Teachable Moment: Trucks and SatNav in Britain
There’s been a good deal of discussion of how truckers blindly follow satnav devices into the tight corners of old British streets causing damage to walls and houses, not to mention backing up traffic. The New York Times covers the story and while it starts out a bit dodgy, get better. Here’s the intro:
But trucks and tractor-trailers come here all the time, as they do in similarly inappropriate spots across Britain, directed by G.P.S. navigation devices that fail to appreciate that the shortest route is not always the best route.
But later, it’s made clear the road data comes from folks other than those to create the routes:
“We map the reality — the streets, the signposts and the road infrastructure as it is in reality,” said Dirk Snauwaert, a spokesman for Tele Atlas, which provides digital maps to portable navigation systems. “We cannot change that reality in our database. Who are we to make a change and say, ‘You cannot drive in that road’ if, in reality, you can drive in that road.”
The article offers up the idea that the local towns themselves can offer up additional data, via signs, that will in time be integrated into the datasets.
Mr. Snauwaert said it was up to local communities to make it clear what roads were not appropriate for trucks, and to install signs saying so. The relevant information, including things like height, width and weight constraints, could then eventually be integrated into the databases used for G.P.S. devices, he said.