Why relying on Google Maps is sometimes a bad idea

Recently, there have been a few interesting cases where people have been overly reliant on Google Maps for driving and walking directions. Those include a woman who was hit when she was walking along a highway with no sidewalk (or footpath as we call it here in Australia), and a family who was trapped in snow after following a hazardous rural road that Google Maps suggested as a shortcut.

In addition to following Google Maps for directions, sometimes people use Google Maps in order to assess what property and the surrounding neighborhood look like from above. The problem is that some of the satellite photos that currently appear are more than 4 years old! As we all know, a lot can happen in a short period of time and this is certainly true in some fast changing cities.

Here are two sets of before and after photos below.

1st set:

Before: Google Maps shows a satelite photo of a rather decent looking neighbourhood...

After: A more up to date satelite photo from other sources paints a completely different picture.

2nd set:

Before: Another innocent looking suburban area.

After: ...not any more!

By the way, in case you were wondering, the two sets of photos are taken from the city of Brisbane in Queensland, Australia – the 1st set of photos is from Bowen Hills and the 2nd set from Clayfield. Both sets are of tunnel entrances to the city’s latest tunneling project, the Airport Link and Northern Busway project, which will be Australia’s longest tunnel on completion. The after photos are courtesy of Nearmap, a company which regularly updates its satellite photos of Australia’s cities every couple of months or so.

Finally, to finish off this post I will conclude with a photo that demonstrates again why Google Maps is not always reliable. I’m yet to see anyone that keen or naive to attempt anything this ambitious.

Kayaking from Japan to Australia... would you do it?


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