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Google Maps Is Not Necessarily Your Friend

Old 09-21-23, 10:47 AM
  #1  
jamawani 
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Google Maps Is Not Necessarily Your Friend

Take a look at this article - -
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news...ing-rcna110616

A young father died when he drove off a collapsed bridge in Hickory, NC.
Google Maps had routed him across it. That was in 2022.
The bridge had collapsed in 2013. A user had asked Google to remove it in 2020.
Does Google have a responsibility to have accurate information?
Probably not a legal responsibility since there are plenty of disclaimers.
But you should be forewarned.

Google Maps is not necessarily your friend.
There a lots of mistakes - especially in the remote West.
It probably doesn't matter as much in Indiana -
where you are never more than a mile or so from help.
But it can matter in the West where a 50-mile backtrack
with little water or bad weather can get dangerous.

Most of us who have done a lot of touring have had our Google goofs.

YMMV
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Old 09-21-23, 12:14 PM
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Back in 2006, a couple friends and I were touring across Illinois and became befuddled for half an hour because Google showed a named road available to get us over to a certain state highway. We could see the state highway at a distance but there was no road, only a soybean field in front of us and an old hedgerow. Definitely cost us some time to work around but not life threating by any means. Every once in a while glitches like that still show up but not nearly as common as they used to.
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Old 09-21-23, 01:48 PM
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Google ANYTHING isn't necessarily your friend.
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Old 09-21-23, 02:29 PM
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I suspect the widow, winner of the lawsuit lottery, would have better luck suing the state for failing to mark or barricade the bridge. Assuming it was a public road, and not a logging company's abandoned access road.
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Old 09-21-23, 02:59 PM
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I guess we have the answer to "if Google tells you to jump off a cliff would you do it?"
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Old 09-21-23, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
I suspect the widow, winner of the lawsuit lottery, would have better luck suing the state for failing to mark or barricade the bridge. Assuming it was a public road, and not a logging company's abandoned access road.
https://maps.app.goo.gl/bLTeX8ycBxu4K91K6 - 24th Street Place NE, Hickory NC

https://www.wsoctv.com/news/local/ma...B3LRV5W7ESDIA/ - "The Family's attorney, Bob Zimmerman, said he is still trying to determine who is responsible for the roadway... State Troopers said the road is not maintained by the state, nor is it inside Hickory city limits..."

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/google-...olina-hickory/ - "Paxson's lawsuit also names Tarde, LLC, James Tarlton, and Hinckley Gauvain, LLC. The suit claims they were responsible for the road and bridge..."

https://www.smbb.com/wp-content/uplo...LAINT.FIN_.pdf - the lawsuit - "The Bridge Defendants owned, controlled, and/or were otherwise responsible for the land on and over which a bridge on 24th Street Place NE in Hickory, NC runs ("the Snow Creek Bridge"), the land adjoining the Snow Creek Bridge, and/or the Snow Creek Bridge itself.
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Old 09-21-23, 04:39 PM
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There's nothing new here. The topic has been discussed many times, try a search.

If some one plans to take Google to court..you better have deep pockets and lots of time..good luck.

The map data Google is presenting is not owned by Google, they get it from people that do own it and generate it. Since Google wasn't born yesterday, no doubt they have some fine print disclaimer somewhere that says that GM is a tool..and if you drive off a cliff..well..it's no different than if you drove off a cliff 50 years ago. Best to keep your eyes open if you're the pilot.

As for the roads that aren't there while touring..ya, been there, it's a PITA. I typically check my route via satellite view. If I can't physically see a road or path, then I look for another option or verification that the road/path exists. Roads/paths that are shown by Google but are under a tree canopy..it's a reasonable chance the path doesn't exist.
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Old 09-21-23, 04:48 PM
  #8  
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I drove a semi truck for a while and was up for a 34hr reset. I was in PA at the time, on the south end. I knew I was coming in to the period where I needed my 34hr reset so I route planned a bit to stop somewhere I could day tour on my time off. I found a gas station along a small state route that wasn't too far off the interstate I was on that had a lot big enough that I could park in (gravel). The down side to stopping there was there weren't much in the way of facilities.

