How safe are Google Maps for mountain hikes?

In the car to work, by bike to nature, walk around the city taky and also to the mountains. We are used to these and other places take Google Maps with you and start trusting them to a large extent in that they will lead us reliably to our destination. Of course, it’s not without flaws, but ending up in a convoy, a dead end or a broken dirt road is not such a horror. It’s worse on the mountain tops, where a person is often (even for several hours) dependent on one selected route. Can I rely on Google Maps during a mountain hike?

The last significant case that answers this question comes from Scotland. The John Muir Trust, which includes a description of mountain trails in its job description, issued a warning a few days ago that Google Maps recommended an extremely dangerous journey to the top of the highest mountain in Great Britain, Ben Nevis.

“It makes perfect sense for people to use Maps when they want to get to the top of a mountain. In this case, however, car navigation will take the applicant to Glen Nevis and from there lead them up the dotted route. But it is very demanding even for experienced mountaineers, as it is full of stones and even with good visibility it is a problem to find the right way, ”Points out Heather Morning of the John Muir Trust. Together with colleagues, they placed signs in the area, which warn overly trusting Google Map users that the ideal starting point for the ascent is the nearby Visitor Center.

Don’t blindly believe everything the navigation recommends

Navigation application data may not have the best or current overview of local conditions. Therefore, always take routes and other recommendations with caution.

The organization draws attention to the ever-repeated fact that navigation applications are a very good helper, but it is not good to trust them completely. At least in the mountains it is suitable start expeditions from verified places or tourist centers and don’t be ashamed to ask for the best route. This case is not the only one that Google Maps (but of course the competition has similar problems) proves that they do not have perfect local information. In this case, however, the American giant reacted immediately.


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Jakub Kárník

Jakub Kárník


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Google Maps

“Google Maps has led users to the location closest to the top, which is indicated to be a difficult route. But to help newcomers and more experienced tourists, we changed the navigation to the Visitor Center, where anyone can ask for the best opportunity, ”said a Google spokesman. The company encourages mountaineers and climbers to report similar cases in the application.

How do you handle mountain navigation?

Zdroj: Gizmodo, JMT

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