But is the Town Skinny-Dipping While It's in There? June 10, 2010 8:07 PM   Subscribe

You've heard cortex's quirky song stylings, before, but now it looks like he's getting some competition from a fellow admin. (Relevant Google Maps link.) Now all we need is for mathowie and vacapinta to do a duet on "I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Moderator" and we're covered!
posted by WCityMike to MetaFilter-Related at 8:07 PM (99 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

You've just gotta love jessamyn.
posted by nola at 8:17 PM on June 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


Guitar by not_on_display! Yeah I've been rattling this song around in my head for a while now and finally had some free time to actually do something with it. Why does your map link go to Randolph Arizona?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:18 PM on June 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Brilliant!
posted by ColdChef at 8:19 PM on June 10, 2010


That Google Maps link takes me to Arizona.

Cute song!
posted by ODiV at 8:20 PM on June 10, 2010


Wow, first a lake, now the desert. You've really angered Google now.
posted by desjardins at 8:20 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't know! I typed "Randolph" and got the one in the lake, then went over and clicked "Link", right-clicked and picked "Copy Link Location." Not sure why I didn't work ... Relevant Google Maps link. Let's see if it does it again?
posted by WCityMike at 8:20 PM on June 10, 2010


That time I copied it from the embed pop-up window. Google Maps really doesn't like your town, Jessamyn. :-) Last try, via copying the URL from the 'send' function ...
posted by WCityMike at 8:22 PM on June 10, 2010


Wow, that last one shows the right wrong area, but the wrong state name. The whole thing is so weirdly broken! The song is also up on Music.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:24 PM on June 10, 2010


By the way, that tune is so freaking catchy that I was humming it in Target.
posted by desjardins at 8:26 PM on June 10, 2010


doot-DOOT!

I had fun making this. Thanks for letting me your backing band, jess!

doot-DOOT!
posted by not_on_display at 8:27 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Correct" link
posted by desjardins at 8:28 PM on June 10, 2010


That's a bummer. Google Maps thinks that my city is the US and that I pay federal taxes and yet I don't have any Senators. Wake up, Goog.
posted by allen.spaulding at 8:28 PM on June 10, 2010


Okay, for the next whipped-up Metafilter Greasemonkey script, I want someone to put together something that appends "doot-DOOT!" to every sentence in a MetaTalk comment. ;-)
posted by WCityMike at 8:29 PM on June 10, 2010


desjardins: "Correct" link

Looks like desjardins has the right link, if any mod wants to edit the post. Then again, it's kind of semi-illustrative if left unfixed. :)
posted by WCityMike at 8:31 PM on June 10, 2010


Socialized health care, gay marriage, and superior cartographers.
posted by gman at 8:32 PM on June 10, 2010 [9 favorites]


o_O
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:33 PM on June 10, 2010


jessamyn: o_O

?
posted by WCityMike at 8:51 PM on June 10, 2010


It just freaks me out that Canadian Google does not have this problem.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:52 PM on June 10, 2010


Man, I'd really like to hear the ditty on an autoharp.
posted by boo_radley at 8:55 PM on June 10, 2010


jessamyn: It just freaks me out that Canadian Google does not have this problem.

Okay, here's the weird thing. I typed "Randolph, VT" into maps.google.ca and got the in-the-lake image. But copy-and-paste the URL and it takes me back to the correct on-land location of the town.
posted by WCityMike at 8:58 PM on June 10, 2010


I LOVE your song Jessamyn .

Could you post the lyrics so I can sing along?
posted by marsha56 at 8:58 PM on June 10, 2010


marsha56: I LOVE your song Jessamyn. Could you post the lyrics so I can sing along?

Click the "Music" link that she posted upthread – the lyrics are there.
posted by WCityMike at 8:59 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Repeat after me: nǐ hǎo
posted by gman at 8:59 PM on June 10, 2010


When I use the area code (05060) instead of the town name, I get this, which seems right. Is that body of water also named Randolph? Maybe it just comes up first because it's a more popular search than the town, and they have the same name.

Just spitballin' here.
posted by cj_ at 9:11 PM on June 10, 2010


People who are interested in my extended tale of woe -- this has been going on for over two months -- can see the report that I submitted to Google's help. It's weird. In summary.

