A non-existent trail on Google map causes rescues of hikers in Canada | ET REALITY


A search and rescue group in British Columbia advised hikers to use a paper map and compass instead of street mapping programs after it said two hikers had been rescued by helicopter after likely following a trail they didn’t It existed but it appeared on Google Maps.

The group, North Shore Rescue, said On Facebook that on November 6, Google Maps had removed the non-existent trail, which was in a very steep and cliffy area north of Mount Fromme, which overlooks Vancouver.

The group said it had deployed a helicopter and a rope rescue team. on November 4 to the back of the mountain, which is 3,888 feet high and covered in temperate rainforest, to help a stranded hiker who had no power and could not be seen beneath the dense canopy.

“The team was able to locate the subject, place a harness on him, and safely bring him to a location where he and the team could be extracted by helicopter, just before clouds closed in and would have otherwise prevented helicopter access.” the group said.

The group said it had recently posted signs warning “Dangerous cliffs on the wrong path”to underline how dangerous the area was.

In September, the group rescued a hiker who called and said he was on a cliff and wasn’t sure how long he could hold out. Two years earlier, a hiker had fallen to his death from the same location, the group said.

North Shore Rescue said hikers in the September and November rescues “may have tried to follow a trail on Google Maps that doesn’t exist.”

The group said it is “simply not appropriate” to use apps like Google Maps for the wilderness, although there are apps designed specifically for trails, such as caltopus and Gaia GPSThey were acceptable.

People can send suggestions edits in Google Maps looking for incorrect or missing data. Google doesn’t provide a timeline for how long it takes to process those suggestions. First, it was unclear how the non-existent trail had appeared on Google Maps.

“We use a variety of sources to update Google Maps, including third-party information, images, and feedback from our community,” the company said in an emailed statement Sunday.

This isn’t the first time hikers have been detoured by misleading or ghost trails on Google Maps.

In July 2021, mountaineers warned that Google Maps could direct visitors to “potentially fatal” trails on Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest peak.

The warning was issued by Mountaineering Scotland, a climbing organisation, and the John Muir Trust, a charity that maintains natural areas in Britain.

After the warning, both groups said that Google Maps had updated directions for Ben Nevis and that they had discussed other wilderness safety issues with Google Maps representatives.

Maggie Peikon, spokesperson for the American Hiking Society, said people should always research a trail to know what to expect about terrain, elevation and distance.

This can be done by searching for information on apps and websites designed specifically for hikers and on social media sites.

Peikon said the society also recommended that hikers of all experience levels pack 10 essential itemsincluding water, first aid kit and appropriate footwear.

“If you get off the road or get lost, at least you have the things you need to stay safe and comfortable until you get help or get off the road,” he said.

Sandy Colhoun, president of the National Outdoor Leadership School, a nonprofit global wildlife school, said the school’s courses were based entirely on map and compass skills, even though digital technology could be “amazing when it works.”

“In the wild, situations change dramatically and quickly and having the confidence to know you can get out of them starts with having that skill set,” Colhoun said.

This is especially important because technology can fail, he said. A device’s battery could run out and satellite signals could be interrupted by natural obstacles, such as dense forests, deep canyons, and bad weather.

“When you’re in the wild, in austere environments, you don’t really have a second chance if your technology fails and you don’t have a backup system,” Colhoun said.

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