With Google Maps, the Australian outback is nowhere more than ever - The360 Travel

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  • Saturday, December 14, 2019

    With Google Maps, the Australian outback is nowhere more than ever

    With Google Maps, the Australian outback is nowhere more than ever

    Outback tourism players, the vast and desert hinterland of Australia, are back against Google Maps whose inaccuracies discourage visitors by believing that some sites are even more lost than in reality.


    Many companies trying to promote their small remote communities in the state of Queensland despair by consulting the online mapping site, which sometimes estimates that at 11 am a trip that is actually "only" six hours.

    So much so that the state government wrote to the American giant, who responded Wednesday promising to address the issue.

    "People do not come because they think it's too far, or they miss a gas station, or they're sent on a road where there's no gas station," Robyn plague Mackenzie, Eromanga Natural History Museum, a tiny town 1060 km west of Brisbane, the capital of Queensland.

    "People are afraid to travel in the outback because they do not trust the cartography," explains the director of this museum devoted to dinosaurs and megafauna to ABC.

    Peter Homan of the Queensland Outback Tourism Association explains that travelers are often dissuaded by inaccuracies "that can go up to six or seven hours" in the travel times announced by Google Maps.

    Mapping errors have also pushed motorists away from main roads by sending them to private properties that may exceed 32,000 km2, a larger area than Belgium.

    Mistakes all the more unfortunate in some particularly inhospitable areas that have experienced recurrent episodes of drought for years.

    "You can drive for half a day before seeing something that will make you understand that you are not on the right road, but on private property because they are so big," says Homan.

    In the face of backcountry discontent, the Queensland government has decided to hold Google accountable.

    "We are so reliant on these applications to find us in cities or in big states like Queensland," said acting Queensland prime minister Cameron Dick.

    "Google Maps is doing everything possible to model and accurately reflect the real world," the US giant said in a statement.

    "We are investigating to see what has happened and we will take appropriate action. We apologize to companies or communities that may have been negatively affected by errors on the map."

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