:Data Posioning.... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32959982)

I know you were being sarcastic, but just for shits I looked it up and Teleatlas has an office in Concord, MA.

Concord Office
150 Baker Ave Ext
Concord, MA 01742

There's only one explanation: Sabotage!

Skewing the traffic data to make the commute to/from work faster.

Hell, I'd do it.

Re:Data Posioning.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32959962)

Is there a crowd sourcing method we could connect to?

Re:Data Posioning.... (1)

_xeno_ (155264) | about 4 years ago | (#32960190)

OK, assuming you're talking about what I think you're talking about, your GPS is probably giving you good directions, even if it doesn't seem like it is.

Something like this [] , I think? Note how much you cut out of your route by cutting that corner. It's generally best to get off of Route 3 at the Drumhill Clusterfuck and head south on Route 4, since you cut out a large chunk of distance. With even moderate traffic on Route 3 or 495, this is your best route.

Google Maps times the two routes (route 3-S to 495-S versus 3-S to 4-S to 495-S) as both taking around five minutes. Speaking as someone who grew up in the area, you're still, generally speaking, best off taking route 4. Somewhat less so with the, uh, "improvements" to Drumhill Circle, but still better off.

Re:Data Posioning.... (1)

cgenman (325138) | about 4 years ago | (#32960208)

There is a road by my house that my GPS will route people 20 minutes around to avoid. The road is about 30 feet long. Even if it was backed up all of the way, it's still only one light's worth of cars.

I can't wait for the realtime data uploading from cars to GPS databases that phone-based GPS allows. Imagine not just traffic reports, but traffic predictions based upon time of day, day of week, month of year, and ambient other traffic in the area. "There is a high correlation between traffic in the area of Fenway Park and traffic on I-93. We only have 1 driver on I-93 right now, but it's probably totally backed up."

And you could flag areas where drivers don't behave as expected... for example not taking intersections that should be, or consistently driving slower than the stated limit, etc, then manually check these for errors. You could automatically tune time estimates and route selection parameters based upon the particular area / city.

Re:Data Posioning.... (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about 4 years ago | (#32960260)

Google Maps says the route from Nashua NH to Hudson MA goes straight to the 3/495 interchange...

Re:Data Posioning.... (1)

DavidD_CA (750156) | about 4 years ago | (#32960288)

This reminds me of a scene from some movie where students at a high school wanted to create a traffic jam in front of their school.

So about 100 of them started walking in a long line in front of their school, to the building across the street, which had a service tunnel back to the school, and looped ad infinum.

Incoming sopssa/SquarePixel trolling in 3,2,1 ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32959636)

Sopssa = SquarePixel = fucking worthless troll. Remember it moderators!

Peace out!

Re:Incoming sopssa/SquarePixel trolling in 3,2,1 . (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32959746)

Sopssa is a tea-smoking cockbagger.

User maps... (3, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | about 4 years ago | (#32959640)

The original GPS maps were confirmed by Google-like driving of every road in the nation with a GPS enabled vehicle that recorded where it was and the fact that there was in fact a road there. Now, with the ability to build 2-way communication GPSes, why can't maps be generated by "I didn't know there was a road there... what's the name of the road you used there?" interactions that upload the results to a central server? This would be a great way to map the private roads many people use to connect from the public street to an office or mall.

Re:User maps... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#32959678)

This is how open street map build many of their maps, but its not automatic. If you are off the road you don't want the system to assume there is a road there.

Re:User maps... (5, Informative)

amaiman (103647) | about 4 years ago | (#32959716)

Apps that do just that are starting to appear...Check out Waze [] if you haven't seen it yet. They've built entire country maps from scratch with their client (they started with a base map first in the U.S.)

Re:User maps... (1)

DavidRawling (864446) | about 4 years ago | (#32959730)

Sounds like you want Waze [] . Community generated maps, editable online with your web browser (so you can correct wayward GPS tracks). Points system for ranking your contributions and generating interest. Manual reporting of speed traps, hazards etc, and automatic alerting when you're on a road and just travelling too slowly.

