Google will be revising its maps of Rio de Janeiro after city officials complained that its labels gave too much prominence to Rio’s favelas — hundreds of shanty towns that surround the city and make up nearly a fifth of the region’s urban population — over wealthier districts and tourist sites. Is anyone else at all bothered by the implications of this? Via @ogleearth.
Clement Valla collects instances where Google Earth’s 3D terrain layer doesn’t play well with the satellite and aerial imagery — elevated highways and bridges, for the most part. The effect is redolent of Dali — and it’s what happens when you try to make a 3D model of 2D imagery of a 3D surface. Via Boing Boing and Kottke.
CNN doesn’t know where Queensland is. Google doesn’t know where the Dutch-German border is. At least no one’s going to get invaded over this. (Right?) Via @xxxriainxxx and @spatialanalysis.
Nicaraguan troops crossed the border into Costa Rica and raised the Nicaraguan flag; the commander apparently cited erroneous maps from Google that showed the territory as belonging to Nicaragua: About.com Geography, Fast Company, Search Engine Land. (The border is shown correctly in Bing Maps.) Google says that they got the erroneous border data from the U.S. State Department, and they’re working on a fix.
This has led to a certain amount of Schadenfreude on Twitter from representatives of competing map providers, which I think is ill-advised. There but for the grace of God, etc. — which is to say that it could have easily been your maps, and probably will be at some point. You don’t see airlines chortling about their competitors’ crashes, do you?
When Google replaced map data from Tele Atlas with its own map data from a mix of sources (for the U.S. last October and for Canada last April), new errors proliferated. In some cases the wrong labels were applied — even now, if you go to Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island in Google Maps, you’ll still see it’s labeled in Cyrillic. In others, physical features simply disappeared (fortunately, St-Pierre and Miquelon are now back on the map).
And in several cases, entire towns and cities either were misplaced or simply vanished from the map. In April, Jessamyn noticed that her town of Randolph, Vermont had been moved to the middle of Lake Champlain. Even though she reported it via the usual method (i.e., clicking on “Report a Problem”), nothing much happened until Techland reported the story, at which point, Jessamyn says, it was practically fixed in real time.
More recently, the case of Sunrise, Florida got widespread media attention, on CNN and elsewhere. Not only did the city’s name disappear, but searches for its local businesses returned results from Sarasota, about 200 miles to the northwest. This is apparently the third time that Sunrise disappeared from the map, and Sunrise is far from the only city that this has happened to. Google denies that it took the embarrassing media coverage to get it to get this fixed expeditiously, but not everyone is buying that. Via Geospatial News.
Google could have a real problem on its hands if enough people (a) don’t trust their map data and (b) don’t trust them to correct the mistakes in it. It’s not like they don’t have competition.
On Regretsy, a blog about mishaps posted to Etsy stores, a quilted map of the United States gone a wee bit awry. Via John Reiser…. • Continue reading this entry.
What’s fun about errors in Google Maps is that, thanks to the fact that Google is using its own map data assembled from diverse sources by divers hands, is that their errors are unique; errors in NAVTEQ’s or Tele… • Continue reading this entry.
Just noticed that Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, two French islands off the coast of Newfoundland, are missing their land data in Google Maps — the roads and landmarks are there, but the outlines of the islands are not. (It’s abundantly… • Continue reading this entry.
TechFlash: “Google is hiring an army of 300 temporary workers in Kirkland as part of a yearlong campaign to improve the accuracy of Google Maps. … The workers will be part of a one-year initiative to correct mistakes in Google… • Continue reading this entry.
Google Maps is using new map data in Canada, abandoning the Tele Atlas data with which I had so many problems in September 2008. According to Google, “In Canada, we’ve made use of data from organizations such as the National… • Continue reading this entry.
The New York Post finds fault with Google Maps’s bike directions in New York City. The feature, the Post says, “is filled with potentially fatal flaws, including routes that cut across Central Park’s treacherous tranverse roads and steer cyclists to… • Continue reading this entry.
The Boston Globe website briefly had Martha Coakley winning the Massachusetts Senate election over Scott Brown with 100 percent of polls reporting long before the polls had closed, the Boston Herald reports (in typical journalistic Schadenfreude-with-respect-to-the-competition fashion). It was a… • Continue reading this entry.
