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Published On: Wed, Oct 11th, 2017

Google Maps sent a bunch of lost tourists to a small Australian suburb

The Three Sisters at sunset, Blue Mountains National Park, New South Wales, Australia. Not Dargan.
Image: auscape/UIG via Getty Images

Mapping the world to the minute is a task.

And sure, Google Maps can mess up from time to time. But tourists in Australia looking for the country's iconic Blue Mountains have been regularly led astray by the platform. Looking for sweeping Australian bush panoramas, they've instead been landing in a small, quiet cul-de-sac in a suburb called Dargan in New South Wales.

Reported by Fairfax, the Maps error has been causing hundreds of tourists punching "Blue Mountains" into the location search to mistakenly find their way to a pin near Valley View Road. It's 30 minutes away from the desired landing spot of Katoomba, where many of the Blue Mountains' tourist attractions, like the Three Sisters, are.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the residents had so many accidental visitors they decided to put up a sign reading:

BLUE MOUNTAINS is not here 

(Google Maps is wrong) 

You need to go to 

KATOOMBA 

or BLACKHEATH

Google corrected the error after Fairfax alerted it to the incorrectly placed pin. The Blue Mountains have now been put back where they actually are, and searches for "Blue Mountains" will now be directed to the Blue Mountains National Park.

"The various types of data found in Google Maps come from a wide range of sources, including third-party providers, public sources, and user contributions," said Gustaf Brusewitz, spokesperson for Google Australia. 

"Overall, this provides a very comprehensive and up-to-date map experience, but we recognise that there may be occasional inaccuracies that could arise from any of those sources. In this instance, we didn't get it quite right and we have now fixed it. We apologise for any inconvenience caused to local residents and visitors."

This isn't a lone happening for Google Maps. Hundreds of confused tourists found themselves 30 kilometres from a famous cliff in Norway, instead landing in a small town called Fossmork. More seriously, a 2010 Maps error which incorrectly mapped Nicaragua and Costa Rica prompted a continent-wide dispute.

Google does make it pretty easy to report a problem, with edit suggestions for businesses, landmarks, and addresses easily accessible via the Report a Problem tool, found at the bottom right corner of the map.

It just takes a few inconvenienced Maps users to take a couple for the team, I guess.

In the case of the Blue Mountains, sure, you're 30 minutes away from a national landmark, but next time you're using elevation mode, exploring the International Space Station with Street View, avoiding traffic hell or finding a parking space in the blink of an eye, you might forget your little detour.

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Google Maps sent a bunch of lost tourists to a small Australian suburb