In which she comes to doubt the reliability of Google Map’s suggested routes

by DaniGirl on February 16, 2010 · 11 comments

in How I love the Interwebs

I was playing with Google Maps, trying to show the boys the distance from Los Angeles to Hawaii. It found LA with no problem, and I asked it for directions to Honolulu, Hawaii.

I was perplexed to see it suggested driving up the western coast of the United States, but absolutely tickled when I realized it was suggesting I take to the water in Seattle and kayak up through Puget Sound all the way to Hawaii.

View Larger Map

This begs more than a few questions, including why one couldn’t shave a good week or so off the trip and just start kayaking in, say, the Port of Los Angeles, let alone why Google Maps defaults to kayaking as the suggested mode to traversing the Pacific.

It made me smile, though, so that’s why I wanted to share it with you! Have you come across any other quirks in Google Maps?

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Elise February 16, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Waoh… I wonder if your car is supposed to become the kayak that takes you through the ocean and then back-pedal into a car once you’re on the Hawaï island?

2 Madeleine February 16, 2010 at 2:18 pm

I think it is an intentional funny from Google. There was something similar that went around a few years back that involved swimming across the Atlantic.

3 Mac and Cheese February 16, 2010 at 2:46 pm

Maybe Google knows something about ocean currents?

4 Valerie February 16, 2010 at 3:05 pm

I wonder why it had you zigzag through the park – it didn’t even mention a kayak rental shop or boat launch. 😉

I tried it on MapQuest – it couldn’t do it.

5 Sara in Montreal February 16, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Not as funny as this one for sure, but where you search for directions in Montreal, there’s a few systematic absurdies that would be totally annoying for a tourist with absolutelly no knowledge of the city. Useless detours (especially one on Papineau street that I still don’t get), getting out of a metro station in the middle of nowhere, wanting you to walk through a highway with absolutelly no overpass what so ever – this last one made me so late at a client’s meeting once, it’s the day I started searching for other options when going to places I didn’t know. A good old paper map, for exemple.

Actually, Google map is very usefull, but too often very good on stupid detours. After a couple of bad experience, I always double check the suggestions.

6 Heidi February 16, 2010 at 3:44 pm

lol! That’s funny!

Apparently it isn’t the only place it suggests kayaking as the mode of transport for ocean travel:

7 Amber February 16, 2010 at 5:17 pm

I used to work on an island, which really isn’t that exotic. It was a large industrial park on the Fraser River, and there were a couple of bridges that you could take on and off the island. However, the Google Maps route suggested that you take public transit to a point that was NOT on the island, and then walk. Across the water. It had a little blue line right across the river, nowhere near any bridge. Which was maybe only 100m across at that point, but still not really do-able as a default route to work. The kayak might actually be an improvement over that.

8 Jenn February 16, 2010 at 8:05 pm

What disturbed me last summer were the google map directions I followed to a small hospital for a hearing test. There was nothing but fields at our “destination”. We were heading to an appointment for a hearing test however the hospital does have an emergency department.

9 Nat February 16, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Kayak is funny. It told us to swim when we came to type in directions to NL…

10 Finola February 16, 2010 at 9:55 pm

I love it! More software should have a sense of humour.

11 BeachMama February 18, 2010 at 9:27 pm

When you used to Google Map NYC to London England it told you to “Swim”, not sure if it still does or not. But, it was fun to look up back when it did.

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