Ex­ter­nal edit­ing ex­tends street re­nam­ing is­sue

Southern Riverina news - - NEWS - By James Ben­nett

Peo­ple who al­ter street names on Google Maps are putting lo­cal lives at risk, ac­cord­ing to Ber­ri­gan Shire gen­eral man­ager Rowan Perkins.

Mr Perkins said the edit­ing of street names with Google Maps was dis­cov­ered when frus­tra­tion over street nam­ing changes resur­faced again ear­lier this month.

The NRMA was called to as­sist a woman whose car had bro­ken down in Pin­nuck St, Fin­ley, but it could find no record of the street when look­ing at maps.

Pin­nuck St was the name adopted for one half of the dis­sected War­matta St by the coun­cil three years ago, along with 13 other road name changes, to limit con­fu­sion for emer­gency ser­vices.

Mr Perkins said the dis­cov­ery that peo­ple can edit Google Maps ex­ter­nally, and are ap­par­ently do­ing so when it comes to Fin­ley road names, is a con­cern.

He said if any­one is chang­ing the street names on Google Maps they should stop, be­cause they are en­dan­ger­ing the lives of oth­ers.

‘‘We would have thought emer­gency ser­vices are us­ing SIXMaps, but it seem in some in­stances this isn’t the case.

‘‘If there are peo­ple in the com­mu­nity think­ing they’re be­ing smart by chang­ing street names back to the old names, and with emer­gency ser­vices ap­par­ently us­ing Google Maps, it’s putting pub­lic safety at risk.

‘‘It seems to mainly be a prob­lem with Google Maps and Ap­ple Maps. If peo­ple want the proper in­for­ma­tion, they should go to SIXMaps, which is run by the NSW Gov­ern­ment.’’

Mr Perkins said Ber­ri­gan Shire has ap­proached the NSW Gov­ern­ment and Google to ad­vise them of the edit­ing is­sues, and the dan­ger it poses.

‘‘We have pointed it out the Min­is­ter for Emer­gency Ser­vices on at least two oc­ca­sions. We never re­ceived a re­sponse,’’ Mr Perkins said.

‘‘We’ve also pointed it out with Google on nu­mer­ous oc­ca­sions but Google Maps is user de­fin­able, and that’s the weak­ness.

‘‘Whilst Google might think it’s good be­cause peo­ple might think ‘my street isn’t on there so I’ll change it’, but peo­ple can also edit the street names. It’s not funny, it’s se­ri­ous.

‘‘These edit­ing is­sues are mainly hap­pen­ing in Fin­ley, but it did hap­pen a lit­tle bit with Tocumwal when the names were changed in 2015.

‘‘There should be no prob­lem find­ing places be­cause ev­ery sign post has the old name on it as well.’’

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