Re:User maps... (4, Interesting)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | about 4 years ago | (#32959842)

Thats how Navtaq got their data. Google used to use Navteq, which for where I lived provided very accurate and up to date data. Ever since they switched to Teleatlas, it was a step backwards. The maps are outdated (changes from 2-3 years ago aren't present), and there are glaring errors everywhere. Mind you, I live in an area that hasn't changed much in the past 20 years, these errors shouldn't be there to begin with.

Then there are the routing errors. There is an intersection around the corner from me that Google thinks one can't make a left turn at (you can). So Google routes you straight through the intersection, makes the first possible u-turn, then back tracks to the intersection to turn right.... yeah... really.

Sadly, the only nice thing about switching to Teleatlas is that it added block numbering to the maps which is handy in urban areas. It also added TOO MUCH information, like obscure/outdated names for parkland, and internal reference numbers for roadways maintained by the state (ex: the Garden State Parkway is known internally by the state as Route 444, it is not posted on the highway itself). All this added information just leads to driver confusion as its really not relevant for navigation purposes

Re:User maps... (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 4 years ago | (#32960256)

Thats how Navtaq got their data. Google used to use Navteq, which for where I lived provided very accurate and up to date data. Ever since they switched to Teleatlas, it was a step backwards. The maps are outdated (changes from 2-3 years ago aren't present), and there are glaring errors everywhere. Mind you, I live in an area that hasn't changed much in the past 20 years, these errors shouldn't be there to begin with.

Google used to use Navteq, but they switched to TeleAtlas because Nokia was cheaper (Nokia owns TeleAtlas, I can't remember who owns NavTeq - TomTom?).

Then Google realized that it can kill about 10 birds with one stone while doing its street View stuff. Google's been generating its own map data (it uses its own for much of North America) while its on Street View patrol. At the same time, it captures access point MACs so you can do WiFi based location. And it captures Street View imagery.

There was a switchover last year that caused no end of hilarity as all of a sudden, Google's maps were just... awful and full of errors. Turns out the Street View folks managed to make a few typos and such when doing the mapping. It was so bad people were temporarily using Bing maps (which was using Navteq data) in order to get around.

Re:User maps... (2, Interesting)

IntlHarvester (11985) | about 4 years ago | (#32960342)

There were obviously using some old public domain data, because a bunch of highways appeared that haven't actually existed for decades.

Swing and a miss... (4, Funny)

LostCluster (625375) | about 4 years ago | (#32959664)

A great new ice cream place opened up a few years ago on the far side of a field that's behind the neighbor's houses that I can see out my window. Now, here's the problem... Google Maps keeps putting the restaurant icon on the wrong side of the field, leading people who are looking for the ice cream place to drive up my residential street looking lost. Plot the icon on the satellite map, and you'd think it's a shed behind a house... nope that's not right.

Re:Swing and a miss... (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 4 years ago | (#32959800)

Sounds like you need to get a sign posted on your street pointing seekers of the ice cream shoppe in the er right direction :)

Re:Swing and a miss... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32959840)

Or start an ice cream shop wherever Google says there is one.

Re:Swing and a miss... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32959832)

A penguin's car breaks down and he gets a tow to the nearest service station. The mechanic says he'll take a look and to check back in about an hour.

Using Google Maps, the penguin quickly located a nearby ice cream parlor. Everybody knows that penguins just love ice cream. After an exhaustive search due to incorrect navigation, he was finally able to find the shop, which turned out to be right across the street. The penguin had just enough time for an ice cream cone before checking back with the mechanic.

Upon returning, the mechanic stated, "Well, it looks like you blew a seal."

And the penguin responded, "No, that's just a little ice cream."

Re:Swing and a miss... (1)

Telecommando (513768) | about 4 years ago | (#32959852)

I live a block off a divided 4-lane road... according to Google, Garmin, Magellan and TomTom. It's not. If you try to navigate to my house they tell you to drive several blocks past my place, make a U-turn and come back on the other side. And if you actually try to follow those GPS instructions, you come to intersections that are clearly marked 'No U Turns'. Brilliant!

