There is a television commercial currently on the air for some GPS company – I can’t remember if it was TomTom or Garmin. The ad shows a ceremony at the opening of a new bridge, with a red ribbon across it. Just as the ribbon is cut, a car drives across it per instructions from their on-board GPS system. The point being made is that the companies maps are so up-to-date that they can show exactly when a road is open.
I had a similar experience this morning. I was using Google Earth to get directions to the church where my parents’ 60th Anniversary celebration is being held. Google Earth does what it normally does, which is to route me out of our neighborhood in what I consider to be the wrong direction. It will get you there, but it seems out of the way. I usually ignore that and drive the way I want. This time, however, something different happened.
If you click on “Printable View” in Google Earth, it will open the map and directions in Google Maps in your browser. When I did it this time, instead of taking me out the wrong end of our street, as Google Earth had done, Google Maps indicated the correct direction. As of Monday our street is now a dead end, so you COULDN’T take the route Google Earth had mapped. However, Google Maps seemed to know that the street is now closed. I thought both sets of maps were drawn from the same mapping system. I guess not.
But back to the television commercial. That level of hyper-accurate mapping would only be possible with real-time updates to the unit. I haven’t seen one that does that yet, so methinks they exaggerate just a bit.
UPDATE: It looks like Google is more confused than I thought. Google Maps and the directions show the correct route. When I selected “link to this map” to embed the map shown above, it shows the route going through the now-closed street. I guess it just goes to prove that you can’t trust GPS or online maps 100%.
[tags]Google Earth, Google Maps, GPS[/tags]