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Catching Satnav Errors On Google Street View 312

Posted by timothy
from the now-wait-3-months-for-the-ferry dept.
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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Catching Satnav Errors On Google Street View

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  • Data Posioning.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LostCluster (625375) * on Monday July 19, 2010 @10:29PM (#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.

    • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Monday July 19, 2010 @10:34PM (#32959658) Homepage Journal

      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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by LostCluster (625375) *
        Yep. Live traffic senors would solve the puzzle... but they're just not there yet.
      • by camperdave (969942) on Monday July 19, 2010 @10:58PM (#32959838) Journal
        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.
        • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Monday July 19, 2010 @11:13PM (#32959944) Homepage Journal

          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: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by simcop2387 (703011)

            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: (Score:2, Funny)

              by Hylandr (813770)
              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.
        • by meerling (1487879) on Monday July 19, 2010 @11:52PM (#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.
          • Here its a rectangle about 1500mm wide and 3000mm long. If you stop too far back it is very hard to miss the detector. A driver in a four wheel drive with raised suspension and overside wheels, who sitting ahead of the stop line revving their engine in anticipation of a green light and creeping forward will possibly never get that green light, unless somebody stops behind them to trigger it.

        • by Mr. Freeman (933986) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @01:05AM (#32960512)
          Of course, he's hanging back about 6 car lengths on a left turn lane that's about 8 car lengths long. Two more cars want to turn left and all of a sudden you're backing up left turn traffic into the regular lane which causes a huge jam. Your dad is jamming up traffic.

          Other problems:
          People think that because he's so far back that he has a disabled vehicle and thus move in front of him, causing a dangerous situation.
          People realize that he's a fucking moron and cut in front of him, causing problems.
          People think that he's drunk and call the police, taking up their time.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by ukyoCE (106879)

            I think it's pretty safe to assume from the OP's description that his dad only does this when there is little or no traffic around, and certainly not when there's a lineup of people trying to turn left behind him. Notice the OP said "his own private advance left", not "an advanced left for him and the huge line of cars backed up behind him".

    • by Hays (409837) on Monday July 19, 2010 @11:09PM (#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?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2010 @11:19PM (#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.

    • by _xeno_ (155264)

      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 [google.com], 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

    • by cgenman (325138)

      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

    • Google Maps says the route from Nashua NH to Hudson MA goes straight to the 3/495 interchange...
    • by DavidD_CA (750156)

      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.

    • An entire town got together to cause bad traffic for over a year when they somehow knew that traffic data companies were in the area? Unless you can cite some evidence here I'm going to call bullshit and chalk this one up to general inaccuracies in GPS traffic data.
  • User maps... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LostCluster (625375) * on Monday July 19, 2010 @10:31PM (#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.

    • 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... (Score:5, Informative)

      by amaiman (103647) on Monday July 19, 2010 @10:42PM (#32959716) Homepage
      Apps that do just that are starting to appear...Check out Waze [waze.com] 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.)
    • Sounds like you want Waze [waze.com]. 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... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by NJRoadfan (1254248) on Monday July 19, 2010 @10:58PM (#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

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        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

    • Waze lets you do just that, and much more. People all over the world have been busy mapping their countries where no basemaps exist. People all over the world have been correcting and updating existing basemaps, too. Plus it monitors traffic in real-time, updating routes for those that are affected by the traffic at that time. And much more. I don't drive anywhere without Waze active on my iPhone. It's also available for many other smartphones that have GPS receivers in them. And it's free. Anyone c

  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Monday July 19, 2010 @10:35PM (#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.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2010 @10:57PM (#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."

    • 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 w

      • Google has long advised people to make illegal turns in San Francisco, including at the infamous illegal right hand turn from Market onto the freeway at Octavia. Although that's been fixed, there are still problems surrounding the complicated four-divided-lane Octavia boulevard. For instance this route [google.com] is perfectly illegal as can be seen in this street view [google.com].

    • by timon (46050)

      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

    • by T Murphy (1054674)
      One time we told the GPS to get us to a nearby IHOP. It lead us to someone's house- to this day I wish I rang their doorbell to see if they were making pancakes to see if the GPS really did have it right.
  • by F1re (249002) on Monday July 19, 2010 @10:36PM (#32959674) Homepage Journal

    And make your own maps with open street map [openstreetmap.org]

    • by Albanach (527650)

      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.

