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BUG - Map automation running amok

Hampshire, United...
Destination Expert
for Eastleigh, Winchester
Level Contributor
4,878 posts
104 reviews
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BUG - Map automation running amok

As regulars of Support and HUMTAB may be aware I am very interested in correcting erroneous map pins on TA and other mapping related problems.

I have previously reported clusters of misplaced locations in August tripadvisor.co.uk/…42697917 and December tripadvisor.co.uk/…45782540

At it worst according to the TA map data base Hursley, Hampshire and 58 other south eastern English towns lived under a tree on a minor country road near Chard in the west of England at a hamlet called New England http://goo.gl/maps/Lxmv5

The number of misplaced pins gradually reduced until last week only Brook remained and I hoped TA had finally cracked the problem but unfortunately this week the list leapt back up to 30 towns including both new entries and ones that had previously been corrected.

I assume TA has a script running with the laudable intent of correcting incorrect pins but instead it is running amok with no checking of the changes it is making as it moves correct pins to invalid locations. (I assume no TA employee is so incompetent that they would be doing this by hand)

It needs to be found and stopped ASAP!

It is not just the Travel Map that is affected when TA loses or misplaces cities, it destroys the usability of the Android and iPad adds and prevents the use of the interactive map on the main website.

I noticed a few other misplaced map pins which while not large clusters like the Chard one may shed some light on the bug.

The town of Burgess Hill was pinned to a tiny lane named Burgess Hill, Hastings was pinned to Hastings lane and Poole was pinned to the tiny hamlet of Poole, Cheshire rather than the major seaside resort of Poole Dorset. So technically correct but also totally incorrect!

Geocoders are optimised to find the closest matching address to the current centre of the map on the assumption that if you are in Chard and looking for Burgess hill you are probably looking for the nearby road rather than the town 200 miles away and not Burgess, Virginia or Burgess Junction, Wyoming!

The clusters I have found have England in the street name (eg New England near Chard, East of England way near Peterborough and England's Lane in London) so the Geocoder is taking England from the locations country and matching it against a minor street!

There is no point in manually reporting and correcting pins whilst the bug is continuing to introduce fresh errors faster than they can be corrected - hopefully the rogue script has left some trace of its actions that can be used to undo the damage it has caused

A better way to detect incorrect map pins would be to compare the distance from the town's pin to that of each of the town's hotels and other listings - where the distance is excessive you then need to investigate which pin is wrong.

Newton...
Destination Expert
for Newton
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3,302 posts
TripAdvisor Staff  
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1. Re: BUG - Map automation running amok

Thanks for reporting this mymsman and for your continued help with raising issues with our maps. I've escalated your forum post to two teams here.

I know that in the prior two weeks, we had issues with cities disappearing from and not being pinnable on our travel map, and this issue was fixed earlier this week. I'm not sure if that fix resurfaced these issues you are reporting.

I know you are a map champion and are frustrated with these incorrect map pins continuing to come back-- thanks for your perseverance and for letting us know again so that we can again escalate this.

Jeanine

Hampshire, United...
Destination Expert
for Eastleigh, Winchester
Level Contributor
4,878 posts
104 reviews
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2. Re: BUG - Map automation running amok

Since my original post another village has been moved to New England near Chard and none have been removed so the problem is still active

Hampshire, United...
Destination Expert
for Eastleigh, Winchester
Level Contributor
4,878 posts
104 reviews
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3. Re: BUG - Map automation running amok

Another six towns have been incorrectly moved in the last month bringing the current total towns to 37 located under the same tree!

I have no idea how many more similar clusters their around the world.

Hampshire, United...
Destination Expert
for Eastleigh, Winchester
Level Contributor
4,878 posts
104 reviews
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4. Re: BUG - Map automation running amok

I fear similar badly broken geocoder usage is also being applied to listing map pins.

Deniros restaurant Cardiff tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g186460-… has recently appeared in the centre of Exeter a hundred miles south, this is not a new listing (250+ reviews since 2009) so why has the map pin suddenly moved so far?

The only connection between the address and its new location is Mermaid - it has been placed in Mermaid Yard, Exeter while the real address is Mermaid Quay, Cardiff.

The listing has a complete and correct address which both Bing and Google place in the right vicinity so there is no excuse whatsoever for TA to get it so badly wrong.

There is no point in going through the hoops of reporting such errors through the Help Centre until the underlying problem that caused the map pin to be misplaced in the first place is identified and corrected.

Hampshire, United...
Destination Expert
for Eastleigh, Winchester
Level Contributor
4,878 posts
104 reviews
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5. Re: BUG - Map automation running amok

Some Canadian examples of misplaced towns tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g1-i12104-k64199…

Hampshire, United...
Destination Expert
for Eastleigh, Winchester
Level Contributor
4,878 posts
104 reviews
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6. Re: BUG - Map automation running amok

Eagle lake Texas is on Eagle lake road but nowhere near the town or lake!

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g1-i12105-k6549925…

Calgary, Canada
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for Calgary
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7. Re: BUG - Map automation running amok

I recently reported a local business which had the correct address on their listing, but was pinned incorrectly. The funny thing was that the business was wrongly pinned to Wilderness Way, probably because the name of the business is WilderNest! (The actual address, which was on the listing, was something like 9th Ave SE)

The good news is that it is now in the correct location. But errors like this really do make you shake your head and wonder what is happening.

Hampshire, United...
Destination Expert
for Eastleigh, Winchester
Level Contributor
4,878 posts
104 reviews
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8. Re: BUG - Map automation running amok

Return of the Maverick Mad Map Meddler!

After several quiet months with no changes several more English villages have been relocated to the most populous tree in the UK by TA's mad geocoding gremlins.

Currently 37 English towns and villages live under a tree on a minor country road near Chard in the west of England at a hamlet called New England http://goo.gl/maps/Lxmv5 50.888179,-2.955925

Newton...
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for Newton
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3,302 posts
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9. Re: BUG - Map automation running amok

Thanks mymsman, can you pm me the list of these 37 cities? I talked with someone on the maps team who is going to take a look at what caused this and can fix these. Are these new cities to TA, or are they cities that were fixed and have now reverted to Chard?

Appreciate your letting us know--

Jeanine

Hampshire, United...
Destination Expert
for Eastleigh, Winchester
Level Contributor
4,878 posts
104 reviews
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10. Re: BUG - Map automation running amok

I have sent you a PM with lists from today and July, I can send earlier lists if it would help.

Some places that were on the list in July have now moved some to the correct place but Kingsnorth moved to another small hamlet also called New England near Wixoe outside Cambridge where there is another cluster of 36 towns at 52.056686, 0.491095 which I have also sent you

Your map person can contact me directly if they need any more information