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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Discussion: Another sorry sign of the electronic age

in: Orienteering; General

Dec 10, 2012 1:21 PM # 
Apple Maps problem:

Why don't people buy a real map?
Dec 10, 2012 5:27 PM # 
mmm...maybe because those beautiful, well-detailed, extensive paper maps are no longer printed? This place is one of the last to print detailed local maps that show parks, bike paths, golf courses...and microbreweries!

But unfortunately most of their maps are limited to the west coast. Anyone know of another source of quality local paper road maps?
Dec 10, 2012 11:01 PM # 
Green Trails Maps are certainly still in operation, and are adapting well to the digital age with apps in addition to paper maps. They use original surveys; a friend just did a full resurvey of Marin Headlands.
Dec 10, 2012 11:13 PM # 
The calamity that is Apple Maps is very disappointing, and it's extraordinary that Apple failed to stop its release given the numerous flaws. However, this is the exception rather than the rule. Google Maps has been very successful, and is much more powerful than any paper map. Certainly it can be useful to keep a paper map - in case of obviously flawed directions, low battery, etc - but I think the bigger lesson here is to not blindly follow directions of any sort. Paper maps can also be flawed.

Taking a luddite view of technology is too extreme. One of my friends who has 3-year old twins has made use of map applications on long drives. It's very easy to google the location of the nearest playground and take a quick 20 minute break to tire out the munchkins before resuming the journey. Paper maps are not powerful enough for that purpose.

The problem isn't electronic maps; the problem is bad maps and a determination to adhere to them even when they are patently incorrect.
Dec 10, 2012 11:23 PM # 
Equivalent paper versions of the maps on my $39 GPS would probably not fit in my car.
Dec 11, 2012 2:59 AM # 
Taking a luddite view of technology is too extreme....

I'm not exactly a Luddite. I use satellite view in Google Maps a lot, to scale off walking distances, identify pedestrian-friendly streets that have sidewalks, and anticipate fences I might have to cut through.

But Google Maps has limitations: for one, they seem to be too commercial...they label every Popeye's Pizza and Sizzler restaurant, while neglecting to identify golf courses or many major landmarks, forest preserve details beneath the tree canopy, or lend themselves to my penciled edits and notations.

I use each for several purposes, but neither paper nor digital map does everything. And I mourn the loss of the quality paper maps that have seemingly disappeared overnight.
Dec 11, 2012 3:56 AM # 
@ iansmith, when you were a kid your parents probably didn't need a 'playground' to keep you amused on a long trip - any old patch of land next to where they could pull off the road would have been fine.
Dec 11, 2012 3:57 AM # 
Presumably you would have to ignore things like this.
From 2012-10-21

From 2012-10-21
Dec 11, 2012 3:59 AM # 
Log I was going to add to my original post that signs to Mildura start from the centre of Adelaide!
Dec 11, 2012 4:28 AM # 
Paper maps are pretty much the only option when you want to view an area of a map [edit] that is larger than a tablet or laptop screen. Has DeLorme stopped making its gazetteer atlases?
Dec 11, 2012 4:29 AM # 
Pink Socks:
Who would make a map of an area smaller than a laptop screen? An ant?
Dec 11, 2012 4:41 AM # 
Challenge time for Australians (and any others who are sufficiently brave): who can work out where Invisible's second photo is taken? (If it's where I think it is, it's a place which has attracted my attention for having two 100+ year rainfall data sets within a couple of kilometres of each other).
Dec 11, 2012 4:44 AM # 
Pink Socks:
It was taken 198km from Ivanhoe, 130km from Darnick, 237km from Broken Hill....
Dec 11, 2012 4:46 AM # 
Shouldn't be too hard, though Mr Trewin's hint might not be much help.
Dec 11, 2012 4:50 AM # 
Dec 11, 2012 4:55 AM # 
Pink Socks:
Dec 11, 2012 6:17 AM # 
It was taken from the side of the road.
Dec 11, 2012 7:21 AM # 
Indeed all correct. Nice touch Mr Pink Socks. Very interesting little settlement. Being made over by amenity migration of a low rent kind,,, many kilometres from anywhere else, as the sign shows. There are no intervening settlements to those mentioned on the signs. Proximity of the Darling River is the only draw card.
Dec 11, 2012 8:24 AM # 
Of 'When the bitumen reaches Pooncarie' fame. Don't recall the artist, but the song was released under the Country and Western genre. Has the bitumen actually reached Pooncarie? Myself and Kazza were part of the Mildura Road Runners Dareton to Pooncarie Road Relay the last couple of years we were in Sunraysia. Teams of ten, running 1 km at a time, a coloured hair band was exchanged between runners. Two or three cars per team, driving ahead of the current runner and positioning the next runner. Finished at the sensational Pooncarie Pub, where in a dehydrated state the alcohol quickly kicked in. Never many keen to drive the 120 odd kms home! Special memory- the Monday after one of these relays Kazza discovered she was expecting with Joshy B. So much for avoiding alcohol during pregnancy!! Pooncarie was also the home of the legendary Cullinan brothers - Col, Don and Mark. Magnificent cricketers who would travel to the big smoke of Mildura every weekend in summer to play cricket for Wentworth Services CC. Awesome and frightening talent to play against. They never described how far they travelled to play in km's - the unit of travel was a 'stubby'. I can still hear Col saying "Rusty, it's about a 12 stubby trip!". Thanks for the memories those involved in the Pooncarie references.
Dec 11, 2012 9:06 AM # 
Do I get a prize for tasteful thread hijacking? Moving from a sorry sign of the electronic age to an interesting sign from an older age.
Dec 11, 2012 11:58 AM # 
There is no prize.
Dec 11, 2012 12:04 PM # 
But Google Maps has limitations: for one, they seem to be too commercial...they label every Popeye's Pizza and Sizzler restaurant, while neglecting to identify golf courses or many major landmarks, forest preserve details beneath the tree canopy, or lend themselves to my penciled edits and notations.