But for over ten years, Google, MS and Delorme all listed a street two blocks to the East of me as 'PUD Drive'. Some published maps did as well. The street didn't even exist until just a couple of years ago. It was on the city plan as 'Planned Urban Development', abbreviated P.U.D.

Re:Swing and a miss... (1)

timon (46050) | about 4 years ago | (#32959948)

Same thing here. I live in Southern NH and most of the business addresses along the NH routes in my town are misplaced on Google Maps et al. Most are placed several miles north into a residential area in the next town because the maps cannot handle addresses like '123 NH Route 10 S' and the ones on the east-west are often marked on the wrong side of a junction. This is even after Google Streetview made its way out here and includes easy landmarks like the Post Office. My house has the same street address as one in a town across the state line and we've had very confused travelers, sales calls and even a prom-night limousine show up here because a car GPS unit picked the wrong one, even after putting in town & state - Google Maps always makes me select the correct *county* before giving me directions.

Give up on these jokers (4, Informative)

F1re (249002) | about 4 years ago | (#32959674)

And make your own maps with open street map []

Re:Give up on these jokers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32959734)

Yes, because that's much more accurate...

Re:Give up on these jokers (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 4 years ago | (#32959816)

Open street map on my openmoko is very accurate.

Re:Give up on these jokers (1)

F1re (249002) | about 4 years ago | (#32959850)

Open street map [] near my place is much more accurate than Google Maps. Mr Google has imagined many streets that don't exist. I know because I have been and looked...

Re:Give up on these jokers (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32959854)

Actually, it is. My city (Brisbane) has awesome detail now, and it's trivial to fix or add something. Most of it was the work of a few dedicated mappers.

Of course, if your area is not covered by OSM and you can't be bothered to try and improve it... then you've nobody to blame but yourself.

Re:Give up on these jokers (1)

Albanach (527650) | about 4 years ago | (#32959788)

Typically I'm looking for a map because I've never been there before, hence making your own map in advance can be problematic.

Not playing down the benefits of making maps and having them available to others, just pointing out that making your own may have slightly less value.

Re:Give up on these jokers (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about 4 years ago | (#32959940)

Chances are someone has already been there. There is very little that hasnt already been mapped to good detail.

Re:Give up on these jokers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32959896)

Yup and then pay these jokers [] to get access.

OSM was great, then they took down their WMS servers. Now if you want access to the maps you have to either download the whole thing (160GB [] uncompressed, plus 10MB/day for updates) or pay someone who has a WMS service for it.

But go ahead, I'm sure it'll work real well for them if everyone currently using TeleAtlas suddenly decides they want a local copy of OSM (Note: they don't even have a recent Torrent [] for it).

Re:Give up on these jokers (2, Interesting)

BitZtream (692029) | about 4 years ago | (#32959912)


Yea, cause OSM is better than ... well no other data source actually.

OSM data fucking sucks, sorry to burst your bubble. The fact that it was based on data from the fed makes you think it should be somewhat accurate, but the data it uses is old and ridiculously inaccurate and its simply not popular enough to be updated by enough people to have all the bad imported data corrected.

Give it 10 more years, and get some tools for OSM that bring it to the mainstream, OR get Google to switch to it so they devote their mapping data to it and it'll matter.

I'm ALL for it as I've been wanting to use the OSM data for mapping in my own software but its just far too inaccurate and incomplete to be useful.

Tele-atlas and the others use the same data, but pay more people than OSM has contributors to fix their maps and add missing data like one ways, lane counts, speeds and all the other stuffs.

OSM will be a toy until someone like Google or Apple jumps to it after someone like Tele-atlas or navteq tries to rip them off.

I do encourage everyone to contribute corrections to OSM though! The more the marrier!.

Re:Give up on these jokers (1)

Psaakyrn (838406) | about 4 years ago | (#32960040)

How long before Google buys out or partners/supports open street map?

