Are directions to your business/home in online maps missing or incorrect?

By Sandra Clitter  

Saturday, while I was putting stuff out on my driveway for a yard sale, I realized that maps – the kind you used to get at the gas station or AAA – are quickly becoming a thing of the past…maybe even collector’s items. I actually thought about pulling them back into the garage, but decided that I’d let someone else make ‘millions’ from my old Esso (remember that?) maps of New Jersey.

Like many people, I use online directions and mapping (typically Yahoo Maps, Google Maps or Mapquest) to get from place to place. No, I don’t have a GPS in my car yet. I know that my smartphone can act as a GPS, but it drains the battery very quickly, so I don’t use it. I try to plan ahead {grin} and print off my directions. There are times when I have NO IDEA where I’m going (no familiarity with the town or area), so I’ll print off directions from more than one site. Why? Because I have found times when the online maps fail me!! They tell me to turn left into a brick wall, or make me get off at a different exit than the signs indicate I should. It can be frustrating, but usually, I get where I’m going.

Real trouble can arise when you try to find something relatively new. Say, for example, your friends just moved into a new development. The directions get you as far as the entrance to the development, but not through the maze of the development itself. Or perhaps, as happened with one of my clients, your address changes with the Post Office (no, the business didn’t move…the USPS simply changed the address), so now the old address is the one in the mapping, but the new address is the one that people need. If you put the new address into mapping software, you end up about 3 miles away from the ‘real’ location you’re trying to reach.

I’ve always thought that you just have to wait it out, that the maps will eventually get changed. I never knew ‘how’ Google or Yahoo or Mapquest would ‘know’. I just figured that they have some way of ‘catching up’. For my client, it’s been 18 months, and the maps are still wrong. I didn’t know that there was a way to get the Google Maps, at least, caught up.

Imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon Google Map Maker. Google Map Maker allows you to map things previously unmapped (e.g. your favorite corner tappy or pizza joint), fill in buildings on your college campus, create walking paths, and yes, even correct locations!

Click here to go to Google Map Maker for the US

Edits that you make will be reviewed before going live. You can move addresses if they show up in the incorrect location. You can add local spots, so they will appear on maps. You can add building outlines to show greater detail than just a dot on a map. Add walking paths, parks, bike paths, etc.

I almost can’t wait until the next time the directions fail – I’m empowered to go in and help to correct the situation, so others don’t get stuck! Yes, I have already submitted the address change for my client’s location.

I’m not sure if Mapquest or Yahoo have similar self-updating options available. I looked, but didn’t find any links. I’d be happy to post the links if someone happens to have them.

One Comment

  1. Posted May 19, 2011 at 7:53 am | Permalink | Reply


    This was totally new to me, so Thanks Very Much!

    I went to check the location of my favorite local theater and much to my surprise, I found that a friend had updated the location 414 days ago. (I guess this has been around longer than you and I had surmised!)

    Now I know how to update maps! (Dang… another shiny object to draw me away from my work!)

    Charlie Seymour Jr

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