Mrs. Q and I tried to drive from Philadelphia to Metropark the other day, with a printout from Google Maps to guide us. At a critical point we were directed to make a slight left onto Kaighn Avenue. What we were in fact supposed to do was to take the left-hand side of a highway split, which was labeled “NJ-38 / NJ-70.” It turns out that NJ-38 is Kaighn Avenue — but, not knowing this, we ended up toodling around lower Camden for a while before unfolding the state map and figuring out how to get back on course.
You could take various lessons from this — that we should have had the map of New Jersey open in the first place, that we should have a GPS for navigating unfamiliar territory — but my first thought was: why isn’t there a Wiki overlay for Google Maps? There ought to be a website in which I can load up the relevant directions, then annotate “4. Slight left on Kaighn avenue” with the comment “No signage for Kaighn avenue: take the left-hand side of the split, following signs to NJ-38 and NJ-70.” Then anyone else whose Google Maps directions query involved the same maneuver would be given the option to see my annotation, and hopefully the total amount of Camden-toodling in the world would be diminished.
The annotations wouldn’t be limited to clarifying the signage; they could also include things like “brutally short merge lane entering from the right” or “speed trap” or “the diner at the corner of this left turn makes really good corned beef hash.” Wouldn’t something like this — if it were popular enough — make Google Maps a lot more useful? Or are we the only ones who have this problem?