Re:Give up on these jokers (2, Informative)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | about 4 years ago | (#32960058)

This really can't be stressed enough. For my area (Philadelphia) Open Street Map seems rather flawless for roads, and is way better than the other maps for things like bike trails, rails, streams, etc. If you enjoy hiking/biking and google maps doesn't cut it, give open street map a try.

Re:Give up on these jokers (1)

ben_kelley (234423) | about 4 years ago | (#32960188)

Amen brother.

OSM -> Satnav -> Find nav error -> Fix in OSM -> OSM -> Satnav

Spy satellites for the masses (3, Insightful)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | about 4 years ago | (#32959690)

That's why I always like to use the satellite photos on Google Maps, to make sure that access roads on the map are actually there. Streetview helps too, especially since the map doesn't indicate whether an intersection with a major road has a full traffic light, or if I'll be stuck on a dinky little road trying to turn onto a six-lane highway with my view blocked by overgrown bushes.

Re:Spy satellites for the masses (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 4 years ago | (#32959784)

Which makes one wonder if the Street view cars are building a new set of street maps?

Re:Spy satellites for the masses (4, Interesting)

BitZtream (692029) | about 4 years ago | (#32959920)

They certainly use it to update their own maps. The line for my street rain through my back yard before we got streetview (probably 200 yards south of where it was supposed to be), now its right on top of the asphalt where it belongs.

I would bet their updating their one-ways and lane assignments (turn only/HOV/ect) as well.

Re:Spy satellites for the masses (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about 4 years ago | (#32959956)

More than likely. Google has the data, and if they update street view every couple of years, they will get repeated improved data.

Re:Spy satellites for the masses (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 4 years ago | (#32960016)

While there certainly are errors in the maps, recently I have been driving and having me guided by a TomTom system, and it worked great. Maybe they didn't give me the super-optimal route, but it guided me very will right through Hamburg straight to the motorway.

Without a system like TomTom I would likely have either gotten lost trying that route, or would have opted for an easier to find but much longer (20-30 km kind of longer) detour.

It also guided me straight to where I had to be, in both industrial and residential areas. Sometimes a little confusing (but then intersections can be confusing by design, or when they are really close together spoken instructions also don't go all too well). Just the final house number was sometimes not at the exact right spot... it got me to the neighbours instead.

Of course when driving using satnav you have to keep your eyes on the road, and keep looking whether the suggestions are actually possible. It actually allowed me to much more concentrate on the road and the traffic than when we would have been using maps and I would have to look at the direction signs on the road while driving, instead of just listening to the tomtom for where to go.

So for me I found it overall a plus for road safety, even though admittedly there are errors, but no map is perfect anyway.

Re:Spy satellites for the masses (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 4 years ago | (#32960214)

It's indeed a good idea to check google street view first... you wouldn't want to accidentally run into a local quantum singularity [] , a giant bug, or fire []

Non-issue (4, Funny)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 4 years ago | (#32959694)

'About half a mile from where I live, a Tele Atlas-based satnav will instruct you to turn off at a junction where there's only an on-ramp,'

FYI: That moderately sloped grassy area along most on-ramps is commonly known as an "alternate off ramp".

Re:Non-issue (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 4 years ago | (#32959894)

Hey buddy, what model Jeep you got?

Ah, Android Navigation (1)

MichaelJ (140077) | about 4 years ago | (#32959712)

Today Google was directing me onto New Hamsphire Route 3. My Droid had fun pronouncing that one. Okay, it's not as interesting a mistake as a road that should, or shouldn't be there. In that regard, I found that for a long time, Google wouldn't stay on Route 2 outside 495 in Massachusetts. It would take you off the highway in Ayer, and put you right back on in Shirley. But it couldn't be convinced of the continuity of the road.

Re:Ah, Android Navigation (3, Interesting)

Telecommando (513768) | about 4 years ago | (#32959952)

Back when I used Delorme Street Atlas to navigate (Version 5 at the time, I think) it once told me to take a sharp right down a boat ramp and drive across the Mississippi to the other side. Fortunately it was daylight when it happened; I wondered at the time what might have happened if it was nighttime and foggy.

