Golden Ears Bridge, British Columbia, Is Not On Google’s Map

golden ears bridge

Google Maps is severely broken if you are a resident of the Fraser Valley in British Columbia.  The Golden Ears Bridge has now been open for 6 months yet it is not taken into account in the Google Maps service.

If you were unaware of this, just try a few requests for directions with Google Maps and you will see what I mean.  The most upsetting one is how to get from 200th Street in Langley, BC to Maple Ridge.  In real life there is a magnificent new bridge that whisks you directly across the Fraser River and has you there in minutes.  It took two years to build and it’s been in heavy use for the past 6 months. There even is a picture of the Golden Ears Bridge in the Google Street View service.

It is quite clear that many people within Google must be aware of this major omission. There have several discussions on the Google Maps Forum, starting almost immediately when the bridge opened. This is one of the Forums on which Googlers spend a good deal of time, given the frequent glitches that are found in Google Maps.

Nevertheless, here is what Google Maps will show you today.

golden ears bridge is missing

It gets even worse if you move a little to the east.  Try going from a point 1 kilometer to the east to Maple Ridge and this is what Google Maps suggests you do. 

goldenears bridge is missing 2

It involves using a ferry that has now been closed for 6 months following the opening of the Golden Ears Bridge.

How could a major corporation like Google leave a major online property ‘broken’ for so long?  It is not that they have not been told.

On June 16, someone asked in the Google Maps Forum, Could you please add The Golden Ears Bridge to the Langley, Pitt Meadows Map.   

There is a new major bridge that links Langley, BC and Pitt Meadows, BC, a route which used to be taken by a small ferry.  It’s a pretty major change to the infrastructure of the Lower Mainland with many new roads linking to it.  It would be great if you could update the maps in the area to reflect it.

The Google response ran as follows:

For Google, it is up to TeleAtlas as they provide the basemap. A request has been made but they will not say when it will be updated. It is the same for the other major supplier of basemaps, Navteq. Users are encouraged to visit http://www.teleatlas.com and http://www.navteq.com to report changes to encourage them to update the basemap sooner rather than later.

Six months later and still nothing has been done.  The curious thing is that if you do a search for the Golden Ears Bridge, you can stumble on a Google street view of the bridge.

This seems a major blot on Google’s claims to catalogue the world of information.  Perhaps since they have not monetized Google Maps, it does not get the attention it deserves.  I have raised the issue again in a Google Maps Forum discussion.  I’m not expecting a quick response on this.

In some ways it’s a more fundamental problem.  Google is highly product-directed rather than being customer-centric.  They work very hard on developing good technology.   They really need to adopt a customer-centric attitude and make sure they are delivering what customers need. 

It’s fine for them to hide behind their computers and insist that only computer-based processes must handle everything and they will not intervene.  However there are probably 0.0000001% of issues where human intervention is required and human judgment must be exercised. The recent major embarrassment for Google with the adulterated image of Michelle Obama in the Google Image search was one such. 

I would suggest that this inability to use Google Maps for many journeys for residents in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia is another when it persists for 6 months.  Such a major problem in customer service should really get on to the radar screen of the Google CEO.  I’m sure the Michelle Obama image problem did.

Update: Google Maps still had not added the Golden Ears Bridge in March 2010 although Mapquest had. It took a further month before Google Maps added the bridge.