Google cycling directions are still in beta for Perth, and this is what happened when we discovered a couple of bugs on our ride from Thornlie to Atwell which I wrote about in ‘Bike and Train: Half the Pain’.
It was a problem for me because I was not familiar at all with the area we would be cycling through, and because Google’s satellite images for Perth are so old that many don’t accurately represent the roads on the ground. If there isn’t a road on the satellite image, but the shadow of a road is there, it is usually safe to assume one has been built.
Well it wasn’t a safe bet this time!
Problem number 1 – a crucial part of Meriton Blvd has not been built yet, so we were forced to go back out to Nicholson Road.
Problem number 2 – Fraser Road stops when it gets to Jandakot Regional Park. There is a sandy track in it’s place, which is not really navigable for road bikes – it’s like a fire trail. We followed a track we thought was the right one, but it wasn’t. We ended up taking a rather large detour to get back on track.
I reported the bugs to Google and received an automated acknowledgement e-mail. The reporting process was pretty simple, you picked an option “ie the road was closed’ and pick the point at which this was a problem from a list.
The Meriton Boulevard problem was quickly resolved by Google, they send you an e-mail that says:
“Your Google Maps problem report has been reviewed, and you were right!”
Despite submitting the report at the beginning of December, I only just got confirmation that Google Maps have accepted my report regarding Fraser Road. I am not sure how they verified my report, but it seems that they have.
Google maps isn’t a great way to navigate even in the car sometimes, but I think the problems are amplified by the cycling directions because they try to route you through quiet roads. Turns out it would have been better to use more major roads as they have since been re-done and were two empty lanes with bike lanes along some of them as well.
The lesson here I guess is to use Google Maps with caution!