Archive for August, 2009
I was recently looking at Google Maps for some route information to find a driving time near my hometown in Colorado.
Google Suggested that I drive over a pass called Schofield pass. While this could be just any old pass, but it’s not.
Schofield Pass is one of the most dangerous roads in Colorado. It is a 7ft wide rocky mess of a trail with a 500ft cliff on one side and a solid rock wall on the other. It has been called the most dangerous pass in Colorado, and boasts a near-vertical 27% grade in some places. Over 20 people have perished on it in past 30 years. Just a few months ago we saw an abandoned Suburban on it, who’s owner thought it safer to forget about his vehicle than to risk the descent. Until cleaned up in the recent years, the river below was littered with the remains of Jeeps, and Trucks that didn’t make it. Oh, and going up is 100x harder than going down, which is what Google Maps was suggesting.
Here’s a Youtube Video that shows very well, just how bad Schofield Pass pass is. And yes, this is a “road” that people drive Jeeps of 4wd’s over.
So I got to thinking, how many similar passes in Colorado could Google be suggesting people to use. I found an additional 2, very dangerous passes, in about 5 minutes of looking.
Just a small section of Pearl Pass:
Ophir pass is the easiest:
Now all of these routes are in somewhat obscure locations, but the areas that surround them are visited by millions of tourists every year. It would be extremely easy for someone to pull up directions for a scenic drive on google maps, and … Someone actually tried to drive Schofield in an 18 wheeler some time ago.
So if you are a software, information, or anything else company, it may be a good idea to make sure your program isn’t gearing up to kill somebody. Based on the usage, I would bet that Google Maps has already done so somewhere!