Golden Ears Bridge BC now on Google Maps

The Golden Ears Bridge across the Fraser River in British Columbia has been in operation for 9 months now. It was being constructed for almost two years before that. Unfortunately it has been invisible in Google Maps until now. Many have commented on the invisibility of the Golden Ears Bridge, which is a major landmark. Although repeated messages have been sent to places where Googlers congregate such as the Google Maps Forum, the organization seemed blind. As usual, they seemed to be relying on computer-generated data rather than inputs from humans.

golden ears bridge

It was said that the reason for the delay was that the Golden Ears Bridge had not been included in the database used by Google Maps.  One of these is maintained by TeleAtlas.  However the Bridge was added to the database as of March 31, 2010 and still there was no change.  MapQuest, the Google Maps competitor, was not asleep at the wheel and almost immediately included the Golden Ears Bridge in its directions information.

It was only this morning that finally Google has registered the Golden Ears Bridge in its database.  Use Google Maps to help you find the way across the Fraser River from Langley to Pitt Meadows and here is the route that Google will provide.

Google Maps from Langley to Pitt Meadows

It was good to finally see the Bridge taking up the important role it now has in Fraser Valley transportation.  However in a somewhat ironic announcement, Google later in the morning announced that it was now Keeping Canada’s map current.

The map of Canada is constantly changing – new roads are being built, highways are being renamed, and bike trails are opening. To keep up with all these changes, we’ve started using new map data in Canada. This new base map is built from a wide range of sources, just as we recently announced for the US in October. In Canada, we’ve made use of data from organizations such as the National Hydrography Network and Canadian Council on Geomatics. Once again things like satellite imagery and Street View were also helpful to make a rich, thorough base map.

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That’s all very well.  However if only they had worked more promptly in synchronizing with their existing map database contributors such as TeleAtlas, perhaps the Golden Ears Bridge would have been on our screens at least a month earlier.

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Golden Ears Bridge Still Not On Google Maps

As we mentioned back in December, Google still had not found the Golden Ears Bridge across the Fraser Valley here in British Columbia.  It took two years to build it and it had been open six months but there was still no sign on Google’s Maps.  The Google spiders may get a new blog post in its database within minutes but apparently they rely on others for their map data. Even though there were many human comments pointing out this serious omission, none of that seemed to get through.

Tele Atlas banner

Tele Atlas, one of the map suppliers, informed those who wished to know just after midnight this morning that they have now included the Golden Ears Bridge in their database.

You can confirm that if you are a MapQuest user because here is the route they will show you going from Langley to Maple Ridge here in British Columbia.

mapques tmap 1

Unfortunately perhaps Google Maps only works West Coast Office hours.

If you check directions from Langley to Maple Ridge with Google Maps, they are still showing the same picture as before.

google map 1

google map 2

If you do not find that circuitous route too appealing and look for an alternate route then here is their Plan B on the right.  That is no better since it uses the Albion Ferry that closed down some 9 months ago.

So until further notice, residents in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia would be well advised to use MapQuest in working out their travel plans.  After all, the Golden Ears Bridge is a most elegant bridge, has lots more capacity for extra traffic and really changes how one should get around.

I’m sure Google Maps will get to this soon so watch this space for further travel advisories on the Golden Ears Bridge.

If you spot that Google Maps has finally found the Golden Ears Bridge, why not let us know in the comments here.

Update: It took a further month before Google Maps added the bridge.

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Following the Trans-Canada Highway with Google Maps

There’s a new feature on Google Maps that I find most impressive. On our recent move from LaSalle, Quebec to Langley BC, we intended to follow the Trans-Canada Highway. In our planning we did not want to use one of the more complex sites that gives many itineraries. We wanted something simple. At that time we could have used Google maps but instead chose MapQuest.

To illustrate the problem that gave us, here is what such a program will suggest as the route to follow.

Google Maps 1

As it happens this is a Google Maps image, but MapQuest would offer an identical route. The length is 4,861 km and it suggests it would take 45 hours of continuous driving. That’s a somewhat astonishing average speed of 108 km/hour.

We wanted to travel in Canada so at that time using MapQuest we used a new feature which allows you to step along the route specifying the points you which to pass through. More details are available on this Beta process for MapQuest.

The new functionality that Google Maps now allows is that you can drag the route with your mouse to pass through other points. Take a Google Maps Tour, to find out more on how to get driving directions. Since we wished to pass through Calgary, that’s the first point we changed.

Google Maps 2

This increased the length to 4,943 km and the driving time to 50 hours. Again this gave an unbelievable average driving speed of 99 km/hour, presumably based on driving at the limits on all roads. Since it still took us through the United States, we then dragged the route to pass through Winnipeg.

Google Maps 2

That still didn’t do the trick. The length had now increased to 5,068 km and the driving time to 53 hours. For the record this is an average driving speed of 96 km/hour. By dragging the route to pass through Thunder Bay, finally we did follow the Trans-Canada Highway.

Google Maps 2

The length was now shorter than for the first route at 4,770 km with a driving time of 55 hours. This equates to an average driving speed of 87 km/hour.

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I hope you enjoyed this article, which is seen by many appreciative visitors. Part of that comes from its visibility in Google keyword searches.

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Barry Welford

The whole exercise was extremely rapid and took much less time than it has taken to describe it. Clearly Google Maps tries to find the fastest route from Point A to Point B. It does not try to estimate the time to cross international borders. It also does not take into account the beauty to be seen along the way. However as a planning tool Google Maps can be highly recommended.

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