The Fail Blog does maps, too…. • Continue reading this entry.
Peter Batty weighs in on the quality of Google’s new, homegrown map data: As anyone in the geo world knows, all maps have errors, and it’s hard to do a really rigorous analysis on Google’s current dataset versus others. But… • Continue reading this entry.
Steven Citron-Pousty wonders whether Google dropped Tele Atlas before their own data was ready. “Google’s routing data sucks right now and there are no two ways about it.” Via Peter. Previously: Google Stops Using Tele Atlas in the U.S…. • Continue reading this entry.
Weetabix is in a spot of trouble: its boxes and website have a map of the U.K. that omits the not-insignificant Welsh island of Anglesey (Ynys Môn), and island residents are unhappy about it, in the manner typical of people… • Continue reading this entry.
Another one of Transport for London’s maps is in trouble: this time, a bicycle-rental map switches the locations of two well-known London museums. TfL says they’ll be fixing the error. Via Londonist…. • Continue reading this entry.
Google Maps adds error reporting — clicking on “report a problem” at the bottom right of the map opens a dialogue where you can place a pushpin and describe the problem. “Once we’ve received your edit or suggestion we’ll confirm… • Continue reading this entry.
Boston’s MBTA is upgrading the maps in its stations; some of the neighbourhood maps haven’t been upgraded in 40 years. The system maps show services that will not be operational for another month, but that’s nothing compared to the trouble… • Continue reading this entry.
Stefan has the definitive account of what happens when Google Maps touches what has to be the live rail of cartography — erroneously publishing Chinese names of communities on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control in the… • Continue reading this entry.
A map illustrating the Canadian government’s northern strategy is drawing fire for leaving out Inuit communities in northern Quebec and Labrador, the Vancouver Sun reports: “while dozens of communities are identified in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, the… • Continue reading this entry.
You’d think that Fox News would know the difference between Iraq and Egypt, but apparently not…. • Continue reading this entry.
It’s one thing if your road map has an error in it, quite another if your aviation or nautical maps have an error in them. It can be catastrophic. Which is why, PC World reports, Garmin is recalling data cards… • Continue reading this entry.
GPS Review explains how to correct an error in a map provided by GPS unit or online mapping service — a process greatly simplified by the fact that, at least in North America, there are essentially only two mapping providers… • Continue reading this entry.
Catholicgauze points — not for the first time — to a map game on the NATO website with an appalling number of cartographic errors: China has apparently annexed a sizeable chunk of Pakistan, and Cambodia, the Korean peninsula and… • Continue reading this entry.
It’s not that the Four Corners marker is “about 2.5 miles west of where it should be,” as the Deseret News puts it, it’s that it’s about two and a half miles west of where it should have been. Important… • Continue reading this entry.
The Toronto Star’s Map of the Week blog discovers several errors in Google Maps’ coverage of Toronto. You may recall that I noticed a bunch of errors in my neck of the woods back in September. The blog entry is… • Continue reading this entry.
An article in today’s Los Angeles Times uses a geocoding error in the LAPD’s crime map mashup to illustrate the perils of map data error. In the case of the LAPD’s map, crimes at addresses that could not be parsed… • Continue reading this entry.
Remember that erroneous map of South America published in some Brazilian school textbooks? The secretary of education for the state of São Paulo, Maria Helena Guimaraes, was fired by the state’s governor over it. Via Vector One. Previously: Brazilian School… • Continue reading this entry.
A map Apple used during its iPhone 3.0 announcement to show the countries in which the iPhone is available is drawing fire for omitting Greenland and Iceland. Well, from Iceland, anyway. Okay, one Icelander. Just imagine the complaints that would… • Continue reading this entry.
Okay, how does something like this happen? “A map of South America in which landlocked Paraguay is shown with an Atlantic coastline and Ecuador does not exist may be found in a [sixth-grade] geography textbook used in the public schools… • Continue reading this entry.
Also via The Map Scroll, a collection of accidents collected by New York Times graphics editor Matthew Bloch while working on maps and other graphics. At right, a 1917 map of Beijing “after trying to use spline-based georeferencing in… • Continue reading this entry.