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

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by BitZtream (692029)

      hahahah

      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 d

      • by isorox (205688) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @03:33AM (#32961036) Homepage Journal

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

        Take a look at somewhere like Jerusalem in google, or worse, bing. Then look at Gaza and Islamabad. Now compare to OSM.

        Perhaps google is better in your tiny corner of the world, but OSM gives me a more usable view on a global scale.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by samjam (256347)

        OSM is accurate where I live because I plotted it: the roads, the parks, the car-parks, the pathways, school, etc; although another chap did most of my city.

        Sam

    • by Psaakyrn (838406)

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sir_Lewk (967686)

      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.

    • And how will I load the final data into my car's GPS?

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by F1re (249002)

        If you are in Australia and have a garmin gps in your car you can go here [osmaustralia.org].

        There may be osm files for other gps and countries but I have never looked...

  • by RightwingNutjob (1302813) on Monday July 19, 2010 @10:38PM (#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.
    • by LWATCDR (28044)

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

      • by BitZtream (692029) on Monday July 19, 2010 @11:12PM (#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.

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

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      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 an

  • Non-issue (Score:4, Funny)

    by VortexCortex (1117377) <VortexCortex.project-retrograde@com> on Monday July 19, 2010 @10:38PM (#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".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 19, 2010 @10:43PM (#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.

  • ...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".
    • by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @02:37AM (#32960788) Journal

      Those colorful paper diagrams your parents used

      When I was younger and went hiking quite a lot, I'd save up the extra and buy the cloth maps at inch-to-the-mile scale from Ordinance Survey. They actually weren't much more expensive than the paper maps, but had equal resolution (excellent quality lightweight cloth) and could survive bad weather and bad handling a lot better. I don't recall seeing a cloth map in a very long time.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by DerekLyons (302214)

        I don't recall seeing a cloth map in a very long time.

        That's because, at least in the US, Tyvek and other such materials superseded cloth decades ago. Quickly googling up "weatherproof ordnance survey maps" shows the same to be true in the UK, and there appears to be a number of suppliers and checking the Ordinance Survey site shows them to be available directly.

  • 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.

    • by tagno25 (1518033)
      When reporting to Google be clear an concise. Also it helps to chose to be notified about the error when you report it.
      • by PRMan (959735)
        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.
    • Waze lets you fix stuff like that in a matter of a few seconds. You can update info such as that right in the client on your smartphone, or you can edit it later on the web server. If it's a pretty well-established area of the map you may have to submit the change to have it looked after by an area manager, but it will actually get looked after, and probably very quickly.

    • by nmos (25822)

      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.

      I have somewhat the opposite problem. Whatever database FedEx and UPS use doesn't have my street on it even though the drivers can find it just fine. As a result, anyone who wants to ship me a package has to work a bit extra to convince the shipping companies to actually accept the package.

  • by fermion (181285) on Monday July 19, 2010 @10:49PM (#32959776) Homepage Journal
    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.

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt&lynx,bc,ca> on Monday July 19, 2010 @10:55PM (#32959818) Journal

    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.

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      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.

    • by SharpFang (651121) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @06:00AM (#32961714) Homepage Journal

      You're missing the point.
      A driver who picks road according to road signs and general look of the road is fine when there's no turn.

      A driver who is ordered to turn into nonexistent street gets confused and distracted. Yes, sure they will realize this is no way, there is no point going there, the GPS is wrong. But they take a second or two to realize this, evaluate the wrong road, pick a new choice of actions instead of the planned ones. This is a distraction of the class of a kid throwing a cup of cold drink on your lap. Not serious by itself, if the situation on the road demands your immediate attention, it may be lethal.

      Also, an experienced driver will just shrug it off, but nobody is born experienced. You need it happen to you 3-4 times before you learn how to cope with it. They don't teach you that in driving lessons. And before you get the experience you are fully vulnerable.

