Google Maps upgrade to TeleAtlas: “Data may not be optimal”

Last week, Google announced that they were switching over Google Maps data from NavTeq to TeleAtlas. At the time they noted that “there may also be some cases where the data may not be optimal”.

With Google’s rapid switch over to TeleAtlas and Google’s high visibility these reports of missing streets are likely to increase over the next several weeks as these problems with TeleAtlas’ data are uncovered. As Miriam Ellis points out on her blog, this missing Map’s data can cause incredible marketing problems to the small business that experiences it.

There are reports starting to flow into Google Groups of this being the case. What should you do if this happens to you or one of your clients?

====================================
TOPIC: my street disappeared
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== 1 of 2 ==
Date: Sat, Sep 20 2008 4:02 pm
From: jampye

My street, Olson Drive, 92833, completely disappeared from the maps.
It was there last week. What happened to my street?

== 2 of 2 ==
Date: Sat, Sep 20 2008 7:04 pm
From: Tyler

Mine did too. Ashburn Lane, 27703. I followed their suggestions to add it to their map provider, but they said it can take up to 6months:

====================================
TOPIC: Change to Tele Atlas a HUGE step backwards
====================================

== 1 of 1 ==
Date: Sat, Sep 20 2008 9:11 am
From: DR

The entire area of north Lacey WA is incorrect. It shows streets that aren’t there, mis-names streets, and skips streets. Before the switch the area was correctly shown. It also is correctly shown on MapQuest

Really bad move for Google Maps.
====================================

Google is not unique in this regard. All mapping sites (Mapquest, Yahoo, Google etc) rely on either NavTeq or TeleAtlas for their underlying data. I have no direct experience, but I have read that it could take up to 6 months for the new data to filter through from TeleAtlas to Maps. It is incredible, but understandable, to me that in this age of instant information that data latency is so long.

If you experience this problem on any map, you should report it to the map data provider.

Google is using TeleAtlas exclusively and the url for corrections is: http://www.teleatlas.com/ForConsumers/MapFeedback/index.htm

At the Google Maps Help Center – Fix an Error on Google Maps notes that “you can put your own road or neighborhood on the map using My Maps quite easily as a temporary fix…Once you’re done, all public maps will be searchable in Google Maps almost immediately.”

Mapquest, MSN & Yahoo all use NavTeq and you can report via the NAVTEQ consumer error reporting link:
http://mapreporter.navteq.com/dur-web-external/secured/submitDur.do?userType=CONSUMER

At Mapquest you can also report the error here on their Report a map or driving directions problem page.

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Google Maps upgrade to TeleAtlas: "Data may not be optimal" by

7 thoughts on “Google Maps upgrade to TeleAtlas: “Data may not be optimal””

  1. Hey Mike,
    Yes, just think of the problems this may present for small business owners (well, big ones, too, for that matter).

    – Customers who don’t call in being sent to the wrong place
    – Customers who do call in having to listen to a rigmarole about “please don’t look us up on Mapquest, Google or Yahoo. Please look at our website.”
    – People new in town or on vacation getting totally lost
    – People who can’t find a business determining that it has gone out of business

    It all boils down to frustration for the customer and loss of business for the owner.

    Now, we never did depend on YP for giving us directions to businesses. If we needed to know where something was, we phoned up a shop and asked for directions. But the major mappers have changed that, and people are supposed to be able to depend upon the Internet to get them where they want to go…and oh, hey…what about those GPS devices? Who does their mapping?

    A small frustration like not being able to find a hair salon is one thing. But what if you were trying to find a hospital in the middle of the night and Navteq or Teleatlas sent you to the wrong place? Not good, and I agree that 6 months is going to be an awfully long time if it takes that long.

    Google needs to set up a much more instant response to the error reporting that is starting to flow in as a result of the switch to Teleatlas.

    I really appreciate your coverage of this, Mike. It’s quite a problem.
    Miriam

  2. I don’t think that they should have switched over to the TeleAtlas system. There has been so many issues with it, that I don’t see how it could have been a wise idea.

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