Via GeoCarta comes this curious story about a cruise ship accident that may have been the result of faulty nautical charts of the area, rather than negligence on the part of the ship’s crew. In April 2007 the Sea Diamond… • Continue reading this entry.
Bad mapping data has serious consequences in at least one area, Chad argues: “Emergency responders can’t get to some locations because the map data they have is WRONG. … That kind of a mistake really is the difference between life… • Continue reading this entry.
Google “has added New York City transit directions and brought its ads to the Big Apple, wrapping an ‘S’ shuttle train that runs between Grand Central and Times Square. Trouble is, the directions it gives in the ads aren’t always… • Continue reading this entry.
Sometimes a mapping error is just a mistake, as when a textbook inadvertently leaves the upper peninsula of Michigan off a map of the U.S. (via GeoCarta) or when a certain V. Putin’s Web site shows four Russian-occupied islands as… • Continue reading this entry.
Webmapper explores the question of Tele Atlas’s questionable map quality and the reasons why Google may have dropped Navteq for ostensibly poorer map data — a question I raised in this post. An interesting post, but perplexing given its speculative… • Continue reading this entry.
As was widely reported, Google Maps is now exclusively using Tele Atlas as its digital mapping data provider, dropping Navteq, which provided data for Google Maps proper but not for the Mobile or API products (All Points Blog, James Fee,… • Continue reading this entry.
Oops. Google News illustrates a wire story about the Russian invasion of Georgia — the one in the Caucasus — with a map whose pushpin is in Georgia, the U.S. state. Hilarity ensues. Those pesky automatic algorithms…. • Continue reading this entry.
“The Small Business Administration relies on an outdated, inaccurate map to maintain its billion dollar HUBZone program that is rife with fraud, according to a government report,” according to the Washington Post’s small business blog: The report said the map,… • Continue reading this entry.
Television stations routinely make cartographic errors in their graphics, but I bet none have backfired quite like this. An Indian television program’s logo erroneously showed Nepal as part of India; Nepal was not pleased. Via GeoCarta…. • Continue reading this entry.
The Daily News of Longview, Washington, has a piece about another Longview, Washington that is causing some confusion online: “It may be a field rather than a city, but that other Longview has established its place on the Internet, often… • Continue reading this entry.
Top Causes Of Errors In Online Mapping Systems: “Causes of internet map errors range from digital mapping methodology, data errors, data interpretation errors, usability errors, and errors in interpreting user queries.” Detailed. Via Slashgeo…. • Continue reading this entry.
On today’s edition of Weekend America, professor and writer Mark Monmonier is interviewed about mapping errors, beginning with GPS navigation errors — blame the maps, not the GPS signals — and moving on to what, the interviewer asks, the three… • Continue reading this entry.
Two and a half years ago, Bill Schroeder found a mapping error on a globe at the new Canadian War Museum. The globe depicted the Boer War, and labelled Southern Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe) as Northern Rhodesia (present-day Zambia). He’s been… • Continue reading this entry.
Oh, look: Owen found a trap street — a fictitious street inserted by a mapmaker to trap plagiarists. A cul-de-sac present in the 2000 edition of an Oxford map disappears in the 2005 edition; Owen investigates on the ground and… • Continue reading this entry.
Nicholas Forbes writes with an interesting question about why people follow bad directions — covered here ad nauseaum — that is above my pay grade: I am a Ph.D. student at the University of Nottingham UK. I have been running… • Continue reading this entry.
Don’t expect instant results when you submit errors to a mapping data provider. A dentist whose office is not on the map discovers that NAVTEQ can take as much as a year, if not more, to process corrections or new… • Continue reading this entry.
Three weeks ago, I was contacted by a writer for iPass who was working on an article about the accuracy of driving directions on online mapping sites. I provided some pithy comments. Her article is now online and to my… • Continue reading this entry.
What difference does three metres make? Plenty, according to a story from the Edinburgh Evening News: a mistake in the location of old flats on an Ordnance Survey map is being blamed for a new housing development being built in… • Continue reading this entry.
GeoCarta notes the news that a boundary dispute between the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador has flared up over Quebec wildlife maps that show part of Labrador as belonging to Quebec. This is not new. The Quebec-Labrador… • Continue reading this entry.
