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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

FROM: fresh
DATE: Thursday December 27, 2001 -- 12:02:16AM
i use it to roll my marajahoopie, wipe my ass and learn new info, papers the way to go. but i know its the american way to be faster and better, so on that note havin onstar rocks. talk to the lady about random stuff(ie. nacho cheese, how the celts are doin) best way to go!



FROM: Robert
DATE: Thursday December 27, 2001 -- 3:11:04AM
I've given up on MapQuest as a Bible of directions. Nowadays, I just use it to get a map of where I want to be. Getting there isn't too much trouble.



FROM: Chris
DATE: Thursday December 27, 2001 -- 10:49:47AM
I've always found Mapblast to be more accurate.



FROM: Rob
DATE: Thursday December 27, 2001 -- 3:44:58PM
What always gets me is, no matter what, MapQuest always seems to suggest getting on the toll road to get to 495. Even if it's not remotely the fastest way. Freaks.



FROM: Paul
DATE: Thursday December 27, 2001 -- 3:55:32PM
What's odd is that MapQuest suggests that I take the toll road to get to 495 - and I'm not even in the same state as you are, Rob!

In reality, though, MapQuest rarely recommends some major expressways around Chicago; I'm undecided if that's deliberate or not, for said expressways are often clogged.



FROM: jk
DATE: Friday December 28, 2001 -- 12:02:54AM
Mapquest was responsible for my going to the wrong borough for July 4th festivities! I was too lazy to call my friends for directions and relied on Mapquest...there are two streets with the same name just 1/4 mile apart, and I ended up in the parking lot of a lumber yard. Fun!



FROM: Dave
DATE: Saturday December 29, 2001 -- 2:57:48PM
I use www.mapsonus.com which seems to be a little better..



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