"Trust Me, Not Google Maps": Cattle Farmer Erects Sign to Correct Navigation Blunder

The road signage telling drivers Google Maps is wrong 17 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/ABC Wide Bay: Pat Heagney
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Navigation apps help make every trip faster, more convenient, and more predictable, but they can also become a double-edged sword, turning a journey into a horrible experience.
A bunch of F1 fans recently learned this the hard way. The group was traveling back from Las Vegas to Los Angeles when Google Maps suggested a detour from Interstate 15. A sandstorm was wreaking havoc on the highway, so the drivers were directed to an alternative route that was supposed to be some 50 minutes faster.

The line of cars using the route was huge, and nobody thought it'd be dangerous to follow Google Maps' directions until they entered an unpaved road.

After driving for a while, several cars got damaged during the off-road experience, so the entire convoy decided to make a U-turn and go back to the interstate. Google apologized for the mishap, claiming it had already removed the unpaved road from the routing engine for people traveling between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

Graham Anderson, a cattle farmer from Queensland, Australia, also learned the hard way that the broken Google Maps guidance could cause massive disruption.

The new Google Maps colors
Photo: Google forums
The man says Google Maps sent hundreds of drivers looking for Isla Gorge to his doorstep despite the park's entrance being some 20 kilometers away. However, because the Isla Gorge is located just next to his property, Google Maps suggests the route as a shortcut, sending drivers to his 2,800-hectare land in an attempt to get them to the park faster.

There's no entrance to the park from the property, the cattle farmer tells every driver. He says around 200 groups entered his property in the last few years, all sent by Google Maps.

The man turned to an unusual but efficient solution to fight the herds of travelers entering his property. He erected a dedicated sign to tell drivers they're not following the correct route even if they use Google Maps for turn-by-turn directions.

"Trust me, not Google Maps," the sign reads, along with a direction arrow indicating that Isla Gorge is located 17.5 kilometers away on the highway. Anderson says the sign was effective, as the number of people knocking on his door for information has reduced significantly lately.

The new Google Maps colors
Photo: Google forums
Google told the local media that it also updated the information on Google Maps to prevent drivers from being directed to private property. However, Anderson says he leaves the sign where it is, especially because it serves its purpose right.

The man says the hardest part was to come up with a message that convinced drivers they were following the wrong directions. He knew most drivers trust Google Maps blindly, so simply erecting a sign telling them where Isla Gorge was located wasn't enough. He needed a "bold statement," he explains, adding that the humorous message convinced more drivers to look up the right directions in Google Maps.

The search giant says it resolves these blunders as quickly as possible but recommends drivers to download offline maps when traveling through the bushes, as it's critical to have up-to-date information even when driving in a region without a cellular signal.

However, it's not always that easy, and authorities in various regions worldwide learned it the hard way. Google sometimes needs weeks or even months to correct the errors on Google Maps, so city officials in several countries turned to dedicated road signs to tell drivers that the navigation app is wrong. They erected signage to correct broken navigation routes suggested to drivers by the app, as even the smallest error can disrupt small and quiet communities.

The case also highlights the importance of always planning a trip. When used correctly, Google Maps is a fantastic tool, but the application can suggest alternative routes that could eventually be dangerous, especially when looking for unpaved roads.

Google Maps satellite mode navigation
Photo: autoevolution
Google is trying to address this problem with a feature whose rollout is taking place gradually worldwide. Immersive View for routes is a new route preview option that relies on overwhelming data to make every journey more predictable. It includes information from Street View, satellite imagery, traffic details, and weather conditions to create a multi-dimensional view with realistic information on the mobile device.

Drivers can preview the route and access essential information that allows them to get familiar with every turn, eventually preparing for the journey when driving on a route they've never used before. Immersive View for routes is available in limited regions, but Google is working around the clock to expand it to more users.

Meanwhile, if you come across a Google Maps navigation error, the best thing you can do is report it to Google. The company promises to correct the incorrect information as quickly as possible, so use all the available tools to signal the problem, including the built-in Google Maps reporting feature and the official community forums where community specialists could forward the report to the company.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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