Google gets a bit confused on the road to North Brunswick, New Jersey, Valleywag reports. Update, 1/23: Google has corrected the directions, but Chad has screenshots if you missed it…. • Continue reading this entry.
A retired public servant in Wellington, New Zealand is on a campaign to correct spelling mistakes in New Zealand place names, the New Zealand Herald reports. He’s made a total of 60 submissions to the Geographic Board pointing out errors… • Continue reading this entry.
The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: “A tourist map of Devizes which is littered with spelling mistakes is still on display more than two years after they were pointed out.” Oops — they were supposed to be changed more than a… • Continue reading this entry.
As I noted in an update to my earlier post, the body of James Kim was found yesterday. But online maps or GPS navigation systems cannot be blamed for the Kim tragedy, as some have surmised (based on little more… • Continue reading this entry.
On the other hand, sometimes stories about being led astray by navigation systems aren’t so amusing. The tech community has been concerned about the disappearance of CNet senior editor James Kim and his family while on vacation: his family was… • Continue reading this entry.
Oops. Thanks to a proofreading error, the Brendan T. Byrne State Forest appears as the “Brenda Bryan State Forest” on recently issued AAA maps of New Jersey. Byrne is a former state governor…. • Continue reading this entry.
CBC News: “An incorrect map and communications failure led to an Israeli air strike on a UN observer post that killed four peacekeepers. … According to [the IDF’s] confidential report, Israeli artillery were using a hand-drawn map that identified the… • Continue reading this entry.
The government of Chile is complaining about an Argentine tourist map of the Andean Southern Ice Field, the boundaries of which do not conform to a 1998 border agreement between the two countries’ presidents. The exact nature of the boundary… • Continue reading this entry.
On Friday the 7th, there was an item on mapping on Patt Morrison’s afternoon show on 89.3 KPCC, a public radio station based in Pasadena, California. On deck were representatives from Thomas Brothers Maps and Navteq; much of the focus… • Continue reading this entry.
BBC News: “Drivers following satellite navigation systems through a village called Crackpot have been directed along a track at the edge of a 100-ft cliff.” Another entry in the annals of errors made by in-car navigation systems. Via Slashgeo. See… • Continue reading this entry.
Ben Keene, the editor of Oxford University Press’s atlas program (see previous entry), looks at the changes in geography he had to deal with in 2005 (via World Hum). MapQuest has inadvertently left Edmonton off a map of Canadian cities… • Continue reading this entry.
The International Herald Tribune looks at the disconnect between the official maps handed out by the Russian authorities to foreign businesses, with gridlines diverging from true north and the latitudes and longitudes blotted out, with the relative ease that the… • Continue reading this entry.
Publishers frequently use “copyright traps” to prove that someone plagiarized their work. Without evidence of the actual act of plagiarism, it’s difficult to prove that someone publishing a rival phone book, dictionary or encyclopedia didn’t just copy material wholesale from… • Continue reading this entry.
A seminar about errors in early maps takes place this Saturday in Annapolis, Maryland; topics for discussion include extra islands in John Smith’s maps of Chesapeake Bay (see previous entry) and maps showing California as an island…. • Continue reading this entry.
I misspent three years at the University of Alberta; this opinion piece in the student newspaper there, The Gateway, has this to say about the quality of the campus orientation map: “It sucks.”… • Continue reading this entry.
To save money, some Chinese GPS manufacturers use counterfeit maps instead of official ones; as a result, Shanghai drivers who buy the cheaper units are getting lost. Via GeoCarta and Very Spatial…. • Continue reading this entry.
Via GeoCarta, a report that an inaccurate map was responsible for the city of Gearhart, Oregon encroaching on private property during bridge construction. From the article: “City Manager Dennis McNally told the City Council Wednesday the city had poured the… • Continue reading this entry.
Forbes reports that FEMA’s outdated flood maps meant that many people in Hurricane Katrina’s path didn’t have flood insurance because, according to those maps, they weren’t in a flood plain and didn’t need it. More generally on inaccurate flood maps… • Continue reading this entry.
A protected forest in Tasmania was accidentally logged due to a mapping error, ABC News (Australia) reports. Via Cartography; see also GeoCarta. Update, 10:40 PM: From ABC News, “Forestry Tasmania general manager Kim Creek says the error was caused by… • Continue reading this entry.