- entering the town name and state gets you the lake
- entering the zip code gets you pretty close to the town
- entering a street address and the town name gets you the town
- you can make it plot directions from the Randolph-in-the-lake to my house. It's an hour plus, so these places aren't even close. Driving directions TO the lake location actually drives you into the lake pretty much, it's bizarre
- I have submitted errors, contacted support, contacted my friends and Google and even some strangers and nothing has happened, though people say they're "working on it" so I don't think this is intractable

The weirdest result I get is if I type in Randolph VT when I'm logged in. It gets me the lake location. However, if I sign out the map shifts before my eyes to Randolph Arizona which makes even less sense. My best guess is that someone who works at Google is mad at me personally and this is a big amusing "screw you" though it looks like there are a lot of other places with a similar problem.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:19 PM on June 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


Click the "Music" link that she posted upthread – the lyrics are there.

Got it. Thanks WCityMike !!
posted by marsha56 at 9:27 PM on June 10, 2010


I wonder if 800 people searching for Randolph, VT will raise any flags?
posted by saguaro at 9:34 PM on June 10, 2010


I dunno, I think Google might be right on this one.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:39 PM on June 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


haha that was awesome
posted by cowbellemoo at 9:43 PM on June 10, 2010


I still think Jessamyn should change her name to Nimue.
posted by deborah at 10:11 PM on June 10, 2010


though it looks like there are a lot of other places with a similar problem.

I found today that directions between two towns in Maine (which are on the same road/route number) are 10.8 miles - 3 hours 38 minutes of driving time.

Google has New England issues, I think.
posted by anastasiav at 10:24 PM on June 10, 2010


directions between two towns in Maine (which are on the same road/route number) are 10.8 miles - 3 hours 38 minutes of driving time.

Google has New England issues, I think.


Yeah, apparently it thinks both those towns are in the DC metro area.
posted by inigo2 at 10:34 PM on June 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Next I'm going to write a song about how cable cars are actually an expensive tourist attraction, and not a form of public transit as google maps wants people to believe.

I mean, come fucking on, their corporate headquarters is like 30 minutes away -- surely someone who works there must live in the city.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:38 PM on June 10, 2010


> Next I'm going to write a song about how cable cars are actually an expensive tourist attraction, and not a form of public transit as google maps wants people to believe.

They kind of are a form of public transit for people who live in the real Chinatown.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:30 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thing about the cable cars is that they cost like $5 a ride unless you have the fancy MUNI pass. Which I do, but that's not the point.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:43 PM on June 10, 2010


Well, my house is still a dirt lot on Google Maps so until they do a fresh flyover they are dead to me.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:45 PM on June 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jessamyn, try to think of it as Google protecting your privacy, by preventing visitors from disturbing your peace. Or something.

also yahoo maps gets it right so nyah
posted by davejay at 11:48 PM on June 10, 2010


Back when I had a fastpass and was on the bounce, I used to be really excited to get a job at the St. Francis because it meant I had an excuse to ride the cable car.

Now I have a motorcycle and a steady gig, both of which are awesome, but I miss the cable car rides.
posted by mollymayhem at 11:57 PM on June 10, 2010


they cost like $5 a ride unless you have the fancy MUNI pass. Which I do, but that's not the point.

From this angle, that fact really seems to just sit on top of the point and asphyxiate it.
posted by fleacircus at 12:52 AM on June 11, 2010


Thing about the cable cars is that they cost like $5 a ride unless you have the fancy MUNI pass. Which I do, but that's not the point.


Yeah, I actually used to commute on the California St. line. At that time, i was living a few blocks north of it, just off Polk. And it took me right into the financial district. Have you taken the California line? it is actually surprisingly empty of tourists during the week.

And, yeah, if you are using the cable cars to commute then you will have a Muni pass. So, the $5 a ride is, to me, itself beside the point.

Anyways, I also feel jessamyn's pain. I'd love to just give people a Google maps link when they come to visit my place in London but I can't. Google lists my place as a block away from where it actually is. I've been trying to fix it for almost two years. They keep saying that they are working on it. So, for now, every email I send with directions has to include this long disclaimer "If you are using Google maps to get to our place, note that..."
posted by vacapinta at 3:09 AM on June 11, 2010


I found today that directions between two towns in Maine (which are on the same road/route number) are 10.8 miles - 3 hours 38 minutes of driving time.

"Ya cahn't get thayuh from heyuh."
posted by crunchland at 3:30 AM on June 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


vacapinta, I'm assuming you have, but you've tried with your postcode, and on the .co.uk version?

Also, you can type in part of your post code (e.g. EC1A) and it will go to the central place for that portion. You can keep adding bits to narrow down the area. Might help you work out which part Google's having trouble with. Finally, you could use Royal Mail's postcode finder to get your neighbour's postcode, and you can input that whilst telling friends "I'm actually number 12, please don't disturb Mrs Perkins in number 13 as she's easily frightened by people under the age of 67".
posted by djgh at 3:37 AM on June 11, 2010


vacapinta, I'm assuming you have, but you've tried with your postcode, and on the .co.uk version?


