Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Swell Maps

Has anyone else noticed that Google Maps is something less than totally reliable?

A couple weeks ago, we were going from Ajaccio (on Corsica) to Nice. We were supposed to depart from Ajaccio at in the early evening, but because of rough seas the ferry company loaded us onto a bus and drove us halfway across Corsica to I’lle Rousse, where we were put on different ferry (and still had rough seas). Thanks to the unscheduled detour, our arrival in Nice was pushed back several hours, and it was nearly 3:00 a.m. when we staggered off the ferry and began to make our way to the hotel we’d booked. My wife had got directions off Google Maps, so when we got to the ferry terminal’s exit, she consulted her printout and announced we were to turn right.

Long story short, we should have gone left. Google showed our hotel as being well along the Blvd. Carnot, and so we set off to lug our bags and baby up the distressingly steep Avenue de Saint-Aignan (imagine the author as a rather cranky pack mule, pushing a stroller). But when we got to the point indicated by Google, we found their map was about 40 addresses off — in fact, the hotel was at the bottom of the hill we’d just climbed, a short walk in the opposite direction from where we turned right.

It was 3:30 a.m. when we finally staggered to our room. Admittedly, the Google-derived wrong turn probably only cost us 20 minutes, but with a baby to put to bed and a 9:30 a.m. train to catch, that 20 minutes amounted to eight percent of our night’s rest. Grrr.

Now, I’m not going to be an idiot and insist that Google owes us 20 minutes’ sleep, but I am curious if others have had similar experiences. How far off was the map? Did you complain to Google? Is there a corrections mechanism?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

In the Air Tonight

Having just flown back to Canada from Paris during the latest air terrorist panic, I have to ask: If the airlines are so keen to keep bombs off jetliners, why did my flight show the Steve Martin movie R.V.?

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