Getting lost with Google Maps
Posted on 16 Jul 2010 at 16:26
Paul Ockenden calls for Tele Atlas to use Street View to take a look at the mapping errors he's reported - and then fix them
Now Google has pretty well completed the coverage of Street View in the UK, it’s fun to use it to spot some glaring mapping errors.
The main Google Maps service employs Tele Atlas maps and, as I’ve mentioned several times before in this column, I find its maps have far more errors than those from other vendors such as Navteq.
Interestingly, the main customers for Tele Atlas are TomTom users (since TomTom owns Tele Atlas), but all except the most basic of TomTom devices offer access to the company’s Map Share service, which lets you upload map corrections and benefit from corrections uploaded by other users.
Tele Atlas wants you to use a prohibited track that spits you out straight into the fast lane of a 70mph road
No such luck for other Tele Atlas customers, such as drivers of recent BMW cars (the company recently switched from Navteq to Tele Atlas), and Google Maps viewers.
If you take down issue 156 of PC Pro from the 2007 section of your library shelves (alright, that pile next to the cat litter) you’ll notice on page 168 I wrote “...on the 20-plus-year-old A27 south-coast trunk road, 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.
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.
The company also seems very slow at responding to reports of mapping errors.” What there is at this junction is an “emergency services only” road whose entrance is a padlocked five-bar gate, and if you manage to get past (or flatten) that, at the other end of this track you’ll enter a main carriageway from the right-hand side.
Yup, Tele Atlas wants you to use a prohibited track that spits you out straight into the fast lane of a 70mph road. Over the past 10 years I must have reported this error a good half-dozen times to Tele Atlas via its Map Insight system, and each time an email has come back from Tele Atlas saying thanks for the report, it will look into it and, if needed, correct the map. And each time nothing happens.
Now that Street View is live within Google Maps across most of the country, you can actually see these errors in all their glory, and I’ve included a couple of example screenshots.
In each case they show errors that I’ve reported several times over a period of several years, and I know others have done too. So come on Tele Atlas, please revisit all the mapping errors that have been reported to you countless times over the past few years, fire up a copy of Google Street View, and see for yourself the problems your users have been suffering.
Or here’s a novel suggestion – now you’re owned by TomTom, why not take a peek at the Map Share database, seek out all errors that have been reported by, say, a dozen or more people, and fix them!
There is a better way
I got a giggle out of this article because, bad and all as TeleAtlas data may be for the UK, in Ireland it's far worse, my own favourite example being the inclusion of a road that has been a footpath for about 40 years.
The solution to all of this is simple - instead of pleading with map data vendors to fix the map, go to openstreetmap.org and use your energy to help build a map that uses the power of the crowd to gather better data.
By mackerski on 20 Jul 2010
That's been fixed - on OpenStreetMap
I agree with Mackerski, OpenStreetMap is the way to go.
You can compare the Google Map with OpenStreetMap (OSM) for anywhere by using the MapCompare tool from http://tools.geofabrik.de/
Looking at the error mentioned by Paul, you can see that the road in question doesn't appear on the OSM map:
By ManAboutCouch on 20 Jul 2010
Paul - Thank you for reporting updates to the map. I have followed up with our data team regarding these issues and can report the following:
First, the exit on the A27 has been marked as a service road for authorized vehicles only so that cars will not be routed that way. The change has been added to our map database which will be available on TomTom devices and delivered to our industry partners in due course.
Second, we have already captured the blocked road at the end of Victoria Road; this link shows how our routing takes the blocked road into account. http://bit.ly/routes_tomtom
Daniel – TomTom, Community Management team
By danrh on 27 Jul 2010
Last time I went to Brum, which was a few years ago, I was dumped straight into the fast lane of a motorway at a junction. Can't remember exactly where it was,but it didn't look like a temporary arrangement.
By stokegabriel on 30 Jul 2010
Now that Tomtom owns Teleatlas i predict their corrections will go worse. I have a couple pending for 3 years.
They want BMW and Google devices work bad on purpose, so only Tomtom (with its exclusive and patented correction service) work fine.
Very good strategy, if only wasn't illegal...
By LatinSuD on 8 Jul 2011
- Windows Server 2012 R2: how the Datacenter edition could change SMBs
- Invoices and VAT: how to set up your documents correctly
- Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S4 Active: the best phone for avoiding screen burn
- How much is a social user worth?
- The key to choosing a secure password
- Thunderbolt Bridge: a fast Mac migration tool
- Should you advertise on Twitter?
- How to track a lost smartphone
- Self-publishing success: the best way to sell your book
- 1.6TB SSD: why would you need one?
- Move over Delia: IBM Watson is cooking tonight
- Eric Schmidt on the double-edged smartphone: friend and foe
- Getty joins the race to the bottom
- Hour of Code: five steps to learn how to code
- Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet review: first look
- Sony Xperia Z2 review: first look
- Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 review: first look
- Nokia XL review: first look
- Samsung Galaxy S5 review: first look
- Nokia X review: first look
- IDC: iPad intertia opens door for Windows tablets
- Office 365 goes social with "Oslo" news feed
- Windows XP: upgrading 30,000 PCs in 30 days
- LibreOffice: ignore Microsoft's "nonsense" on government's open source plans
- Intel Xeon E7 v2 servers support 6TB of RAM
- Microsoft promises video calls between Skype and Lync
- Office for iPad due before July
- Windows 7 on business PCs gets an extension
- Windows apps land on Chromebooks with VMware
- Office 365 gets two-factor authentication