Street Atlas for years had a bad habit of directing me in rural areas to take abandoned (or dismantled) bridges and Level 3 service roads (think cow path with less maintenance.) I don't know if it ever got better or even if it's still around, I gave up on it some years back.

Re:Ah, Android Navigation (1)

pslytely psycho (1699190) | about 4 years ago | (#32960076)

Yea, Delorme is still around. I've been using the 2008 version in my semi for a couple of years now. I find it to be around 98% accurate. It's not a truck router obviously, but, I don't let the computer drive the truck. I drive the truck and I make the decisions so during the times it is wrong I don't blindly follow it's advice.

The problem with all gps systems is too many drivers allow the machine to do their thinking for them. Of course too many drivers don't drive to begin with, but, rather only point their vehicles and hope for the best while texting, talking, and drinking their starbucks.

Re:Ah, Android Navigation (2, Interesting)

Nemyst (1383049) | about 4 years ago | (#32960102)

Our TomTom GPS has had a few quirks sometimes. It'd drive us through half the country when there was in fact a perfectly practicable road right besides. It also happened that sometimes it would use an obviously pedestrian road for its plotting, leading to the car getting stuck in increasingly tight streets until it couldn't fit. There was also that one instance where it systematically wanted to use that one road that was one-way (the wrong way, obviously) and we had to drive for a good time to make it plot an alternate route (which also went through a one-way, we had to repeat that procedure twice).

Good times.

Re:Ah, Android Navigation (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 4 years ago | (#32960210)

In Kentucky, Tom Tom told us to cut through some farm roads to get to another highway. We figures it saved us about 90 minutes.

Re:Ah, Android Navigation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32960394)

In Kentucky, Google Maps show Halls Restaurant (by the river, near Winchester), being about a mile away from its StreetView-verified location.

I can send you the email from Google, verifying they noted I was correct, and had updated the map appropriately.

Fdisking liars have not.

Dangerous? no... (1)

Quent (981778) | about 4 years ago | (#32959720)

I've seen an occurrence of Google maps telling me to take a 90 degree turn and jump off a bridge, I found it rather disturbing :/ Another good argument to stick to your spatial/navigation intuition and common sense in order to get your way through and stay alive a little bit longer...

Some companies have been using a buzz button to report speed cameras, why not something that simple to just report any kind of problem (when you're driving and trying to find another route, you surely don't feel like writing a nice feedback form at the same time.)

drive off a bridge (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32959722)

When google maps first came to australia, i decided to have a look at the route from my wife's (then gf) house to my house. It mapped out a route that instructed me to drive off a bridge into a street below the bridge as the "shortest" route.

In subsequent versions of that map it was corrected.

Re:drive off a bridge (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32960046)

Stop whining. They were correct, weren't they? Aussies - buncha pussies.

There are these things called maps... (2, Insightful)

stevegee58 (1179505) | about 4 years ago | (#32959738)

...You know. Those colorful paper diagrams your parents used?

Maybe y'all should learn to use them instead of driving into people's houses just because the GPS said "turn right".

Is it really so difficult... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32959770) figure out where you need to go, look at a map, and determine how to get there on your own? I've driven 2000 miles before with nothing more than a list of interstates.

Re:Is it really so difficult... (4, Informative)

pelrun (25021) | about 4 years ago | (#32959886)

Long distance travel is pretty easy; there is ample signage and you rarely have to make more than a few direction decisions along the way. It's dense urban routefinding that's the problem - you can potentially have to remember an incredible serpentine route with a turn every twenty seconds, all sorts of special-case turn restrictions, and no signs pointing the way to the specific place you're headed to.

My street doesn't exist (1)

hoggoth (414195) | about 4 years ago | (#32959772)

My street has a make believe name in Google Maps and on my Tom-Tom. The next street over has my street's actual name. The real name of the next street over doesn't appear anywhere.

