The in basket: Dennis Cziske of the Hansville area says their neighborhood, which includes Thors Road and Hillview Lane, is the victim of GPS technology that mis-directs people to Point No Point County Park.
The easy and direct – and intended – route uses Point No Point Road, but some GPS units direct northbound drivers on Hansville Road to turn before they get there – onto Gust Halvor Road and then to Thors and Hillview, which is private and graveled, he said. The cars can be traveling up to 40 miles per hour and “have nearly hit our dogs and kids.”
It appears this usually occurs with drivers using smart phones, not those on their home computers, he said.
He wondered if there is anything that can be done to keep GPS-guided cars from thinking their little side streets are the way to the park.
The out basket: I e-mailed an inquiry to Google maps, though there is not way of knowing if it has anything to do with the misunderstanding. I can’t say I was surprised that I got no answer.
So I asked Kitsap County public works if there is signage that might help.
Jeff Shea, the county’s traffic engineer, and its information services manager Diane Mark took a swing at this one. Though informative, neither had much help for Dennis.
“It sounds like the GPS is simply looking for the shortest route to the park,” Jeff said. “We have had similar situations and even directions off the freeway where there weren’t even off ramps.
“A sign here would be difficult. If we get too wordy on the directional sign it won’t be read. “Point No Point Park use Point No Point Road” is going to have to be pretty big on a 50 mph road and the language would be confusing to understand. When a motorist encounters the sign they are most likely focusing on the turn in 300 feet that their phone is directing them to do.”
Diane said, “In general, direction finding software and navigation systems default the route to a location based upon shortest distance and shortest time. The user would need to specify additional parameters (if available in their map application) such as no private roads, no unpaved roads, etc.
“I checked the route to the park on both Google Maps and MapQuest,” she said. “MapQuest directed the route to the park from Hansville Road via Gust Halvor, Thors, and then Hillview. Google Maps showed the route via Hansville Road to Point No Point Road.
“Companies that provide data for Navigational systems (Navteq, Nokia, TomTom etc.) may not have complete attribute data for roads (private, gravel, etc.). The county does not have any way to control the results of way-finding systems.”
Dennis and his neighbors might explore posting a sign in their neighborhood directing misled drivers back to the Hansville Road and on north to Point No Point Road.