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December 27th, 2001

That Wacky MapQuest

During a normal conversation, the phrase “And I got directions from Mapquest” is usually followed by either laughter or sympathetic groans. Why? Because while Mapquest’s directions will get you from point to point with bizarre phrases such as “make a slight right,” it rarely will take you the shortest route possible. It seems like the results today are no better than when Mapquest started a number of years ago (it’s now an AOL property).

For instance, last week my wife and I were on our delayed honeymoon in New York and were looking to get from Ithaca to Burdett. Mapquest’s directions indicated a one hour, six minute trip. Fortunately, I came across much better directions on the web site of the bed and breakfast we went to. Total driving time using the better directions: 25 minutes, and that’s driving the speed limit. As you can see from the link above, Mapquest’s directions would have taken us in a “V” rather than anything resembling a straight line. (Something funny I noticed on the above map: there’s actually a town called “Podunk.”)

Have you had any wacky Mapquest experiences? -ram

Posted in Technology

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