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?

I've yet to use Google maps. But I've had many similar experiences with MapQuest. Their directions for how to get from one side of Manhattan to the other had me literally turning in circles - it was as if I were playing a game of Twister with my car. (Even better are MapQuest's time estimates for trips here in Los Angeles: the twenty minutes allotted for a drive from Cerritos to Santa Monica would be possible only if the driver were repeating, "There's no place like home" while clicking together the heels of his ruby slippers.)

I was heading to play music at a convention. I brought up Google Maps to get me there. They took me off the freeway at a certain exit, put me through about a half dozen turns, and then finally when they said I should be almost there, I was at a dead end.

It turned out that the hotel I needed to be at was right next to the next exit north.

Why in the world would you trust Google maps to find a random hotel in Nice?
They have maps in France, you know. And telephones!
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?