I've submitted corrections to Google and to Tom-Tom several times over the last couple of years to no avail.
I used to be Pizza guys and Fedex knew the area. Now they all rely on GPS and I get 'couldn't be delivered' notes in my mailbox. Which is on my street. The one no-one else can find.

Re:My street doesn't exist (1)

tagno25 (1518033) | about 4 years ago | (#32959812)

When reporting to Google be clear an concise. Also it helps to chose to be notified about the error when you report it.

Re:My street doesn't exist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32959946)

It also helps tremendously to have low expectations.

Re:My street doesn't exist (1)

snooo53 (663796) | about 4 years ago | (#32960370)

As with many things in life! Especially when dealing with a mega-corp

Re:My street doesn't exist (1)

ryanov (193048) | about 4 years ago | (#32960396)

I've gotten a road fixed. Took maybe 6 months.

Re:My street doesn't exist (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 4 years ago | (#32960242)

Navigation Technologies (NAVTEQ) was great at fixing a street by my house where a g was accidentally replaced by a q in their map (and Tom Tom and MapQuest). I reported it and signed my name and they actually looked up my phone number and called me. I was surprised to get a call from them, but they were on top of it and it's changed now.

Next step for innovation (4, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | about 4 years ago | (#32959776)

This is why I have no sympathy for the GPS companies, like TomTom who is currently has the banner ad on the page I am writing. For years they made good money selling GPS navigation units. They made huge amounts of money by selling map cds. Predictably, when hardware became cheaper and the technology became commoditized, they were essentially made irrelevant by competition making all in one devices. So now they offer updates for free and celebrity voices. What innovation.

Here is what i would like to see. More options in planning trips. What is the safest route that avoids, for instance, single lane mountain roads or highways with no median. Or how can I get from a to b without going through neighborhoods. Google lets you change your path, but you must know what the conditions are like before hand. This would be very expensive to implement, but would differentiate better than celebrity voices.

There is also a next step for creative companies.

head-on wrecks, as directed by maps! (1)

linuxiac (1831824) | about 4 years ago | (#32959786)

Have seen several directions to use alleys, that are closed with barricades, or to turn left into oncoming traffic! I reported, they ignored! I can't wait for the new vehicles that will be automatic navigated machines, to take over the roads, and try to follow all these screwed up directions!

First rule of GPS Navigation (1)

tokyoahead (743189) | about 4 years ago | (#32959808)

Look out of the Window. But maybe if people trash their car it's the best way to teach them that not everything on the internet is true?

No real danger to road safety that I can see... (4, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | about 4 years ago | (#32959818)

Because cars are not driven by computer, any driver that is remotely conscious of his surroundings would be able to spot the difficulty with trying to utilize paths that are clearly not intended for anyone to utilize.

And any driver who is liable to cause an accident because of this sort of thing is likely already a public menace for driving without due care and attention in the first place, so I do not think that this creates any significantly additional opportunity for traffic accidents beyond what already exists.

Re:No real danger to road safety that I can see... (1)

0123456 (636235) | about 4 years ago | (#32960104)

Because cars are not driven by computer, any driver that is remotely conscious of his surroundings would be able to spot the difficulty with trying to utilize paths that are clearly not intended for anyone to utilize.

But people who don't know what they're doing are probably the most likely to rely on a sat-nav and not question it when it tells them to do something stupid.

Re:No real danger to road safety that I can see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32960154)

There's a specific spot on the 10 freeway where people's GPS will tell them to merge left, and you'll see 1-10 cars depending on traffic all move at once in the exact location, same place all day and all night long.

Re:No real danger to road safety that I can see... (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 4 years ago | (#32960354)

Is that a particularly stupid place to actually merge, and only an idiot wouldn't wait a little while?

If not, then how is that at all relevant?

