Sardinia to Tourists: Stop Using Google Maps

It's sending travelers to places they really shouldn't be
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 15, 2019 3:58 PM CDT
Google Maps Causing All Sorts of Problems in Sardinia
In this Aug. 8, 2018, file photo, a mobile phone displays a user's travels using Google Maps in New York.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Sardinia has a message for tourists: Maybe don't blindly follow Google Maps. Authorities in Baunei say that over the past two years there have been 144 emergency calls for cars and hikers requiring rescue in the village, located in the eastern province of Ogliastra on the Italian island in the Mediterranean. Most recently, two tourists looking for the island's famous white sand coves ended up on a rough road in a mountain range known for its vertical rock faces. Such tourists do not have to pay to be rescued; the local community effectively funds the efforts, CNN reports. "Too many sedans and hatchbacks are getting stuck on unpassable tracks—sometimes offroad vehicles too," Baunei's mayor says. "All because they follow Google Maps, whose instructions are often misleading on our roads."

He says tourists seeking "hidden" beaches end up following GPS directions that take them down off-road mountain tracks that aren't meant for cars. Local authorities have put up signs in both Italian and English urging drivers, "don't follow the directions on Google Maps" and warning that only all-terrain vehicles should proceed on certain roads. They also plan to hand out paper maps to tourists, the Guardian reports. The mayor says officials have also been in touch with Google about a solution. "We're aware of an issue in Sardinia where Google Maps is routing some drivers down roads that can be difficult to navigate due to their terrain," the company tells CNN. "We're currently investigating ways that we can better alert drivers about these types of roads." (Stories like this are fairly common.)

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