Apple Maps, Google Maps routed Washington highway drivers onto dirt road

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in iOS
For around a month, both Apple Maps and Google Maps routed eastbound drivers around I-90 construction in Washington State, sending them down dirt roads where they got stuck and had to be towed.




It's a decade since errors in Apple Maps were being described as life-threatening, but it's still possible for changes in real-world conditions to not be represented on the map. From early October 2022 to November 10, 2022, seeming all online maps and GPS route devices were tripped up by construction work.

According to the Seattle Times, the problem began as Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) worked on widening the I-90 from four to six lanes between Hyak and Easton, in Kittitas County. That work required eastbound traffic to be shifted onto a stretch of the westbound side of the freeway.

The mapping services would first have identified that traffic was being slowed down in the area. The way online maps work, every section of road effectively gets a score to do with its length and traffic conditions, and at some point dirt roads and Forest Service roads were being identified as the better route.

WSDOT spokesperson Summer Derrey told the Seattle Times that as the construction work is due to take up to five years, the department had attempted to contact Apple Maps and Google Maps.

"We recognize there's a problem," she said. "We've been emailing them. [But the] mapping services are not easy to get a hold of."

Reportedly neither Apple nor Google responded to WSDOT. However, both mapping services appeared to fix the problem by November 10, 2022.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    I reported a problem on apple maps where directions told cars to turn into a bus only turn.
    (camera to catch offenders).
    The problem was fixed within 2 days.
    dewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 15
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    And this happened with human drivers. Think what could happen with AI telling AI cars where to turn. 😳
    muthuk_vanalingamTomPMRIdewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 15
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,329member
    Not familiar with that particular construction zone, but I'd bet the detours are signed and the drivers would just meed to pay a little bit of attention instead of blindly following the navigation instructions. One might think the instructions may not be as current in a construction zone.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 15
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,269member
    This wouldn't be the only place navigation is wrong. With many freeways under construction, mapping software can't keep up with the temporary lane changes. Also in WA, I've seen Maps send me off the freeway when I know my lane keeps going but it makes it look like I'm on the wrong side of the freeway. If anyone has driven on the HOV lane through downtown Seattle (which does underground for a bit) you know not to follow the directions because it thinks you're above ground on a side street. People simply need to follow signs and use judgment when driving. As for AI, my hope is it will be smart enough to read signs including detours to keep you on the road. Of course, road construction will be the most difficult thing to program into any autonomous driving system.

    As far as the Snoqualmie Pass, they're also adding wildlife overpasses to save both the animals and people. 
    roundaboutnowdewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 15
    There are nearly 64,373,760km (40,000,000 miles) of roads on earth. GPS giving a detour where some drivers took that route then got stuck during constriction seems like a non story. 
    edited November 2022 danoxmike1dewmeFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 15
    hagarhagar Posts: 132member
    Expanding a 4 lane highway to 6 lanes? 12 lanes in total? Impressive how the US is still stuck in the previous century. There are other ways to address traffic jams. 
    TomPMRIavon b7watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 15
    I was returning to Colorado from the Seattle area at the end of October, and was mystified to see that both Google Maps and Apple Maps were not showing I-90 as a possible route home (like they have always in the past).  Since I hadn’t heard anything locally about issues with I-90, I started driving home that way. A few miles before the construction zone, Apple Maps was telling me to turn south onto a very rural road that I knew was not a good way to go, especially with fresh snow on the ground.  Now I know why…
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 15
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,784member
    I was very disappointed on a drive from Florida to New Hampshire and back this year.  I used the latest Apple Maps and its new way points to plot and save the route I wanted, mainly avoiding I95 and going inland.  I double checked it ,and sent it from the Mac to my iPhone.  CarPlay received it and ran it.  The only problem was it decided to change everything and did not even come close to honoring my decisions. It tried to redirect me through the middle of New York in one example when I had plotted the route via I84.  I was in no rush, and wanted the more country routes, even if a little longer, where there are nice towns to stay in.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 15
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,537member
    There are nearly 64,373,760km (40,000,000 miles) of roads on earth. GPS giving a detour where some drivers took that route then got stuck during constriction seems like a non story. 
    Totally agree. I think we’re taking for granted capabilities that previous generations would not even believe were possible. I still remember fumbling with paper maps, then AAA trip tics, and Mapquest printouts. Finally we got GPS navigators that got updated once a year and could become useless when crossing international boundaries, like Buffalo to Toronto, before everyone got near perfect navigation by virtue of buying a smartphone. We have never had anything close to what we have today. Is it perfect? Nope. But it’s amazingly good and with live crowdsourcing it gets even better.

    Admit it, we’re terribly spoiled. Now we’re offended when these technologies don’t completely absolve us from having to engage our brains when faced with the tiniest little wrinkle or deviation from the normal state. Adaptation and ability to deal with change and unforeseen obstacles in real time is key to human survival. I wonder if some of these mud covered drivers would starve to death if all of their forks were in the dishwasher and they were unable to figure out on their own how to employ a “spoon device” - omg - to shovel their chicken nuggets and tater tots into their pie hole?
    FileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 15
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,269member
    hagar said:
    Expanding a 4 lane highway to 6 lanes? 12 lanes in total? Impressive how the US is still stuck in the previous century. There are other ways to address traffic jams. 
    4 lanes usually means 2 in each direction. 6 lanes means 3 each way. This expansion is done when they need a truck lane for slow traffic, something that happens at a pass going over a mountain. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 15
    mike1 said:
    Not familiar with that particular construction zone, but I'd bet the detours are signed and the drivers would just meed to pay a little bit of attention instead of blindly following the navigation instructions. One might think the instructions may not be as current in a construction zone.
    Future Ads will need to read signed language. This should not be a problem with Apple's optical reader technology. 
  • Reply 12 of 15
    lkrupp said:
    And this happened with human drivers. Think what could happen with AI telling AI cars where to turn. 😳
    The AI would probably be able to handle driving on a dirt road with those fat SUVs. :D
  • Reply 13 of 15
    hagarhagar Posts: 132member
    rob53 said:
    hagar said:
    Expanding a 4 lane highway to 6 lanes? 12 lanes in total? Impressive how the US is still stuck in the previous century. There are other ways to address traffic jams. 
    4 lanes usually means 2 in each direction. 6 lanes means 3 each way. This expansion is done when they need a truck lane for slow traffic, something that happens at a pass going over a mountain. 
    Have you bothered to verify on the map? That particular highway already has 4 lanes in one direction and 5 in the other. Before these constructions. 

    12 lane highways are madness. As science clearly proofs more roads simply attract more cars. It’s not a solution for more fluent traffic. 
    Nor do self driving cars by the way. 

    But yes: Apple Maps. Pretty much still work in progress. The day they add decent Search and put businesses on their actual location will be a good day. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 14 of 15
    smalmsmalm Posts: 677member
    Using an app is no substitution for using your brain.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 15
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,537member
    hagar said:
    12 lane highways are madness. 
    12 lane highways are madness Atlanta. 
    watto_cobra
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