James Kim, missing with his family in Oregon, has been found dead. In a heroic effort to find help for his family, he set out on foot and died from weather and the elements after an unsuccessful rescue attempt.
The route the Kim family took was allegedly from Google Maps. It took them down Bear Camp Road (BLM-34-8-36), a logging road that Wired describes as “not suitable for most vehicles and is CLOSED for all traffic during the winter. The road is not maintained, has no dividing line for oncoming traffic, is littered with potholes, and is impenetrable during the winter due to snow.”
Mathew Ingram suggests we don’t blame Google, but I think that’s exactly what we should do. The Google Maps terms of service say that Google Maps is intended for planning trips:
Map information provided through Google is intended for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic conditions or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results.
What it fails to mention is that road conditions may differ to the point of putting yourself in mortal danger. If Google Maps gave me a route from NYC to Toronto that involved driving off the Niagara Falls, would I or Google be to blame for my death? A more subtle example–If Google Maps gave me a route from NYC to Toronto that involved driving across dangerous terrain, an off road shortcut, would Google be in any way responsible for injury I sustained by taking that less optimal route? Legally, I think so.
|This entry was posted on Thursday, December 7th, 2006 at 1:38 am and is tagged with google maps, mathew ingram, subtle example, james kim, dangerous terrain, kim family, optimal route, heroic effort, google, oncoming traffic, rescue attempt, mortal danger, logging road, dividing line, information provided through, potholes, traffic conditions, construction projects, road conditions, niagara falls. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback.|