Re:No real danger to road safety that I can see... (1)

Zuriel (1760072) | about 4 years ago | (#32960344)

Sadly, drivers are human and prone to becoming confused and doing stupid things when they receive contradictory information. Like their GPS saying turn right and a sign saying no right turn. The sensible thing to do would be to find somewhere safe to pull over and consult the GPS's maps, but humans will do things like start to turn, try to straighten up and drive into an oncoming semi.

crowsourcered (3, Interesting)

cellurl (906920) | about 4 years ago | (#32959874)

TomTom looks at you as a dangerous crowsource-er.
Google has highly credible drivers and TomTom has uhhh me...

Thats why I want to build a site called lets say, "streetcred", showing who the heck I am.

Then all my online contributions will be measured for correctness...

Shamless plug.
Add speed limits in your area project. []

BTW, you can only use Google-Street-view N times per day. They know people like you want to "mine" their data
(Lincoln MA Gear Ticks use Google Street View to mine data) [] and they throttle such activity! Too bad....

Four Million Miles of Roads (1)

westlake (615356) | about 4 years ago | (#32959938)

There are 4 million miles of public road in the US.

If you submit an error in the mapping system it has to be confirmed - your complaint simply can't be taken at face value - otherwise you will have cranks, hackers and hoaxers transforming the mapping system into Carmageddon.

Re:Four Million Miles of Roads (2, Insightful)

grantek (979387) | about 4 years ago | (#32960062)

If you submit an error in the mapping system it has to be confirmed - your complaint simply can't be taken at face value

True, but there has to be a class of errors that can be confirmed with good accuracy just by looking at the "satellite" view on Google Maps

It takes a few months... (1)

AnswerIs42 (622520) | about 4 years ago | (#32959976)

But some changes to work in... for the longest time they had a primary road going up AND down the one way street I live on. They fixed it after reporting it and pointing out their error. NOW... if I can just them to stop showing Orangeville, Ohio as Orangeville, PA... that really messes up directions for people.

Klingon GPS (5, Funny)

TheStatsMan (1763322) | about 4 years ago | (#32959996)

Driver: Hm, where is my turn...
Michael Dorn GPS: Prepare to turn right.
Driver: But there's no exit here....
GPS: Accelerate to ramming speed.
Driver: Good thing I took the Prius...
GPS: Today is a good day to die!

Must Obey Machines ... (1)

gnieboer (1272482) | about 4 years ago | (#32960010)

Funny how prevalent this problem of people driving off on-ramps using to be a couple years ago... Oh wait, it really wasn't.

I find it interesting that now that people have 'help' navigating, they've suddenly lost the ability/interest to actually read road signs, much less maps.

We're now becoming lemmings to our SatNav. In a couple years, a simple virus directing all SatNavs to drive off cliffs will probably take care of any overpopulation problems for some time.

Don't get me wrong, I've caught myself being lulled into that false sense of security, but it sure is shocking how quickly we've stopped navigating since we've got a computer to do it for us.

Next thing you know, people will stop making fire by rubbing two sticks together and be dependent on 'matches' or some other new-fangled gidget

Re:Must Obey Machines ... (1)

demonlapin (527802) | about 4 years ago | (#32960352)

I'd rather read a map, but when it comes time to get in a turn lane in an unfamiliar city... is that going to be a left exit, or a right exit, and how much road do you have to react in? (Think of Atlanta's freeway interchanges, if you've ever driven there.)

My old car is there. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32960024)

Look up 5357 DeLongpre Ave, 90027. My car is the tan Escort with the roof rack and the bag over the back window. Alas, it's engine blew last month going cross country and I junked it in Oklahoma City.

Or Air Safety... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32960166)

...try landing on the main runway at Christchurch International Airport in New Zealand!,+New+Zealand&ll=-43.482072,172.539296&spn=0.022794,0.051713&t=h&z=15

computers are about trying to murder you in a lake (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 4 years ago | (#32960168)

"Everyone always wants new things. Everybody likes new inventions, new technology. People will not be replaced by machines. In the end life and business are about human connections. And computers are about trying to murder you in a lake. And to me the choice is easy." -Michael Scott, The Office []

Keep reporting errors. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32960178)

Reporting the errors is the only way to get Google to fix 'em, even if they don't respond to every one. I've reported one so far and they fixed it.