  • crowsourcered (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cellurl (906920) * <speedup@@@wikispeedia...org> on Monday July 19, 2010 @11:04PM (#32959874) Homepage Journal
    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. [wikispeedia.org]


    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) [wikipedia.org] and they throttle such activity! Too bad....
  • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by grantek (979387)

      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

  • 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 (Score:5, Funny)

    by TheStatsMan (1763322) on Monday July 19, 2010 @11:22PM (#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!
  • 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

    • 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.)
  • "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

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0yyKrS8jwSY [youtube.com]
  • GPS NAV in Korea (Score:2, Interesting)

    by wsxyz (543068)
    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 hi
  • 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 d

  • 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 trave
  • 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

  • by _Shorty-dammit (555739) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @12:42AM (#32960426)

    That's why I like and use Waze for my smartphone. Free client available for many GPS-enabled smartphones, free up-to-the-minute traffic, automatically reroutes you to avoid that traffic, routes you the quickest way at any given time. You can log into the web server and fix any map problems yourself if you like, or simply flag problems and an 'area manager' will get to it when they can if you're in an area that already has area managers. You can even create maps from scratch if you don't have a basemap available in your area, which is exactly what many people have done in many countries all over the world. In some cases you have to hang in there until critical mass is reached, but in many places that time has already come and gone and Waze is working wonderfully. Definitely worth checking out. I don't drive anywhere without it, literally, as you never know when it'll save you some time. And sometimes a LOT of time.

  • by D H NG (779318) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @12:45AM (#32960436)
    Google's office in Irvine, CA [google.com] on Google Maps is more than a mile [google.com] from its actual location. The office specifically tells its visitors to disregard Google Maps directions when they want to visit it.
  • by tsa (15680)

    The first time I used my TomTom I was sent into a field close to my destination. "Turn left," it said, leaving me very surprised. It turned out later that there was a small road there in better times. I often have problems of this kind, even though I keep the thing up to date as much as I can.

  • by Patik (584959) <[cpatik] [at] [gmail.com]> on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @01:27AM (#32960564) Homepage Journal
    Go read the documentation on openstreetmaps.org. Map companies put incorrect data in there on purpose to detect and prevent copying. This is why someone at OSM didn't just write a script to copy the whole thing at once, and why their maps have to be created manually.
  • by houghi (78078) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @01:40AM (#32960594)

    When I got my drivers license, they asked me to take a right and a left and _I_ had to decide if I should drive straight-on if they said nothing. If a person next to me says that there is no traffic on his side of the car when crossing, it still is _MY_ responsibility as a driver.

    When driving with my satnav on, I KNOW it will be wrong at times, so I still look at traffic signs and what not outside.
    When I look at articles like this [telegraph.co.uk] or this [telegraph.co.uk] I get a bit angry. Again something where people try to blame others for their own stupidity.

  • by matthewd (59896) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @02:08AM (#32960688)

    These directions [google.com] used to tell you to turn right at 7th street, then left at G street. The street view left hand turn into the chain link fence and non-existent road was particularly hilarious but probably not dangerous.

    I reported this back in March and checked on it a couple of times, but only just now when I checked was it fixed. So it probably took three months or so for it to be corrected. Probably not too bad considering how big Los Banos is. In this case looking at the satellite view would have saved me a few minutes, as the sat view would have conflicted with the old map that had G St running from 4th through to 7th.

  • Need I remind anyone of James Kim? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Kim [wikipedia.org] There have been several other people that have been lost in that part of Oregon before and since due to map errors. We just need more devices that use freely updatable maps. My car's GPS system costs about $300 for a new map DVD because of licensing. MAPS! Why can't Google completely open it's data and make this all free? MS could probably do this too. Car companies would be all over that, since any errors could be easily fixed via
  • by nmos (25822) on Tuesday July 20, 2010 @02:39AM (#32960800)

    OK, it's more of an annoyance than a bug but I really wish computer maps (all of them) would allow more detail to be shown while zoomed out. I understand why that might be a problem in urban areas but for those of us who live/travel in rural areas it would really be nice not to have to zoom so far in just to see the name of the only other road within 20 miles of me etc.

  • I noticed one of the streets in my town was named something other than what Google Maps said it was named, and submitted a report. About 2 weeks later I got an e-mail saying that I was right, it was fixed, and should show up soon. About a week after that the map was correct. Honestly I never expected it.

A bug in the code is worth two in the documentation.

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