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Google Maps is, often, on crack
device
jducoeur
[First of several little posts about Coronation and reflections on the reign.]

The travel to Coronation was generally fun and stress-free, at least insofar as Friday rush-hour driving ever is. But it was a good reminder that Google Maps is an automated program, and sometimes shows poor judgement. To wit: regardless of the traffic on the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike, taking us through the middle of downtown Newark is probably *never* the right answer. This will remind me to look at the route it has laid out, and see what that actually *means*, before uncritically following it.

(On Sunday, we did the more sensible thing: msmemory figured out the route herself, and we just used Google to keep an eye on the traffic...)
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I feel your pain...

for long distance travel, I use it as a map rather than a set of directions, mainly because it always wants me to take the GWB, instead of the more sensible Tappan Zee.

Re: I feel your pain...

Yeah, we noticed that. My route to NJ is quite hard-coded by now (90 to 84 to 15 to 91 to 15 to 287 across the Tappan Zee), so we didn't even turn on Google Maps Navigation until we were in-state. But she looked at it online and had the same experience, that Google desperately wants to take us across the Cross-Bronx and GWB, which is rarely a risk I'm willing to take...

Re: I feel your pain...

GMapsNav seems to want to optimize for shortest distance, and does not take into account traffic, number of turns, or speed of roads. Having a "Recalculate for shortest time" option would be a Good Thing.


Re: I feel your pain...

It's actually not even just shortest distance -- it's some combination of that plus having information about traffic. I had one comical trip from Arlington to MIT, where Google *knew* that Mass Ave was one long traffic jam but damned well wanted me to take that anyway. I took the shorter (and less trafficked) back roads instead, with GMaps screaming at me the entire time to turn onto Mass Ave, despite the fact that, every time I ignored it, its own estimate of the time to destination got shorter. Far as I can tell, this was because it didn't *know* the traffic on the back roads, and was therefore unwilling to route me on them.

I love GMaps in many ways, especially for the real-time (and predictive) traffic info. But they need a lot of work on the routing algorithms -- they're still not as good as my little Garmin...

Re: I feel your pain...

Indeed, whereas my Garmin seems to optimize for shortest time. Of course, it doesn't know about traffic, so I can still run into trouble at times, but it does have a really easy and useful 'detour' button which will sometimes get me around a trouble spot.

Re: I feel your pain...

Actually, my Garmin *does* have traffic info -- but it's dependent on over-the-air reports, so they're not as accurate as the Google info. But when it does know about a jam, it's remarkably good at routing around it: I've learned a number of key shortcuts through Cambridge that way...

Re: I feel your pain...

Some models do have that. My father has one of those. IIRC they're relying on traffic reports from MSN, but they do seem to be less real time than the Google ones. One wonders where each of those sources is ultimately pulling data from.

Re: I feel your pain...

My brother paid for the Darth Vader voice to give him directions. While we were in the car, we were making up new phrases we wanted for a future update, like:

"I have altered your route. Pray I do not alter it further."

I could hear it getting more and more annoyed as we refused to take its suggestions. Then it let out "Turn left at the next intersection. Don't make me destroy you."

Re: I feel your pain...

Oh, yes -- irritating the hell out of GPSes has been a favorite game of msmemory's and mine since we first encountered one, in a Hertz rental car many years ago. It's really only in recent years that the routing software has been good enough that we would even *consider* trusting one to do so without her sanity-checking it against a map. (And usually improving on it.) So we've taken a certain perverse pride in how many times we can force it to say, "Recalculating" at us...

Yesterday I asked Google to show me the route from Waltham (Prospect Hill Forge in particular) to the Weekes Memorial Footbridge in Cambridge. It had no trouble showing me where the footbridge is, about which I was a little surprised (in a pleasant way) but insisted that there was no way to get from one to the other!


Ah -- demonstrating that it understands that you are in New England, and "Yah cahn't get theyah from heah" is a valid answer...

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