That full day off I got on the bike and went off exploring. I mapped out a route and proceeded along it. The whole time I was starting that escapade I was climbing in elevation. The higher I got the smaller the road got. Then it turned in to what almost looked like a driveway with, in the distance, way over-grown trees and brush hiding the road. Something didn't look right so I turned around. Back down the hill was a teenager washing his car. I stopped and asked about the route. Apparently there are two neighbors up there that don't get along. Both on either end of that supposed "road". What ever their disagreement was, it soured things enough between them that they closed off access so each had to come in from different directions. Mind you, this is rural PA. There was a whole lot of nothing in them thar hills. However they pulled off being able to close down the road, it wasn't passable. I at least got a good story out of it and got to meet one of the locals that I otherwise wouldn't have met.

I went on another route and made it to a stream. Then after being out moping around for about 5 hours on my adventure I made it back. There was a town the other direction about 4-5 miles that had a pizza place. So I jumped back on the bike and made my way down there for dinner.

The "google maps isn't your friend" experience was the bitter neighbor road.

The "google maps is your friend" experience the same day was being able to find a bike-able route to town for dinner. The down side to that route, though, was I had to ride the state highway with high-speed traffic in order to get to the turn lane to the road that took me to town, maybe 1/2 mile of the busy road including the turn lane.

Always check the satellite imagery.

There are also a lot of cases around the country where roads that used to be there aren't there anymore. And the reverse - roads that are there now that aren't on GPS and don't show up in satellite imagery yet.

There is a portion of a trail here in Ohio (north from Xenia, way north - the last couple miles of that trail) where, last time I looked, the trail on the satellite imagery showed single track gravel/hard packed dirt with grass. When walking that portion of trail it was very nicely paved with chip-and-seal the normal MUP path width. Quite the upgrade, and a welcome one.
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Old 09-21-23, 07:24 PM
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I've been led astray by maps plenty of times. Maps are maps, reality is reality. The two do not always match. Roads change. Maps can be incomplete or out of date. That's life.

But I haven't yet killed myself by riding off a bridge. For that I have my own eyes. That's where this guy went wrong. So busy looking at his phone he forgot to look in front of himself. Rip.

​​​​​​

Last edited by Yan; 09-21-23 at 07:35 PM.
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Old 09-21-23, 08:13 PM
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i wonder how many lives have been saved or greatly benefited by the vast majority of the time that these directions are accurate, people don't get lost, young women don't find themselves in some random dead end alley in a bad neighborhood, traffic and pollution is reduced by people taking the less congested route? does anyone seriously think that having virtually every map in the world on a screen in your pocket or car is NOT progress?
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Old 09-21-23, 08:31 PM
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appears they have since fixed the bridge
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Old 09-22-23, 03:50 AM
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In Japan Google betrayed us to the point that instead of a 40-mile day we ended up having to route through the mountains, into the night, and doing 70 miles by the time we were done. I was fine and having fun but that did a number on my daughter that was not used to the distance and mountains. And this was on day one :-\

But in all honesty just about any map available would have been equally wrong. **** happens, you cope and move on.
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Old 09-22-23, 03:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Yan

So busy looking at his phone he forgot to look in front of himself. Rip.

​​​​​​
And you know this from reading the article?
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Old 09-22-23, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by mschwett
i wonder how many lives have been saved or greatly benefited by the vast majority of the time that these directions are accurate, people don't get lost, young women don't find themselves in some random dead end alley in a bad neighborhood, traffic and pollution is reduced by people taking the less congested route? does anyone seriously think that having virtually every map in the world on a screen in your pocket or car is NOT progress?
Amen. ..and how many businesses/restaurants succeed because people can find them..and get back to where they are staying for the night?...and how tourism supports people and cities/countries because tourists don't blink an eye when exploring areas as they know how to travel without getting lost. We recently visited Montreal and Quebec City (from the USA/Wisconsin) for 10 days. While driving to the cities from the USA is a no brainer with a paper map only(I'm old enough that lots of travel happened pre-internet..btdt), navigating the cities with a paper map only (and tons of one way streets), given the extent we covered each city by bicycle and car, would have been a pita and taken much of the fun out of exploring areas.

The sky isn't falling. Paying attention while driving is part of driving.
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Old 09-22-23, 06:05 AM
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Originally Posted by jamawani
It probably doesn't matter as much in Indiana - where you are never more than a mile or so from help.
Hmmm... brings to mind a vacation I had in 1983-ish, southern Indiana. Using a then-new Rand McNally USA Road Atlas for navigation.

