back to article Google Maps takes scenic route

A few days ago, this author noticed some oddities in Google Maps: it seemed to be unable to route relatively short distances on major highways. At the time, I didn’t think too much of it: I posted a short Tweet (below) and left it at that. However, it now turns out that the vaunted map platform is giving all kinds of strange …


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  1. Test Man

    Related to recent update?

    They recently updated their maps about a month or so ago. However, they seemed to have cocked up a few things, like for example labelling the village of Welwyn "Welwyn Garden City" when the real Welwyn Garden City (which is named after the village is south-east just above Hatfield. The River Lee is also named "River Lea or Lee", for some inexplicable reason.

    1. IR

      It's been marked on paper maps as "River Lea or Lee" for decades. IIRC it changes name from Lee to Lea somewhere along the way.

      I've noticed issues with Google maps where it seems to think some sections of road are one-way for some reason, which causes the weird routing. It's most noticeable when the only alternative route is very long, like those shown in the article.

      1. Test Man

        Oh really? I've only ever seen it as "River Lee" myself. In fact, I've been looking at old official maps from early 20s to the 70s and it's only ever been written as "River Lee" there.

        1. Lunatik

          OS has it marked as River Lea or Lee.

          1. Test Man

            Ah, that explains where they're getting their data from.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        One way roads...

        A 1m section of the Great Western Highway at Blackheath is erroneously marked as one way. Load and get reverse directions.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not Exactly New

    These errors in Australian Google Map routing aren't exactly new. I reported the problem with routing for the Pacific Highway, from Brisbane to Sydney, almost 12 months ago. I did receive a polite letter back from Google saying that yes, it was an error and thanks for pointing it out... we'll fix it soon. I guess it all depends on your definition of the word 'soon'.

    That route down the New England Highway isn't a minor issue either. Even if Google Maps sent you directly down the highway, with no small detours, it's still almost a 2 hour longer run than the Pacific Highway, which is the route it *should* offer as first choice. Their routing *used* to work, I've used it numerous times in years gone by. Perhaps they know something about plate tectonics that the rest of us don't?

    They've had other problems with Australian maps this past year. For several months there were no street numbers, anywhere, they simply disappeared. This took a good three or four months for them to fix as well. Many of the map photos line up poorly too, something they don't appear interested in fixing at all, as reporting them garners nothing in the way of a reply.

  3. mordac

    Use instead? If you happen to find a problem you can fix it yourself.

    1. Test Man

      Great suggestion if it wasn't for the fact that some apps only make use of Google Maps.

      1. Charles Manning

        Only use open apps

        Then you can fix those too!

  4. Pondule
    Thumb Up

    Changes here too

    For the last couple of months Google Maps has labeled the road outside my house in UK as the "A329 motorway" even though it's full of busses and pedestrians, that's just been corrected so they must have loaded some better maps.

  5. Jay Louvion

    The workaround is a walkaround

    Tried the directions search from Sydney to Brisbane. It now suggests a more direct, though definitively less pleasant route if you walk it.

    Get your boots. I'll get my coat.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The perils of topology

    @AC 6 Jan 21:13 mirrors our experience exactly with a platitude letter from Google.

    We experimented with Google Maps when driving between Melbourne/Sydney and a detour via Wagga was recommended (which we chose to ignore). I had a closer look at the maps and found a gap between the old highway and some recently added roadworks (what we in the trade call dangling nodes). You'd think updates would flag warnings if they introduce major changes to topology.

    Lucky they aren't using the data to despatch ambulances... yet... Or is fiddly detail only something the pedantic are interested in?

  7. HipposRule

    Not just Google

    I remember Autoroute 2000 being used by a colleague to plan a route from swansea to Startford on Avon and it took him from Fishguard to Rosslare, up to Dublin, back across to Holyhead and onwards.

  8. Scott Mckenzie

    In a nice car...

    That first map looks WAAAAAAAAAY more fun :)

  9. Yurgle
    Thumb Up


    The trip from Sydney to Brisbane via Gloucester and Walcha is heaps quicker and nicer than the Pacific Highway. There is no traffic and the scenery is awesome. Well done Google for encouraging people to enjoy the trip as well as the destination.

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