Yep. A block away, still.

If I just type in the postcode, it shows several buildings, including mine, but in the wrong place! If I use the Royal Mail form, it returns the postcode I think i have and it shows a big red circle which surrounds my place and the "wrong" place that shows up on Google maps.

So, basically everyone seems to know what/where my postcode is but not where my building is within that postcode! And because the way street names change quickly around this area, the postcode stretches to include places are not on the same physical block!
posted by vacapinta at 4:03 AM on June 11, 2010


Well, I'm all out of helpful but ultimately futile suggestions then. That sucks - Google gets mine inch-perfect, dead on the building.
posted by djgh at 4:15 AM on June 11, 2010


Jessamyn, if it is at all encouraging, I know where your town is, and I don't need google maps to get there!

(No, seriously, if we take a long weekend in Vermont this fall, we could stalk visit you some afternoon.)
posted by zizzle at 5:36 AM on June 11, 2010


By the way, that tune is so freaking catchy that I was humming it in Target.

It was stuck in my head all day, alternating with Popeye the Sailor Man.
posted by bondcliff at 5:37 AM on June 11, 2010


It just freaks me out that Canadian Google does not have this problem.

Well, see, being a country with a small population, there's no way we could repel a direct invasion by the USA. So we've spent decades sabotaging your educational system to ensure that the majority of Americans aren't sure exactly where Canada is.

Then Google comes along and screws up the glorious master plan. And it's not that easy to mess up Google Maps, so sometimes our efforts have unwanted side-effects on locations outside of Canada. Of course we only need to screw up the USA version of Google Maps, the Canadian one is not a significant threat.

Ultimately, this is all just a temporary measure until we complete construction of our fleet of stealth canoes.

The song was great!
posted by FishBike at 5:55 AM on June 11, 2010 [4 favorites]


It was stuck in my head all day, alternating with Popeye the Sailor Man.

I just heard it for first time and my day is just starting, but I fully expect this to be stuck in my head as well, alternating with I'm Sticking With You.
posted by and hosted from Uranus at 6:02 AM on June 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


the majority of Americans aren't sure exactly where Canada is.

"Anyone can miss Canada, all tucked away down there!"
posted by bondcliff at 6:05 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, there's some stuff going on with Google Maps lately.

For instance:
Gladwyne, NY?

hint #1 - There is no Gladwyne, NY.
hint #2 - Even if there was, it doesn't have Cornell University in it.

posted by zamboni at 6:09 AM on June 11, 2010


Furthermore, check this out: Directions from Randolph, VT to Boston. At least you're on land this time?
posted by desjardins at 6:12 AM on June 11, 2010


Directions from Randolph, VT to Boston

Well at least you pass through Randolph on your way from Randolph to Boston.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:16 AM on June 11, 2010


Okay, for the next whipped-up Metafilter Greasemonkey script, I want someone to put together something that appends "doot-DOOT!" to every sentence in a MetaTalk comment. ;-)

Cool, you're giving them ideas for next year's April Fool's Day. :)
posted by Melismata at 7:26 AM on June 11, 2010


It could be worse, Jessamyn. They could be directing your visitors to swim across the Atlantic. From 2007: Google Maps Shows Funny Directions
posted by zarq at 7:39 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you search for an address in Randolph (I tried 10 Main Street which got bumped to 10 S. Main Street) and let Google make its guesses for what you want based on that, then you get the right spot. Here it is properly giving directions from 10 S. Main St., Randolph VT to Randolph VT (distance 0.2 mi).

If you put both addresses in right from the start, you get the lake, but if you search for the first address, then choose "directions to" and add Randolph VT, you get the above result.
posted by Partial Law at 7:50 AM on June 11, 2010


alternating with I'm Sticking With You.

Amusingly, that was the song in my head while I was writing this song!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:56 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Randolph-in-the-lake sounds like a British place name.
Good luck, jessamyn! I hope Google un-lakes you soon!
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 8:01 AM on June 11, 2010


Amusingly, that was the song in my head while I was writing this song!

I'm pretty sure that's the definition for a vicious circle.
posted by crunchland at 8:12 AM on June 11, 2010


It just freaks me out that Canadian Google does not have this problem.

