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Why Google Maps is Only For Satellite Photos of Sunbathers


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I wrote this as a note on my facebook. If I had a blog, I would have written it there.

So for vacation every year, I go to a thing called Quakecon. It's a 3-day 3,000 person LAN party sponsored by all the computer hardware major players and id software (the guys who made the Quake, Wolfenstein, and Doom games). This year is my third year attending, and it is the best vacation a geek can get.

In this day and age, what do you do when you need directions from Point A to Point B? Well, you could get out the atlas and do it by hand, or you can go to either Google Maps or Mapquest and have them do all the work for you. Being the geek that I am, I trusted Google Maps to get me from Kenosha, WI to Dallas, TX. We printed out directions and disembarked for the 16 hour drive that was ahead of us.

The drive went well through all states (Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas) until we got to Texas. The first incident was hardly anybodies fault, unless you want to blame Mother Nature. Quakecon decided to schedule itself for the one week of this year where the ourskirts of Dallas are underwater. And by that I mean: About 70 miles outside of Dallas (on the home stretch of the trip), it started raining... Then it started pouring... Then... rather than the old man snoring, the fucker decided to chug 30,000 Gallons of water and take a massive piss. It felt like we were driving through a hurricane. I could not see but 5 feet in front of me, and all that I could see was the ghost of the tail-lights of the car in front of me. At one point, going over a bridge, I got splashed by the car in the adjacent lane, and blinded me for about 10 seconds. Here I am, on a bridge, in the middle of what seems like a tropical storm, with a guardrail on my left, and a car on my right, and I can't.see.shit. I thought I was going to crash into something, but lucky, my hands locked on that steering wheel and it didn't budge. We decided it would be best to pull into a gas station and wait for the storm to die down, which we did. We waited for about 30 minutes until it died down, and then we continued onward.

With only about 20 miles to go, we entered downtown Dallas. For those of you that have never been to downtown Dallas, it becomes a cluster-fuck of highway exchanges, but never fear! I had my trusty Google Maps directions to guide me! So we follow the directions to the tee, and when we get there... wait... where's the damn hotel? What the fuck? It's the same hotel as last year, why isn't it here? I remember what the hotel looks like... but it's not fucking here! At this point, I started freaking out. We checked our trusty atlas, figuring out where the hell we were, then called the hotel to ask for directions.

Turns out that Google Maps though the hotel was in a different place. Now, I understand that Google Maps can be slightly off. You know how you look on the satellite photos of your house, and Google Maps says it's the one three houses down? Well, in this case, it wasn't three houses down, or even three blocks down. Google Maps was off by FIFTEEN fucking miles. Unless the hotel decided to move itself 15 miles north, and then change its mind, all within a period of one year, Google fucked up. We had the directions from Mapquest for the previous year still in the car (why we didn't just use those, I don't know, but using Google Maps was my idea). Mapquest was right, Google Maps was wrong. FIFTEEN FUCKING MILES wrong, and in downtown Dallas, in a rainstorm, during rush-hour, fifteen miles takes awhile to make up.

But, we eventually made it, and now I'm in the Quakecon BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) LAN party, and it's a blast. Time to stop ranting on facebook and start playing some games (I already got quite a few free t-shirts and shit, but the LAN is still young).


Anyone else ever been lead astray by Google Maps? I've been talking to a few friends and they've told me some stories about Google Maps being completely wrong in the directions.

BTW: Quakecon this year is awesome. In a few hours, I'm gonna check out the Left 4 Dead beta :D

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Yeah, Google Maps has been wrong before for me. I put in an address for a place just north of Atlanta, and it told me that it was south of where I was, right next to 285 (the highway that goes in a circle around Atlanta). In reality, it was in the completely opposite direction, about 10 minutes north form where I started.

Since then I've reconfirmed everything Google has told me with MapQuest.

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The only time its led me astray is when I went to NY, near Flushing I think. Its map showed our destination at the other end of the street, so we went like 1/2way down and started looking at numbers and said "wtf, wrong direction". It was a 1-way but we just looped around and found our way. Not horrific, maybe delayed us 2 minutes :)

Right now I'm planning a trip to NC from CT, so yeah... Google, you bettah be right :P.

A little concerning.... I've been checking the route for a few times over the last few weeks(anxious to get moving :oops: ). It used to send me through Pennsylvania and down 81, then directly south into charlotte. now its sending me through jersey, maryland, etc down I-95... So for some reason in the past week its changed its mind on which route to take... :shock:

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since im ocd, love google earth and generally have a plethora of time on my hands i fly around the points of interest on the way and basically memorize everything. plus i have a nifty gps thingey that works with my laptop that i take with me if i need it. used it just last tuesday.

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