Google Maps Loses Florida Town, Again
That is to say, you couldn't find Sunrise even by searching specifically for it. Queries like "restaurants in Sunrise Florida" or "bookstores in Sunrise Florida" would point users to results in Sarasota, which is about 160 miles away.
Owners of restaurants and bookstores in Sunrise were none too pleased.
"My Web orders are flat as a pancake! My phone calls are flat," Sherry Tannozzini, a Sunrise florist, wrote on her blog on Sept. 11. "Anyone who has not used our shop in the past cannot find me."
This was the third time since August 2009 that Sunrise had vanished from Google Maps. Its digital existence was restored on Sept. 21 after the town's business owners, led by Tannozzini, began complaining and local media outlets picked up on the story.
Mayor Mike Ryan reached out to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, urging the company to "fix this problem immediately and permanently."
"We can not keep going through this episode of 'Lost,'" he said.
Google is being evasive about what caused the problem, noting that its maps rely on a variety of sources, "ranging from the U.S. Census Bureau to commercial data providers," as well as "satellite, aerial and Street View imagery."
Any one of those sources, according to Google, could be the source of an inaccuracy, although it's not clear how the Census Bureau, for example, could miss a town of 90,000, or how satellites might confuse Sunrise with Sarasota.
Sunrise isn't the first city to fall off the Google radar. According to the blog Search Engine Land, similar fates have befallen the towns of Imperial Beach and La Jolla, Calif., as well as Rogers, Minn.; Wickliffe, Ohio; and Woodstock, Va.
And in the bigger picture, news of an inaccuracy on Google Maps is barely news at all: The company has reported that its users make more than 10,000 corrections to its map data every hour -- which would mean about a quarter million corrections each day.