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June 10, 2014 9:18 PM   Subscribe

How can I tell Google Maps and GPS navigation systems that there has been a gate across part of my road since the mid-90s?

My road leads into the back end of a state park. Where the road leaves residential land and continues into the park, there is a gate across to block automobiles from traveling into or out of the park. So essentially, 200 yards past my house it's a dead-end, unless you're on a bike or a horse. It's lovely!

The only problem is, no one told Google or Garmin or TomTom or whatever that the gate is there, even though it's been there since 1997 or so. The roads through the park would be the most direct route from the main highway to my house... if not for the gate. So whenever someone comes to my house from the direction of the highway and most of civilization, I have to give a convoluted explanation about how their satellite navigation system will send them on a route that leads them through the state park and leaves them stranded behind a gate, 200 yards away from my driveway, very confused.

I always explain. But naturally people would rather listen to the authority of the car computer, and they end up getting stuck. I have to create a long explanation about how they should set their destination to the business at the corner of the road that leads to my house from the OTHER direction, and here's why, because park! gate! stranded!.

It's tiresome. It's me writing this post, every single time.

Is there a way to get the maps updated? Can I contact or notify or something? If the gate is on the map, I get back all these wasted minutes of my life. What can I do?
posted by Lou Stuells to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You can report a problem on Google Maps. I did this when I noticed that they'd misidentified a Walmart as a school in a small town in South Arkansas. A while later (weeks? I don't remember), I got a notice that they'd accepted my correction.
posted by wintersweet at 9:31 PM on June 10, 2014 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Here's TomTom's map reporter.

Here's Navteq's. AFAIK, Navteq is what Garmin uses for map data.

Here's Garmin's error report form, which seems more geared to people with the actual GPS units, but it's worth a try.

You can edit the maps directly for Waze, a popular phone GPS app.

It also seems like more and more devices/services are using data from OpenStreetMap which is also editable like Waze's maps. It's not so easy though.
posted by zsazsa at 9:57 PM on June 10, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: If you are comfortable using Google's GIS tools, you can fix Google Maps yourself! Anyone with a Google Account can use Google Map Maker to propose changes to the Google Maps database. I've submitted lots of edits, and they've all been approved by a reviewer at Google within 24 hours or so and gone live on the main Google Maps site within a week or two (although I think Google says 2-3 months).

If I were making the edit I would change the "Priority" attribute of the road segment at the gate to "No auto traffic" (make sure to include a note in the comments to your edit describing why you are applying the change).
posted by RichardP at 10:51 PM on June 10, 2014 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: I love you guys.
posted by Lou Stuells at 5:11 AM on June 11, 2014 [5 favorites]

I once submitted a correction to Google Maps, because they had grouped a ferry which costs money in with the walking directions rather than the transit directions. They sent me an email about a week later which was basically like "we can't make this change for X reasons, sorry, but we appreciate your email," and I definitely got the impression that an actual human had evaluated my request.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:37 AM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

This sounds like the time to remind people of the famous song by jessamyn: Hey Google, My Town's in the Lake
posted by CathyG at 7:37 AM on June 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

There's a much easier way to edit OpenStreetMap; go straight to the OSM site and click "Edit". The iD editor in Javascript there is very slick and easy. Does require a login. Last time I marked a gate on the map I did it by changing the feature type of the road segment from "residential road" to "gate". That may not be correct though, particularly if the road is long and you want to just note a tiny portion is a gate.

As noted above, OpenStreetMap is being used for a lot of map services these days. If a digital map is not Google Maps there's a good chance it's OSM instead.
posted by Nelson at 7:45 AM on June 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

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