Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Curses on Mapquest


I can’t blame Mapquest for the first time I got lost today (coming out of the airport) or the second time (just missed the exit.) But the third time….

Once I was over the panic of nearly allowing the aforementioned Land Rover to cream my rental car, I noticed what a rare and stunning day it was. A crystalline day, when the air is fresh and the green of the hillsides looks like a fine carpet woven with sheep and Shetland ponies and cows so massive they belong in a giant’s fairy tale. Stone hedgerows set before the U.S. was even a country. Cottages covered with vines gone red with autumn.

And then I noticed that my holographic video was going on too long. I should have been in Turnberry, Scotland, an hour before.

The culprit was Mapquest. Rather than taking me on the biggest and most logical roads, it had led me along back roads and lanes – even a seasonal road that might well have been closed had it been raining.

I’ve had this experience before, when Mapquest has sent me a way its computer brain thinks is logical, rather than the way a local or someone looking at an actual map might go.

The moral of this story: Technology is grand, and Mapquest can be a great tool. But nothing beats asking for directions.

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