Well, it’s terrific how companies like Yelp and Google, with their Maps feature, help all us smartphone users find what we are looking for and that they use crowdsourcing to help us make safer decisions. But what happens when these tools lead us astray, or when they don’t give us the information we need. It seems to happen to me all the time.
No, I am not angry because I remember when I bought my first GPS unit for my motorhome. Most of the streets were not listed, only the main highways and main roads, the data vendors were not working together cohesively, even if the platforms like ERSI had a great system. A few years later, the dot-com bubble burst, and it didn’t get any better for a long while. Today, Google Maps is pretty good, but I’ve had trouble with bike paths, hiking trails, and such. Soon we are told interiors of government buildings will all be mapped out too, and we may never be lost again – a promising future, yes, but that future isn’t quite here yet.
There was an interesting piece in the Albuquerque First Business Journal on October 23, 2013, titled; “Rocks, rivers, trails get Yelp treatment from a local start-up,” by Dan Mayfield, which noted; “Fans of the outdoors can now start checking out hiking trails and kayak streams just like foodies check out restaurants on Yelp. PlanitMapper’s site is live with listings for the state’s cycling, hiking, snow sports, kayaking and climbing trails.”
This is good because not long ago, I was biking up in the mountains in CA, and a couple of college gals stopped me on the road to ask if I knew where the “trailhead” was for a particular popular local trail. Well, I was on a 65-mile bike ride, and I had little idea where it was. They said Yelp gave them the wrong directions, and I told them I hadn’t passed it, so it must be the other way. They didn’t turn back, so I guess they gave up.
I told them; “Yah, Yelp sucks,” and they said, “no kidding,” and then I told them; “who invented this road anyway,” pointing back to the winding road behind me and all the switchbacks going up some 1,400 feet in elevations, and they said, “Yeah, right?!?” Anyway, it turns out Yelp was no Help! So, it’s good they are fixing this problem with all the hiking trails, a great start-up idea; I hope they will make this happen. There is still work to do. Please consider all this and think about it.