A few years ago we had a visit from the Google Street View trike and a year later the imagery was published. Quite a lot has changed on campus since then: the Hub, under construction in Autumn 2010 is now a hive of activity; BioSciences has had a growth spurt and (more than!) a lick of paint; and the entire Eastern Campus including Creative Edge, brand new halls and a lake (with a beach!) have sprung up from nowhere! So last summer we figured our Beautiful Campus could do with another visit from Google and booked them in for Freshers Week last September. The new imagery is now live on Google Maps so take a look around.
Here’s a few of my highlights but leave a comment if you find something interesting!
Eastern Campus Beach
Crossing the bridge
This time the man from Google came with a Street View Trekker instead of the trike so was able to get to even more places!
The new and the old
How many can you find?!
Down the stairs
Wouldn’t be Edge Hill without a few ducks!
Rain forest or rock garden?
The 2010 imagery hasn’t been completely replaced so there’s a few places where they visited originally that haven’t changed including this shot from behind the swimming pool.
Most of the campus was covered today in just an hour or so but it’ll be somewhere between a couple of weeks and six months until it’s live on the website. Until then you can check out a (very) short video of the trike on campus:
Obviously this isn’t the case so why are Google showing them on the map? The addresses of the shops match Dorothy Perkins and Burtons – both other brands in Arcadia Group, owners of Topshop – but that doesn’t explain why they’re there. As with Argleton, it may well be another case of Google mining data from whatever sources they can get their hands on and forget the accuracy. I’ve reported the problem to Google, let’s see if they fix it.
Flickr recently started previewing their new photo pages. They’re quite nice but it does something that’s been driving me mad and I can’t work out how it’s doing it. It only happens in Google Chrome 5 and I’ve only seen it in a few places.
Take a look at this screen capture of Flickr’s new lightbox view. Note how the URL updates each time I click through to a new view. Nothing surprising there until you realise it’s not doing a full refresh of the page and is actually an Ajax call back to the server. (You may want to hit the full screen button, bottom right.)
Contrast that with what happens in Firefox – it’s still doing Ajax calls to make flicking between photos quick but the URL changes after the fragment
It’s a nice article with exclusive interviews from Joe Moran from LJMU and, of course, Roy Bayfield. They’ve also managed to get answers from Google and their data provider Tele Atlas. Google’s spokesman said:
“While the vast majority of this information is correct there are occasional errors. We’re constantly working to improve the quality and accuracy of the information available in Google Maps and appreciate our users’ feedback in helping us do so. People can report an issue to the data provider directly and this will be updated at a later date.”
“Mistakes like this are not common, and I really can’t explain why these anomalies get into our database.”
Let’s try a bit harder, shall we… is it because there is no process for checking data before it’s added? Is it because you’ve chosen not to buy additional sources of data to verify against? Is it because your error reporting procedure is so poor that 13 months later it’s still in the database? No?
For Google, errors like these are annoying. They recently announced Google Maps Navigation for Android 2.0 offering turn-by-turn directions similar to Tom Tom and other devices but for free. Accuracy of maps and the ability to keep them up to date will be one of the big selling points.
But time may be nearly up for Argleton “A spokesman [for Tele Atlas] said it would now wipe the non-existent town from the map.”
I grew up in Aughton – that’s the bit stuck on the bottom of Ormskirk. I lived there for most of my life but Google wants to wipe it off the face of the planet!
Okay, it probably doesn’t – their motto is “Do No Evil” after all – but the power of Google has renamed Aughton to Argleton.
I’m not sure which gazetteer they use but either other people use it too, or other sites are using the Google geocoder as the basis of their site because you can do all sorts of things in Argleton! From jobs, to hotels – even my old primary school! As more and more “Web 2.0” services make use APIs, we’re placing our trust into a small number of services to provide good data with no clear way of challenging the accuracy of it.
Google have started adding photos and Wikipedia entries to their maps. Currently only activated when using maps.google.com you can click the “More” button to activate icons showing points of interest. I was amazed by how many things are tagged but slightly disappointed that Edge Hill isn’t on there yet.
It will be interesting to see if this is a one off, or with any luck shows that Google are going to be making more use of microformats and tagged pages in search results.