Following a rural paved road to my destination that day that took me across a stream / small river, at least according to the map's printing.
After driving several miles from my last turning to where that stream / river should have been, I expected a bridge of some kind to carry the pavement to the other side.
I was disappointed.
Nothing there but a gap.

No bridge, no construction, no remnants of what might have been there.

So I turned around, stopped to inquire of a local resident not far from that stream who informed me that there'd never been a bridge there at all in the many years they'd lived there.

So misteaks do happen, even in this digital era. YMMV.
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Old 09-22-23, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by fishboat
I typically check my route via satellite view.
+ check Streetview when possible. Yeah, I'm trading off the mystery and wonder of 'what's out there' for not winding up on a busy, shoulderless state highway. I'm good with that.
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Old 09-22-23, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by fishboat
The map data Google is presenting is not owned by Google, they get it from people that do own it and generate it.
Google creates much of its own map data. (Much of it by driving around.)

The key part of this case is that Google was asked multiple times to update the status of the missing bridge.
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Old 09-22-23, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb
I suspect the widow, winner of the lawsuit lottery, would have better luck suing the state for failing to mark or barricade the bridge. Assuming it was a public road, and not a logging company's abandoned access road.
Two (at least) "parties" are being sued: the "bridge defendants" and Google. Suing Google increases their luck (improves their chances of winning) by some, even if small, amount. Google might possibly agree to a settlement. (Governments are also hard to win against.)

(The general tactic is to sue everybody possible.)
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Old 09-22-23, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Yan
So busy looking at his phone he forgot to look in front of himself. Rip.​​​​​​
So busy making crap up.

Last edited by njkayaker; 09-22-23 at 11:21 AM.
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Old 09-22-23, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by mschwett
i wonder how many lives have been saved or greatly benefited by the vast majority of the time that these directions are accurate, people don't get lost, young women don't find themselves in some random dead end alley in a bad neighborhood, traffic and pollution is reduced by people taking the less congested route? does anyone seriously think that having virtually every map in the world on a screen in your pocket or car is NOT progress?
No, no, no. It's always bad and people never were mislead by map errors before. /s
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Old 09-22-23, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Roughstuff
Google ANYTHING isn't necessarily your friend.
Anything ANYTHING isn't necessarily your friend.
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Old 09-22-23, 10:20 AM
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Google Maps isnt necessarily my friend, which is the same for Bing, Mapquest, Rand McNally, etc etc.
Maps can be, and sometimes are, out of date.

In related news, water is wet.




As for the guy that died, that is really terrible to read. The article I read said the road was not barricaded. That seems unconscionable to me. How could the city/county/state(whoever manages the road and bridge) not just throw a jersey barrier up that blocks the road?
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Old 09-22-23, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
As for the guy that died, that is really terrible to read. The article I read said the road was not barricaded. That seems unconscionable to me. How could the city/county/state(whoever manages the road and bridge) not just throw a jersey barrier up that blocks the road?
There were barriers at one time or another. Supposedly, they were damaged by vandals (and removed, I think). Pictures show them as being somewhat insubstantial. Not sure why Jersey barriers weren't used (they appear to be the norm around here).

(Not in equal degree, but there are a bunch of parties at fault.)
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Old 09-22-23, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by njkayaker
So busy making crap up.
Not his first time.
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Old 09-22-23, 11:06 AM
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if anyone is still interested, here's the current google maps streetview of the bridge, still intact.

https://www.google.com/maps/@35.7814...6656?entry=ttu

you can see the google maps route on the nbc report video at time stamp 00:27

24th ST PL NE runs between 39th AVE CT NE and 23rd ST LN NE.

the images of 24th ST PL NE north of 39th AVE CT NE are dated may 2019
the images of 23rd ST LN NE are dated may 2023
the images of 24th ST PL NE between these roads are dated oct 2012

the mapping company driver failed to drive that section, apparently as the road was closed due to a missing bridge.
the bridge collapsed in 2013 according to the nbc article.

the current google maps with data from 2023 does not show this section of road.
https://www.google.com/maps/place/24...khc4?entry=ttu
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