Errors in Google, Bing, Esri, etc Basemaps

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06-19-2019 06:07 AM
New Contributor III

I'm looking to hear thoughts and experiences regarding updates to incorrect data in popular basemaps like Google, Bing, Esri, etc.  Has anyone had success getting a company to update incorrect data in a timely manner?  Should government agencies create competing products that are based on authoritative data? 

Transportation

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Occasional Contributor

I don't worry too much about it.  Free is free. We have some relationships with companies and they can harvest our network from open data.  We recently changed our creative commons license to make it easier for third parties to grab DOT data.  There is money to be made from a road network by private companies, that is their driving factor. I feel they can do it better because things like google navigation, etc are what people are using.

We should complement them by providing the best and most current information possible.Stick to our swim lane and do it well.

New Contributor III

Thanks Eric.  At the DOT, we get contacted by the public to fix issues with street data in private company datasets.  I'm seeing a need that isn't being met by these companies and exploring whether government can do something more, although I agree that we provide our best data for free and they can use it as they wish.

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Occasional Contributor

Are most of the requests from other government entities?

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New Contributor III

Other gov and the public....  We just had a county Chamber send a letter to the Sec of DOT and Executive Direction of the Turnpike Authority about business owners being upset that their businesses were suffering because several newly constructed roads as part of a new bypass project were not showing on Google.  

Regular Contributor

I've had luck getting Google updated both here in the U.S. and in Africa. While I loathe the workflow and the lack of ability to send them bulk updates the work gets done. U.S. updates are faster but have noticed over time its gone from 1 week to about 48 hours. Unsure if it's because of efficiencies on their end or if they use internal rating for validity of users submitted edits so over time I get less scrutiny at review because I have a 5 star rating vs a 2 star rating. Frustrations can arise due to the workflow because I've had them make updates before that are partially correct (i.e. carry a route name wrong direction at an intersection) and then have to submit corrections which can extend the response time from 48 to 96 hours. Never attempted getting Bing updated nor have I tried getting ESRI updated but ESRI you might see faster results working via a proxy (i.e. get data to DeLorme or NAVTEQ that ESRI pulls in) as opposed to their community maps workflow.

New Contributor III

What mechanism did you use to work with Google?

Regular Contributor

Unfortunately, the only interaction to date they have told me they allow is via registered users within their Google Maps application. Sadly, it was easier to get licensing approvals for use of Google Maps on a television broadcast.

Why I mentioned before I loathe it. Essentially, login to Google Maps > click the menu on left side > toward bottom click Send Feedback > select the correct option for "Missing Place", "Missing Road" or "Wrong Information" and follow the workflow. It's a single edit workflow so you will rinse/repeat this a troubling amount of times for each edit you want to make. Additionally, it's a point driven workflow so if you need to adjust a route or add a route you will identify a single point by clicking on the map and then have to spell out the linear correction in the comments of the edit. This is why it happens with the partial errors that you need to re-identify the location and re-do the comments to detail what they got wrong from your initial submission but to date can say I've never had to make more than 2 submissions. As a final point, the only upside to this I have found is the workflow forces you to see their maps/imagery and in cases where you are adding a missing route I can say that if it's not in their imagery it becomes a challenge and I've found it's easier to wait until the imagery shows the new road before submitting the correction.

I've spoken with several people at Google over at least the last 8 years and they all say there's no bulk update option (i.e. send them a KMZ or something OGC compliant, etc.) and this is the only current prescribed workflow for getting this done. Rough but necessary in some cases.

Occasional Contributor

On the money.  This is the workflow given to us also.

Bing maps shows a "Prairie Village" neighborhood in Butler County labeled more prominently than the City of Andover. Those from Kansas City know Prairie Village is a suburban city in Johnson County, KS.  We have never figured out why Bing maps labels Prairie Village in Butler County, and after many years of contacting Bing about the issue and using Bing for our Basemaps - it's still there, and we now prefer not to use Bing basemaps.  

I use OpenStreetMaps for many basemapping purposes, which I like because it is usually updated before anything else, and if it is not I can update it myself including changing of the symbol classification.  I can also grab vector data for the State from https://www.geofabrik.de or similar sites and query, overlay, and show vertical bridge relationships between over/under highways in interchanges, all it costs me is attribution "...CC-by-SA" and/or "© OpenStreetMap contributors..." credits on the maps produced. 

For Garmin/HERE we happen to have a HERE representative who lives near me, I provide him planning resolution information regularly and he is very competitive about processing it through as quickly as possible.  Even though he may have the HERE Maps updated on the day we go open to traffic, it may take 6 months for Garmin to process the updates into their Vehicular GPS device basemaps.  

I would say that based on some conference sessions I've been to lately involving transportation technology, connected and autonomous vehicles and all that - there is room for improvement in this area. Silicon Valley tech companies may think they can do everything without DOT participation but the fact is they can't.  They have to admit they have a problem before we can work with them to solve it, I think some states have solutions ready once the problem is recognized.  

I wish I could link to some of the specific conference presentations I've seen in the last year.  Here are some articles I just googled on the subject:

https://gis.usc.edu/blog/self-driving-cars-and-the-role-of-gis-in-future-transportation/

https://www.gislounge.com/spatial-challenges-navigating-rural-roads-self-driving-cars/

https://spectrum.ieee.org/cars-that-think/transportation/self-driving/mit-experts-selfdriving-cars-w...

I noticed these articles focus on silicon valley technology and never mention state DOT's.