Our lakes are frozen half the year; we can't put towns in them!
posted by never used baby shoes at 8:18 AM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Women lying in ponds distributing songs is no basis for a system of government.
posted by hippybear at 8:37 AM on June 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


For what it's worth, a friend at Google says he'll try to track down the right person to fix this.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:50 AM on June 11, 2010


That wouldn't be any fun!
posted by Burhanistan at 8:53 AM on June 11, 2010


Alright, well, I'll see if he can just move it somewhere more interesting, then.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:54 AM on June 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


The "trains choo-choo to it" lyric made my heart go pitter-pat! Excellent.
posted by OmieWise at 9:02 AM on June 11, 2010


For what it's worth, a friend at Google says he'll try to track down the right person to fix this.

Yay! That said I have friends who work at Google who have told me the same thing. For whatever reason this general issue [and I know it's not just my town that is being affected] is pervasive and tough to repair, like it's not just a case of going in and fixing one dot. The weirdest part is that all their known major data providers show the town as being in the proper location, so there's clearly something hinky going on with the way the town is not only misplaced, but only misplaced on Google Maps and not anywhere else. I supect one day it will miraculously be fixed and no one will ever say why or how.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:09 AM on June 11, 2010


Well I'll happily tell you why and how (because you asked about it, and by magic pixies), but I don't advise you to believe me.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 9:26 AM on June 11, 2010


I supect one day it will miraculously be fixed and no one will ever say why or how.

But you'll know it when there are no more walleye in your living room. You should enjoy romping with Champ while you have the chance.
posted by crunchland at 9:31 AM on June 11, 2010


vacapinta, have you tried turning on Google Maps Labs' latitude/longitude hovering pointers, finding out the precise latitude and longitude of where you truly live, and then using that as a destination? It's the long way around, but it might at least get things functional.
posted by WCityMike at 9:36 AM on June 11, 2010


For whatever reason this general issue is pervasive and tough to repair, like it's not just a case of going in and fixing one dot.

Gah, you don't know the half of it.
posted by GuyZero at 9:49 AM on June 11, 2010


[+]
posted by Danf at 10:51 AM on June 11, 2010


I have alerted the media.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:51 AM on June 11, 2010


Darn it. I don't have any sound. Is she rapping?
posted by anniecat at 12:24 PM on June 11, 2010


No I am not rapping. Here is a screenshot of the @googlemaps response.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:30 PM on June 11, 2010


In fairness a lot of problems DO get fixed by using that link at the bottom right.
posted by GuyZero at 12:35 PM on June 11, 2010


In fairness a lot of problems DO get fixed by using that link at the bottom right.

Yeah I know it, it's like the recorded voice in the on-hold music queue who say "You may get faster response by going to www.verizon.net" which is really true for most people but actually actively annoying if your internet is down. If they'd read the article [and not saying they needed to, or that I expected them to] it's obvious that that's been tried, multiple times.

So there's a mechanism for reporting problems, and sort of a tepid barely-there feedback loop

- I have an Problem ID number which sounds official but means nothing really since I can't check how the incident is going or use the number anyplace at all really
- I posted to the help forum where no one from Google apears to be responding
- I got an email from a friend working at Google saying that "TaT is supposed to be 30 days or less." from when you report but when that deadline came and went there was nothing further.
- I was told my incident was being escalated which again means nothing if there's no result from that

Again, I'm over it. I know Google is a giant company who can not focus on every single podunk user who has a complaint, even if it's legitimate. I am not a crazy cat lady and I do not expect them to drop everything to deal with my issue, in fact I would be embarassed if they did. I assume this is in process and I do not lose sleep at night over it. However, it's an inconvenience to me and everyone in the town. And I'm extraordinarily plugged-in and and tech savvy and I can't get anywhere with this. If this is true, what happens to similarly affected users who lack the skills to rally the troops or pull strings or pander on YouTube?

As our online tools become ubiquitous to the point where my iPhones Maps link is giving bad information, what's our recourse? People rag on the telcos and the old media dinosaurs a lot, but at least you could get someone on the phone, someone who could actually fix your problem. So, I'm aware that this can make me look like a first world problem whinger, but I hope it will also make people see that stupid little tech issues and decisions that big companies make can have real-world consequences that are hard to undo. You can bet if Brooklyn were misidentified on the map it wouldn't take two months to fix.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:54 PM on June 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just heard back about three things that I reported, all fixed...but dude: town. in. lake. Totally way more important than: I think that bike trail goes farther; those bike directions are ludicrous; and that street is too steep. (Why yes, I did try out the biking directions when they first came out.) Makes me wonder how exactly they prioritize corrections.

The @googlemaps tweet seemed kinda snarky...as if the problem hadn't been reported in April.
posted by epersonae at 1:07 PM on June 11, 2010


You can bet if Brooklyn were misidentified on the map it wouldn't take two months to fix.

Oh, well, I wouldn't be so sure about that.

