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Online mapping glitches March 2, 2008

Posted by jfoust in General.
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The ability to overlay maps onto aerial/satellite imagery (or vice versa, depending on your point of view) is a powerful tools, as demonstrated by Google Maps/Google Earth and similar product offerings. Such combinations, though, inevitably lead to problems, particularly when the imagery is older than the map data (the inverse is possible, but in my experience less frequent): you’ll notice roads on the map that do not appear in the imagery, for example. There’s also the problem of misregistration, where for some reason the map and image data are not properly aligned, like this Google Maps shot of an area around The Pentagon that has Jefferson Davis Highway going through the middle of a parking lot.

This came to mind this weekend while looking for hotels for an upcoming trip to Florida. I checked the Marriott site and found that, in addition to basic maps, they have a “Bird’s Eye” view that mashes up the map with imagery. I tried it for one hotel and got this result:

marriott.com map-image of Florida hotel

It’s not clear to me whether this is a case of misregistration, or if the hotel has been built since the images were taken. Just to be safe, I picked another hotel. As more companies take advantage of these features, though, they need to be careful of problems like this.

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