Google Maps Accidentally Closes Down Australian HighwayBy: Drew Bowling - January 6, 2012
More than likely you’ve turned to Google Maps in order to find your way to destinations unfamiliar. While typically reliable, anytime you search for directions between two places on Google you will also receive the small print caution:
It’s an easy enough method for Google to avoid culpability whenever travelers end up lost due to miscues provided by Maps. However, travelers in Australia have reported that, when driving along the east coast between Sydney and Melbourne, Google Maps is diverting drivers from the Pacific Highway to take an alternative route that leads them through a side-route of backroads.
…For seemingly no reason.
Despite no construction problems or other accessibility issues, Google just doesn’t want you to drive along (what I imagine can only be) a scenic trek along the Pacific coastline. You can manually drag the route over to include Pacific Highway but Google Maps doesn’t really like that; it still tries to divert travelers west on certain parts to avoid Pacific Highway, sometimes even for an arbitrary 30-40 miles before redirecting drivers to resume traveling on Pacific Highway. The erroneous directions have led travelers to believe that large swaths of Pacific Highway are closed for travel (why else would someone have to take through less traveled roads, right?).
The problem was reported to The Sydney Morning Herald who contacted Google Australia about the confusing directions.
A Google Australia spokesman yesterday admitted the Pacific Highway error but could not say how long the glitch had been affecting driving directions. This morning, the bug had still not been fixed.
“Thanks for pointing it out, I will let the team know so they can be aware of the issues, and I’ve flagged it to be corrected,” the Google Australia spokesman said.
“We do have a ‘Report a Problem’ tool that enables users to directly communicate with us about any updates they think need to be made to our maps, and we try to make these changes as quickly as possible.”
That last sentence is a bit of non-advice as The Herald says several travelers have already reported the problem to Google. As of this morning, as you can see from the screen grab above that I took about 20 minutes ago, the problem still appears to be unresolved.