Whoops, there goes the Chinese embassy

So I searched for the following address on several popular mapping sites:

Dos Trece, Calle Carme 40, Barcelona, Spain

OpenStreetMap‘s gazetteer search is reliably hopeless and this occasion was no exception. It returned nothing.

Microsoft’s Bing Maps did worse than that, much worse, as you’ll see if you click the link – it directed me to Santiago de Compostela, which is appropriate enough to be an easter-egg. That’s a miss by 549 miles. I could be using asteroids and it wouldn’t be a hit.

Nokia’s Here.com, ex-maps.nokia.com and much else, nailed it through the roof and down the airshaft, with 3D images and a review from tripadvisor.

Google Maps was close enough but a bit further down the street, and provided a ton of reviews and Google+ recommendations.

Yahoo! truncated my query to “Barcelona, Spain”, but correctly located the city. This seems to be because it doesn’t like having a business name and an address in the same query string. Dropping the business name gave me a perfectly acceptable map, but having to re-enter the query is a fail.

So that’s Nokia 1), Google 2), Yahoo!) 3, OSM 4), and Microsoft 5).

It’s a pity about OSM because the mapping, at its best, is beautiful and really rich in information, and the project is fantastic. But its adjacent tools like the gazetteer are hopeless, have always been hopeless, haven’t improved since I’ve been using it (since about 2008), and nobody seems to care. It works better if you have a location and want to look at mapping of that location.

That said, when it doesn’t know something, at least it admits defeat rather than producing drivel like Bing.

2 Comments on "Whoops, there goes the Chinese embassy"

  1. Moreover, if you use “Carrer” (Catalan) instead of “Calle”, OSM is still defeated and Bing offers nothing, not even in Galicia. here.com, however, seems to be functionally Castilian/Catalan bilingual, which is a nice touch.


  2. If I’d just bought a massive stake in Nokia and was using them as the main manufacturer to drive my mobile platform, then I might just about have considered doing a deal for their (excellent I agree) mapping platform also…


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