Thursday, July 14, 2011

Taking Pity on Google, Part I

So, not many posts lately. I'll explain. The next paragraph might seem irrelevant, but it leads to the explanation.

Google Maps is rather handy when you're mapping out 25 post offices to visit one day. Unfortunately, from experience, I've found that map placement is not always accurate; some listed post offices have closed; or some aren't even listed! That's likely because, while USPS once provided a full docket of information for Google to use, some addresses are un-mappable and no one has the time to validate all the information. Well that's not cool!

Enter yours truly. I've basically been, shall we say, providing Google with free labor. Over the past two weeks I've taken to Google Map Maker (a really cool tool) to validate post office listings and map placement. Changes show up on Google Maps for searches once they are approved by other users. I've modified about 400 listings. Hopefully they make for a good reference for interested parties -- especially those who want to tour offices like moi! Here are some highlights:

1. The Poconos, PA

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Okay, before I got to them, these listings were PAINFULLY inaccurate. Absolutely no post office within the map parameters above was properly placed. Mountainhome didn't have a listing at all; Canadensis was placed where Cresco is; Cresco needed a new listing. Tobyhanna was listed as being on Rt. 311; it's really off on Main Street. Pocono Manor needed re-placement; its marker is now placed on the lodge that houses it.

In the Scranton area, I removed the listings for Dickson City and Elmhurst.

So now, EVERY post office in that window is spot-on. Although I haven't yet been to Scotrun, so I don't know about that one.

2. Southwestern Massachusetts:

Corrected many mis-placed tags, including that for Mill River, MA.

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3. Queens, NY:

I added a listing for the new Broad Channel CPU.

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JFK's post office and Air Mail Center were hopelessly misplaced; they were shown to be in the passenger terminal when they're really on the outskirts of the airport. Finally, their location is properly shown:


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In short: I really should be getting paid for this.

1 comment:

JenniferM said...

Wow Evan! Very impressive. I too noticed that Google maps has been off on a lot of postal locations but didn't know I could edit it! I will have to look into that. Question: on your map for the Poconos, what do the little red dots usually represent? When searching Chicago, Google maps originally only showed TWO post offices, but 30 little dots. I couldn't figure out what they were. Thanks! - Jennifer M