You can add these yourself through I've already added every feature I can think of within a few miles of where I live. In the GIS class I teach in the spring we're going to have the students do it for their own neighborhoods. What the academics like to call Volunteered Geographic Information.
Dec 11, 2012 1:21 PM # 
The academics should volunteer their student-collected geographic information to OpenStreetMap so that the info is usable by the larger community. Google's use license is way too restrictive for Google Maps to be useful for navigation-based events. OpenStreetMap's Creative Commons only requires that you make the product of your OSM-derived work available to the community, and not necessarily in an OSM-compatible format. And newer OCADs can read OSM directly.
Dec 11, 2012 1:44 PM # 
^ This.
Dec 11, 2012 2:00 PM # 
Yes, I would say the vast majority of student-collected information (including my students) is already going to OpenStreetMap. Additionally contributing to Google Mapmaker is like having a Windows version of your software - it's the one people will use the most.
Dec 13, 2012 5:52 AM # 
It seems Apple Maps have some mitigating circumstances - the place they were sending people to was the geographic centre of the local council area the Rural City of Mildura (the equivalent of a US county), which covers about the northwesternmost 15,000 square kilometres of Victoria.

I did find it slightly bizarre a few years back, travelling east from South Australia towards Ouyen, to see two signs just after crossing the Victorian border. One said 'Welcome to the Rural City of Mildura', the next said 'Mildura 230'.

(And what's more than slightly bizarre is that I haven't seen the above reported anywhere in the Australian media, and only came across it by accident in a British newspaper -
Dec 13, 2012 6:00 AM # 
This event was well reported in north west Victorian local radio. We love to laugh at the numbskulls from elsewhere.
Dec 13, 2012 6:07 AM # 
We love to laugh at the numbskulls from elsewhere.

Everyone does, but that's what Americans are for. :)
Dec 13, 2012 6:15 AM # 
It was in the (Adelaide) Advertiser. George & I had a good laugh, as we are real-world-map collectors. Surely there would be a sign pointing to the right towards Mildura at the point where one's electronic map sends one west into the desert?
Dec 13, 2012 6:18 AM # 
I meant that the reason why Apple Maps sent people to the middle of nowhere hadn't been reported anywhere as far as I know. The actual sending of people to the middle of nowhere was very well reported...
Dec 13, 2012 9:13 AM # 
radio. We love to laugh at the numbskulls from elsewhere.

Yeah, we noticed.
Dec 13, 2012 12:48 PM # 
...that's what Americans are for. :)

When I lived & worked in Adelaide in the early '70's, it was quite provincial. People would laugh whenever I opened my mouth.... "I luv yer accent!!"

