It is not uncommon for navigation applications (apps) to lead you down questionable routes.
That’s according to one technical expert, who told Guardian Media he is not surprised by the incident over the weekend where two men were led to a mud-bank while trying to deliver an item to a customer in Guayaguayare Village.
On Sunday, Nikita Noray and Kesian Worrel of a courier company called UDLVR Trinidad Limited went to deliver a package to a customer in Siparia. From there, the men used Google Maps to get to their other delivery location in Guayaguare. They were directed to Saunders Trace, which the app showed was 30 minutes away from their destination. Eventually, Nikita and Kesian, who were driving in a Hyundai Elantra car, got stuck in what appeared to be an embankment.
“There are a lot of bad roads in Trinidad so, it was a combination of things that led us to the situation we were in. One, the roads were bad, and some parts broken apart but, that is something as a courier I dealt with a lot in the past. The application we were using led us to a route that was impassable and, at certain points we had poor network connections,” Nikita explained during an interview with Guardian Media yesterday.
Nikita added, “Often times you would get through the bad road and back onto a major road”.
Rishi Maharaj of EquiGov Institute noted that navigation apps often do not have information about the road conditions or safety of the area.
“These apps are reliant on cell towers and Wifi signals to give your geo-positioning, so cell towers normally use a three-cell tower radius which pings your phone off three cell towers in order to give you a location as to where you are. Obviously, if you are going to places where there are limited cell towers then obviously, the accuracy becomes a little less predictable”, Maharaj explained.
He noted that the chances of either Google Maps or Waze leading users to questionable routes are very slim. But he advised that there is one navigation system that will never fail you- your gut instinct!
According to him, “These maps wouldn’t have knowledge of crime hotspots or places that are questionable. They just taking you on a geographical route, so you also have to be mindful of your surrounding when using these apps”
Nikita Noray told us Sunday’s incident has not made him any less confident in Google Maps or Waze but encouraged citizens to use only familiar routes or “turn back” if they have any scepticism about an area.
If you were wondering whether the package ever made it to the customer from Guayaguyare, it was delivered on Tuesday, not by Nikita or Kesian though.