[FoRK] when driving, don't ask google for directions

Sat N < sateesh.narahari at gmail.com > on > Fri Dec 8 15:56:51 PST 2006

Sad story, but relying on google for anything other than search may be
a terrible idea.


Online map linked to fatal turn
Rescuers with the device that was used to transport the body of James
Kim (inset) from the remote Siskiyou National Forest in Oregon.

Rescuers with the device that was used to transport the body of James
Kim (inset) from the remote Siskiyou National Forest in Oregon.
Photo: AP
Related coverage

    * Map: The search for James Kim

Other related coverage

    * Cybersearch continues for missing tech journo
    * Body of missing technology journo located

Asher Moses
December 8, 2006
Page 1 of 2 | Single page

Questionable directions given by online mapping services could have
contributed to the death of James Kim, who perished while trying to
save his stranded family.

Kim, 35, was driving home from a vacation with his wife, Kati, and
daughters, four-year-old Penelope and seven-month-old Sabine, on
November 25 when he took a wrong turn and they became lost in the
wilderness in Oregon, in north-west US.

Kim left his family on Saturday to find help, but never returned. When
searchers found his lifeless body yesterday, he had already walked 13
kilometres through rugged terrain, wearing only light clothing.

But Kim - undoubtedly tech-savvy given that he worked as a technology
reporter for the online publisher CNET - may never have made that
fateful wrong turn if he hadn't used the internet to look up
directions for his journey, US media reports suggest.

According to Associated Press, drivers are advised not to take Bear
Camp Road to Gold Beach in winter, the route taken by the Kims.

"Authorities say the cyber-savvy family may have plucked the route
from Grants Pass to Gold Beach from an online mapping service, unaware
of the elements," AP reported.

"Despite its impassable snowdrifts and single lane, Bear Camp Road is
offered as the preferred route on some websites and
on-board-directions software available on some new cars. And most of
those have no business in those mountains in the winter."

When using the Yahoo Maps, MapQuest and Google Maps online services to
plot directions from Grants Pass to Gold Beach, Yahoo and MapQuest
both recommend taking the same, safer highway route, while Google
suggests a shortcut through roads that become dangerous in winter.

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