Anders Sundnes Løvlie’s blog about locative media, computer games and electronic text

Lost in navigation

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I just read a kind of cute, kind of sad story. Ever heard of the English villages of Wedmore and Barrow Gurney? Me neither. But more and more stranded truckers are becoming involuntarily familiar with these villages’ narrow streats, through which it apparently is more or less impossible to bring a large, heavy vehicle.

So why is Barrow Gurney, a village to small to have a sidewalk, home to 15,000 dead-ended trucks a day? You said it – GPS navigation systems. For some reason the GPS manufacturers are not able to correct the inaccuracies in their system that tells the truck drivers that these villages are a good shortcut to Bristol Airport.

“We’ve said, ‘Just take us off the map,’ actually,” said Geoff Coombs, chairman of the parish council in Barrow Gurney, according to the story in NY Times. However, he’s not being heard.

I can’t think of a better way to show why open navigation systems and Open Street Map is a really good idea… or as Danny Weitzner over at Open Internet Policy says,

“Semantic web geo-taggers, start your engines. There are lots of ways creative metadata could help here, but my guess is that as the Web gets ’smarter,’ some of what happens out in the world as a result will seem just plain dumb.”

Written by Anders Sundnes Løvlie

Wednesday, December 19, 2007 at 17:00

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