More mapstakes

Last Monday, I spent most of the day driving round, arranging for my aged father to go from hospital into a care home. If you have been there, you will know many of the problems which arise. Thankfully, the other people involved were all lovely and helpful, but it still took a lot of time and faffing about.

The care home had already agreed, but needed some additional equipment, which could only be provided by the hospital. When we went in to visit him in hospital, in the afternoon, he was already sat in the Discharge Lounge, awaiting the ambulance, which would only be tasked once that additional equipment had been installed. We dashed back home, loaded the car with several black plastic bags of his clothes and other bits, then looked up how to get to the care home.

Searching in Google, I was offered Google Maps straightaway, which I opened and studied carefully. The home was shown clearly on the northwest side of The Broadway, a busy main road in Sandown. On switching to the satellite view, I could see that it had a parking area at the front, then a rear entrance from a smaller road led to a larger parking area at the back.

googlemaps1

The afternoon school traffic had already built up by the time that we got away, and the area had become very busy. As we approached the care home, on the left side of the road, the front area was clearly not going to be a wise choice, so I turned left to try the back. I drove down the little drive I had seen on the satellite view, which opened out into the car park behind a block of flats. The care home had vanished.

On the third pass along that busy section of road, resorting to the more traditional search by eyeball, we realised that the care home was almost exactly opposite where it had been shown on Google Maps. It wasn’t on the northwest side of The Broadway, but on the southeast. One more pass and I located the entrance to its car park, and pulled in.

It was only when we got home that I checked the much-maligned Apple Maps, which of course would have told us the correct location.

googlemaps2

What I need now is a third readily-accessible mapping app, so that next time I can obtain a majority opinion.

Both Google Maps and Apple Maps encourage you to report such errors, although neither guarantees when, if ever, they will be corrected. I was most impressed, though, that Google not only accepted my correction without any argument, but updated Google Maps within a few hours.

googlemaps3

Note

To report a problem in Google Maps, sign into your Google account, and flag the location in question. When you open the map menu, its lower section lets you provide a correction as feedback.

To report a problem in Apple Maps, click on the Info icon of the pin in questions, and use the lowermost button to report it.