Google Maps – Nearly Alright

There’s been some discussion about the large number of small-scale mistakes present in Google Maps – there were always a few, but that number has increased dramatically recently as Google has included new sets of POIs.

What I find is that the map looks pretty good if you just need to drive around an area, but once you zoom and study it in detail, the bugs appear. Of course, if you don’t know the area, you probably aren’t going to notice the problems unless you really go looking for them, so perhaps it’s still “fit for purpose”.

My local area (pretty close to central London, not somewhere random in the countryside) has some real howlers – but then, people driving through aren’t going to notice:

googlemaps1

Never mind, OpenStreetMap to the rescue:
osm1

For me, it’s particularly pleasing that OpenStreetMap is now becoming more accurate than Google Maps in these respects, rather than just catching up – as long as there’s a keen local contributor in each area. Adding simple (POI) data to OSM still isn’t quite as easy as it could be, although it’s much improved with recent Potlatch updates, and Mapzen looks like it could make the process easier still.

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2 thoughts on “Google Maps – Nearly Alright

  1. This caught me out in Cardiff last week. If you look at the google map you can’t see that to walk from the station to the SWALEC stadium you can just go straight up the river (partially on the new Millennium footbridge). Admittedly I got stopped from going down in on the way back thanks to some little rugby game!

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