Thursday, February 08, 2007

Google spake it, but it was not so

A story in today's Sydney Morning Herald shows how Google's latest maps offering leaves a little to be desired. In the example quoted, Google's suggestion on how to literally cross Sussex street in Sydney's CBD involves crossing the Harbour bridge twice and travelling over 10km (plus toll).

I can top that. I bought up the mapping information for my home suburb (Richmond in NW Sydney) and immediately noted something interesting...

That long road linking William Cox Drive with Chapel Street does not exist! (Click here for the Google Maps URL) There is a private driveway for a small portion of that length, but the rest is pure imagination. These road overlays are not yet incorporated into Google Earth yet, as they are in other locations, so for now you've got to go to the browser-based site to see this.

I think what has happened is that they must be creating their mapping data from aerial photography and where a line of trees may or may not obscure a road, they've just put the line in. It also shows that Google aren't just copying copyrighted information from the Gregory's or UBD guide, because it's well known that such cartographers put deliberate mistakes into their maps to catch copiers.


If an error like this became apparent on the first thing I looked at, then I can only assume that such errors are endemic. What's missing of course is a mechanism for correction. How do people with greater local knowledge get such bugs fixed?

3 comments:

Michael Sutcliffe said...

Have you used Google Maps on your Palm? Requires at least GPRS but is extremely, extremely useful.

ADHD Librarian said...

Nathan,
From memory that road does exist in its entirety, or at least it did when I was a kid. It is just that it is a private road.

Oh and on other google Data,
can i recommend you try this drive
nice holiday?
It looks like quite a good route,
John

Anonymous said...

Yes i can say that whereis is also a culprit of this sort of error. the other day i needed to drive to oyster bay(sutherland) in southern sydney. so i typed the address into where is from my home(windsor NW sydney). i continued to follow the directions into sydeny and it told me to turn left at King Georges road which i did. only to discover after becoming lost that i was in fact meant to turn right not left.

so online mapping it seems is still not better than the good old UBD