In the beginning of October, I blogged about the faults of online map services: "Evidence: Why Internet directions can drive you crazy." Whose fault is it? According to a News.com story that I read today, "Don't blame the online mappers."
Tele Atlas, one of the two main mapping data collectors, capture up-to-date navigation information by driving around cities with videos, computers, and navigation equipment. Michael Mitsock, Tele Atlas chief marketing officer, believes that the inaccuracy of online maps is due to the delay between when the updated information is gathered and when it actually appears on the map sites. "We might change the database tonight, but it might take some time to ripple out to the consumer," he said. "Less often is it an error than a freshness issue."
So, once again, I have to wonder... who is responsible for refreshing the data - if it is, indeed, a "freshness" issue? Mitsock claims that "Online mapping applications typically refresh the data under their maps every 90 days or so." I don't claim to be a database expert, but I suspect that it's possible to decrease the amount of time between data refreshing - or to develop an online mapping application that can. I'm not typically a big finger pointer, but when someone points me in the wrong direction, you better believe I'll give them the finger...
Sonja Thompson started at TechRepublic in October 1999. She is a former Senior Editor at TechRepublic.