tannoy blog — sent to the wrong place

When I first moved to Dublin, google maps failed me badly. I had an important meeting with an agency, to sign a contract for my new job. I found the building’s location using google maps. I went to the place identified, and it turned out they’d got it quite wrong; the correct building was a mile and a half away on Merrion Square.

Today, I’ve suffered a similar experience. The city authorities have installed barriers in our district to prevent illegal parking (which blocks the road so buses can’t get through). We have to use an electronic pass to get past the barriers, so we can park the car in our parking space. We had to pick the passes up by hand. I found the address for getting the pass on google maps, went there, and discovered it was quite wrong. It turned out the correct address was 20 kilometres away. We were under severe time pressure, so losing those hours was annoying.

The irony was that I’d thought the location was strange, so I’d checked it a number of times. Each time, I’d been assured by google maps that the road it found was correct. It did not help that this wrong address was near the end of two city bus routes, so although it seemed a little strange, it appeared to be valid.

The problem, it turns out, was that the correct address, the one in the city, was not regarded by google as being in the city. When given the road and the city name, it selected the wrong place. Had I added the road’s city district, google would have found the correct address. Unfortunately, the address given to us didn’t include the district, and we didn’t know where it was.

To be fair to Google, their problem partially arises because the city name, the canton name, and the country name are all the same (Luxembourg, so good they named it thrice). Furthermore, the underlying error lies with the town official who sent us an incomplete address.

At least we now have the gizmo.