How Google Maps Are Getting It Wrong In Queensland
The Queensland government has joined local businesses calling on Google to fix its maps of the state's outback regions.
The push comes after concerns that travel times listed on Google Maps have been exaggerated estimates, which could be putting tourists off travelling around rural regions in what is QLD's Year of Outback Tourism.
Acting Premier and Minister for State Development, Cameron Dick, said accurate travel times needed to be available on Google Map to encourage people to visit places off the beaten track.
“Business owners in Queensland’s south-west have raised concerns inaccurate travel times are deterring people from visiting the region," Dick told 10 daily.
“This year, for the first time ever, we are expecting one million visitors to outback Queensland, but we need Google’s support to help us achieve these numbers".
The push comes after the ABC reported some Queensland business owners claimed "significant discrepancies" between travel times given by Google Maps and the reality.
One business owner told the ABC that one route which he had done and had taken about four hours was estimated on Google Maps to take nearly 11 hours.
Dick told 10 daily he has since written to Google Australia calling for improvements to be made a priority.
The letter sent on Tuesday, seen by 10 daily, praised the company for acknowledging it was investigating the matter but urged further action to be taken as soon as possible.
"Google Maps service plays a vital role in supporting local businesses and tourism in Outback Queensland, as a service used by many to plan their trip and ensuring that drivers arrive safely at their destination," the letter said.
In a statement to 10 daily, a Google spokesperson said their Maps application strives to "accurately model and reflect the real world".
"We apologise if any businesses or communities have been affected negatively due to errors on the map," the spokesperson said.
"We are investigating to see what may have happened here and will take the appropriate action."
CEO for the Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC), Daniel Gschwind, said inaccurate estimate times were "not helpful", and placed more hurdles between tourists and the outback.
"It is already perceived to be a very long way, so we want to do everything we can so that visitors can get there," Gschwind told 10 daily.
He said a lot of Australians, let alone international tourists, think outback regions are simply "a place too far" meaning they never even consider it as a travel destination.
"We want to encourage them to go out and explore ... what is quintessentially Queensland and quintessentially Australia"
Last month, QLD Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk declared 2019 the Year of Outback Tourism, announcing a $3 million campaign to "show off all that the Queensland Outback has to offer."
An additional $10 million Queensland Outback Tourism Infrastructure Fund would also support 15 new Outback Tourism projects.
These included luxury glamping, five-star artesian baths, a glass-floored bridge across Cobbold Gorge and a new home for Australia’s biggest fossil: Cooper the dinosaur, a joint statement from the state government said.
"We are backing our bush with a $10 million investment to support tourism operators, build new attractions and entice more visitors to the region," Dick told 10 daily on Tuesday.
Gschwind said the campaign to get more people in the outback would "absolutely help" the tourism industry.
"We have seen a lot of investment going into the outback for tourism attractions," he said.
"There's plenty of good reasons to go and plenty of things that are happening now in the outback".
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