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Google Maps directions are so bad in this Italian town, the app has been ‘banned’

Published Oct 17th, 2019 9:26AM EDT
Google Maps
Image: Patrick Semansky/AP/Shutterstock

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I had some minor frustrations with Google Maps during a recent stay in Paris, which I wrote about here and which caused me to switch to relying on Apple Maps — at least until I got back home. In one Italian town, meanwhile, those headaches I wrote about are apparently on a whole other level.

The Sardinian village of Baunei has actually had to rescue so many tourists and travelers who’ve gotten lost and stuck over the past year that the town has actually begun actively begging people not to use Google Maps at all. The mayor of the village, Salvatore Corrias, has given a number of interviews to the press in recent days trying to steer people away from using the app. And the town has even started putting up road signs that instruct drivers: “Do not follow the directions of Google Maps.”

According to Corrias, the village has had to embark on a grand total of 144 rescue missions over the past two years to save drivers who’ve specifically been following directions they got from the app. “Too many sedans and small cars get stuck on impassable paths, sometimes even off-road vehicles, too,” he told a local news agency. “All this because you follow the suggestions of Google Maps which, on our roads, are often misleading.”

You can see a glimpse of one of the road signs below:

We put the word ‘banned’ in apostrophes above, because, of course, the town can’t actually stop people who want to use Google Maps from doing so. Generally, it is the superior mapping product. Given that this is a town with lots of mountain roads and not developed to the extent of a large and easily-mapped city, that doesn’t mean common sense shouldn’t still be exercised. Corrias said as much to The Guardian this week, telling the outlet that the town can’t formally “ban” the app, but it can engage in this kind of public awareness campaign where it’s warning drivers — “Do not use Google Maps, as you’ll end up in an obscure place.”

The town, meanwhile, has alerted Google to the issue of its maps not being up to par, and, according to a Google spokesman: “We are 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. We are currently investigating ways that we can better alert drivers about these types of roads.”

On a lighter note, did this issue call to mind a certain scene from The Office for anyone else, or was it just me?

Andy Meek Trending News Editor

Andy Meek is a reporter based in Memphis who has covered media, entertainment, and culture for over 20 years. His work has appeared in outlets including The Guardian, Forbes, and The Financial Times, and he’s written for BGR since 2015. Andy's coverage includes technology and entertainment, and he has a particular interest in all things streaming.

Over the years, he’s interviewed legendary figures in entertainment and tech that range from Stan Lee to John McAfee, Peter Thiel, and Reed Hastings.