Hi [name],

Google Maps has been updated to correct the problem you reported. You can see the update here, and if you still see a problem, please tell us more about the issue: Link to view and/or reopen issue

Report history
Problem ID: [redacted]

Your report: [redacted]
Thanks for your help,
The Google Maps team

Or Air Safety... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32960202)

...try landing at Christchurch International Airport in New Zealand,+New+Zealand&ll=-43.482072,172.539296&spn=0.022794,0.051713&t=h&z=15

GPS NAV in Korea (2, Interesting)

wsxyz (543068) | about 4 years ago | (#32960226)

Anyone else ever used GPS navigation in Korea?
  • You know, the kind that knows you have to get in the second lane-from the left to take the correct exit?
  • The kind that knows that the outside lanes of a 8 lane street intersect an overpass, and the middle lanes exit, but the rest go straight through?
  • The kind that knows where all of the speed-control devices are and warn you in advance?
  • The kind that know when you're about to go in a tunnel and interpolate your position until you emerge?
  • The kind that know that highway 42 switches from one street to another as you pass through a town?
  • The kind that not only tell you how to get to your apartment complex, but actually guide you into the correct part of the parking deck?

I wish we had that kind of GPS navigation in the US. *sigh*

And how much did you pay to submit the bug? (1)

holophrastic (221104) | about 4 years ago | (#32960296)

Who's surprised that a free service doesn't fix bugs right away. . .or ever? Would you?

Imagine, you spend thousands of hours, and tens of thousands of dollars to put together a service that you then spend way more money to maintain. Of the millions of data-points, a few thousand are very wrong. But no one who reprots them pays you any money whatsoever.

Would you fix them? Who the hell cares.

Take your free service, and your free information, and enjoy your false positives and your false negatives.

If you don't like the quality of someone's product/service, you are always welcomed to provide your own. You can do it better. You may have to spend more. More time, more money, more expertise. But you'll care more. And that's what counts. So go ahead. Do it. Make the world a better place. Because current mapping technology is just terrible and you can do it better.

Hey, it'll improve my life if you make the world a better place. So go ahead.

But stop complaining about other people's products and services.

In short: take what you want, and leave the rest.

Strange SatNav routes (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about 4 years ago | (#32960322)

At the highway exit I use to go to work, there are frequently people who exit northbound, drive under the overpass, and get right back on southbound. There are a LOT of vehicles doing this. Far more than the occasional person who missed their exit could account for. The only thing I've ever been able to come up with is that it's a result of some funky SatNav routing. An exit three miles south, there is no simple way to continue west. It must have decided that was the best way to minimize distance traveled on surface streets.

For the correct maps... (1)

dasunt (249686) | about 4 years ago | (#32960358)

My father is a truck driver. Owner-operator, for the most part, although he occasionally employs a few people.

In my current IT job that involves doing on-site support occasionally, he recommended Hudson's Street Atlas. It's about $30 at any truck stop.

I have a copy from 2006. It's still better at finding roads than Google Maps. The other day I was doing an on-site at a house, and I mentioned how the road wasn't on google maps. The owner mentioned the road was almost 50 years old. Hudson's street atlas had it, that's how I found it.

(No plug for Hudson's, btw. I bet their largest competitor has the same street in their atlas. And I've seen this same problem with GPS units. They lack roads the dead tree Hudson's atlas I own has. Sometimes, as with computers, the slightly less userfriendly interface (dead tree) is aimed towards professionals.)

Google's city database is no better... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#32960364)

Google Maps used to find my home town (Geneva, OH, USA [] ) just fine. Now, Google Maps displays it half a state away [] .

At first, this was a minor annoyance, until my mail started being delayed from time to time. Apparently, a number of places took the perfectly good address and ZIP code I gave them and decided to use the ZIP code from Google Maps instead.

This issue has been submitted to Google repeatedly, and more than half a year later, nothing has been fixed. Don't ask us to point out mapping problems if you're not going to do anything about it, Google.

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