“Do not trust the GPS”: Google Maps places rural town 85km north of its actual location

Kharkiv, Ukraine - August 2, 2014: Google Maps Navigation software in use on an Apple iPhone 5s. iPhone is product Apple Inc. Google Maps is a most popular web mapping service application and technology provided by Google inc.

An error on Google Maps has placed the rural Queensland town of Eromanga almost 100 kilometres away from where it is actually located.

And according to the mayors of a handful of rural towns, this isn’t the first time the popular travel app has caused problems for them.

According to ABC News, retired pilot Gareth Davey found that Eromanga was mistakenly placed about 85 kilometres north of its actual location while flying over the area.

“Even though I flew over the town on the way out, on Google Maps I didn’t go over Eromanga, which I thought was quite unusual,” he said.

“I got onto Corey Richards there at the museum in Eromanga and said, ‘Mate are you seeing the same thing I’m seeing? Is it just my computer?'” he said.

“And he goes, ‘Nah, you’re right, it’s a bit crook’.”

The error has since been amended by Google, but the mistake highlights a problem rural towns have been experiencing for some time now.

Mayor of western Queensland’s Quilpie Shire Council Mayor Stuart Mackenzie told ABC News that the app had suggested “bizarre” routes in the region that stray from main roads.

“Instead of following the main highway, they’ve got the only route going through property roads, if in fact there’s even roads there, taking it off the highway and through the scrub,” he said.

“It’s extraordinary and very scary, actually.”

Barcaldine Regional Council Mayor Sean Dillon has also expressed concern, telling the national broadcaster that the outback’s low population could explain Google’s lack of interest, but with more and more Aussies exploring their own backyard due to the international travel ban, the errors could cause a huge problem for tourism.

“I can share the sentiments of tourism operators who’ve invested significant money in infrastructure to upgrade and that’s not being accurately reflected, whether that’s on Street View or a rating system,” he said.

“It’s disappointing and the ‘Google Maps and go anywhere’ approach does lead to significant concern with tourists travelling into areas they think [are] safe and normal to travel, and quite often isn’t.

“Do not trust the GPS.”

Featured image source: iStock/aleksle

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