But you're right. It's an issue.
posted by GuyZero at 1:07 PM on June 11, 2010


Looks like it's been fixed.

I love stories with happy endings!
posted by killdevil at 2:14 PM on June 11, 2010


killdevil: Looks like it's been fixed.

Nuh-uh.
posted by WCityMike at 2:36 PM on June 11, 2010


Um, whoops. Take 2: Nuh-uh.
posted by WCityMike at 2:37 PM on June 11, 2010


Nuh-uh.

No, it really does, do the search again. Or maybe it's propogating out into the cloud...
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:37 PM on June 11, 2010


WCityMike: Um, whoops. Take 2: Nuh-uh.

Well, just relaunched Firefox – that link still takes me to the lake. (doot-DOOT!) If you click on that link, does it take you to the town? (doot-DOOT!)
posted by WCityMike at 2:42 PM on June 11, 2010


> Well, just relaunched Firefox – that link still takes me to the lake. (doot-DOOT!) If you click on that link, does it take you to the town? (doot-DOOT!)

Forget about that specific URL you had and do a fresh search for Randolph, VT. Something in that long-ass URL fetches separate coordinates and overlays. It's fixed.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:45 PM on June 11, 2010


Here you go. They drained the lake.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:46 PM on June 11, 2010


Hmm. I was in Randolph yesterday and I'm quite certain it wasn't in the bottom of Lake Champlain (although it was quite rainy). But don't feel too terribly bad, it took them a really long time to change the name of "Tard Cart" in Burlington to its rightful name (Ethan Allen Parkway).
posted by GodricVT at 2:50 PM on June 11, 2010


On a side-note, I think it would be pretty cool if there actually WERE a town at the bottom of Lake Champlain. "Only town at the bottom of a large lake in these United States," they'd say. People would come from far and wide to see it.
posted by killdevil at 3:27 PM on June 11, 2010


Burhanistan: Forget about that specific URL you had and do a fresh search for Randolph, VT. Something in that long-ass URL fetches separate coordinates and overlays. It's fixed.

Wow, it's so green.
posted by WCityMike at 4:53 PM on June 11, 2010


Well, I for one am glad Google screwed up and put you in the lake, because the song's pretty great. It has mad earworm qualities.

My house's location is a little off, but it's been crawling steadily closer. When Google maps first went on line, my location was off by about 2 blocks. Every few months, the red pin thing moves another house closer, and is now only about 4 houses away.

It's kinda creepy. I think it's coming for me, like a stalking cat.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:40 PM on June 11, 2010


OH NoES, I just looked and it's in the shrubbery outside my window!!


(took it long enough)
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:43 PM on June 11, 2010


Hmm. I was in Randolph yesterday

NEXT TIME STOP AND SAY HI
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:13 PM on June 11, 2010


I guess I'll just unpack my swimtrunks then.
posted by ODiV at 8:15 PM on June 11, 2010



NEXT TIME STOP AND SAY HI


You got it. I'm over that way somewhat regular-like (at least in Montpelier and environs). And if you, you know, ever cross the two mountain ranges into Addison County, let's do tea!
posted by GodricVT at 4:26 AM on June 12, 2010


Awesome song and vid BTW. Especially the tractor with the umbrella. doot DOOT.
posted by GodricVT at 4:30 AM on June 12, 2010


Well, I for one am glad Google screwed up and put you in the lake, because the song's pretty great. It has mad earworm qualities.

It was a delayed effect for me. I was at a local tourist attraction with some friends today, just walking around, when all of a sudden...

Hey Google, my town's in the lake.

What's that singing? Where is it coming from? Oh, it's in my head!
posted by FishBike at 4:32 PM on June 13, 2010


I love my town so much. Our newspaper is The Randolph Herald. The newspaper editor [whose name is Dick Drysdale, which is a great newspaper editor name] had written about the "town in the lake" phenomenon last week so this is a great follow-up story. He wrote me asking a few questions, said he loved the song and asked if it was okay to reprint the lyrics. I said, of course, sure. I got an adorable email back from him: "No more questions. I've got it all written up. Cute story. You'll be famous!"

:)
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:56 PM on June 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I see this is now front-page news on The Randolph Herald Web Site, though it's subscribers-only access until next week.

Is there a print edition? Because if the story appears there, it makes Google's screw-up an official Category 1 Big Mistake.
posted by FishBike at 11:49 AM on June 18, 2010


Yeah I'm holding the print edition. I made the front page!!
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:25 PM on June 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Congrats!!
posted by zarq at 12:49 PM on June 18, 2010


Awesome!
posted by OmieWise at 1:05 PM on June 18, 2010


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