I'm sure Adelaide today is much more sophisticated. And perhaps the citizens may even muffle their laughter, when us Americans speak.
Dec 13, 2012 2:32 PM # 
Google Maps app (re)approved for iPhone/iPad, FYI.
Dec 13, 2012 3:57 PM # 
'sophisticated' and 'Adelaide' should never be in the same sentence
Dec 13, 2012 6:26 PM # 
It seems Apple Maps have some mitigating circumstances - the place they were sending people to was the geographic centre of the local council area the Rural City of Mildura (the equivalent of a US county), which covers about the northwesternmost 15,000 square kilometres of Victoria.

That explains how it happened, but that just means it wasn't an honest data error, it was stupidity on Apple's part.

If I ask for directions to New York, I'd be pissed off (and stupid) if I ended up 26 miles southwest of Utica instead of in Manhattan.
Dec 13, 2012 8:10 PM # 
Apple bought their data from TomTom and it's my understanding from talking to people who should know that they didn't buy the best dataset that TomTom had.
Dec 13, 2012 8:19 PM # 
A few years ago similar stories were being reported of car GPS users travelling from Gippsland to the north east of Victoria via closed snow roads. About once a week emergency services were up there rescuing stranded vehicles. The GPS made them do it. Apple maps didn't exist then. I think the combination of GPS, lack of local knowledge and a sprinkling of idiocy will inevitably lead to more of the same.
Dec 14, 2012 1:34 AM # 
The Google-suggested route from Budapest airport to the the MTBO Training Camp in the Buda hills was, ah, interesting. Especially in the middle of the night.
Dec 14, 2012 11:03 AM # 
Didn't you drive up the really steep "road" like we did? The van stalled a couple of times and had issues getting going again. I think Boltboi's GPS led us that way.

It is my understanding that Apple Maps has more issues than just the location of Mildura.
Dec 14, 2012 11:33 AM # 
Yeah. Character-building.
Dec 16, 2012 11:58 AM # 
I'm a bit late but I did recognise the Pooncarie sign. I went there first as a boy when we drove the mail track along the Darling so I might claim to be the first of this audience to have been there. As a point of interest it was the day that Lionel Rose fought Fighting Harada.
On GPSs. There's a railway line in Roxburgh Park which regularly has GPS users trying to cross it at the "non-crossing". And there's a non-existent road on the edge of Marysville which has regular visitors - it runs along the boundary of my in-laws' property. I don't believe incidents like this are at all uncommon.
And as we are talking north-west Victoria, when you get to one of the Henty Highway settlements please obey the sign - "SPEED, Please Slow Down".
Dec 16, 2012 1:06 PM # 
If you want a map you can draw on, try ScribbleMaps
Dec 16, 2012 1:52 PM # 
I' ve heard Adelaide described as being the only cemetary that is lit up at night.

If you rely on a GPS nav system to get from A to B, can you really call yourself an orienteer?
Dec 16, 2012 10:41 PM # 
Adelaide has streetlights? When did that happen? :)
Dec 16, 2012 11:15 PM # 
But doesn't Adelaide has extended shopping hours? Unlike some Australian states who are still pretending they do....
Dec 16, 2012 11:33 PM # 
Our shops are now open on Sundays, yes. That's been the case for over 10 years. But there's no such thing as extended shopping hours in this town. (Make note of that if you come over for NOL races/WOMAD.)
Dec 16, 2012 11:41 PM # 
We do not have extended trading hours. Previously we just had shortened trading hours.
Dec 16, 2012 11:49 PM # 
Yes. yes. WoMADelaide. I think that is good evidence that Adelaide is no longer a lit up graveyard.
Dec 17, 2012 2:55 AM # 
There are situations where even as an orienteer one is really faster with a GPS, having a map, just in case... I never used a GPS until living in Taiwan. But trying to first decipher things written with Mandarin characters was always much slower than just typing in the pinyin transliteration and checking for the correct characters to pop up. So YES, you can still call yourself an orienteer even if there are situation where you rely on a GPS to get from A to B...
Dec 17, 2012 4:23 AM # 
You have fallen into the trap. I cannot help you from here.
Dec 17, 2012 9:11 AM # 
Who needs extended trading hours when you have Ebay and Wiggle??? I rocked up in Canberra late one night many years ago and waltzed into a supermarket at 2am and had to wake up the checkout chick. Yep - extended trading hours really signifies a city of excitement.

I don't know about the rest of you APers but in my (tiny) circle of friends, I'm the one they all turn to when the GPS fails.
Dec 17, 2012 9:48 AM # 
... because they know who dropped it in the coffee.
Dec 17, 2012 4:11 PM # 
@andreais: Did you continue to use the GPS when you got back to the States?


This discussion thread is closed.