Google Maps Center Algorithm May End You In Another Country

Oct 25, 2011 • 8:32 am | comments (2) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Maps

Google Maps KenyaDoc Sheldon's Clinic, a business that operates in San Diego, California, was being reported as operating in Kenya. But why?

The reason a business can show up in a country it has no reason for being in, is when you target multiple service areas around the world.

In this case, the business was listed as services the following areas: Reykjanesbaer, Iceland; Toronto, ON, Canada; Tasmania, Australia; Perth WA, Australia; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Queensland, Australia; Manchester, UK; Montreal, QC, Canada; New York, NY, USA; Houston, TX, USA.

When you plot the center point of all these locations, you get Kenya.

When you select the option to "hid your address" and list multiple service areas, this is how Google works. Joel from Google said, "We're to find the 'center' of all these service areas. It appears that Kenya is the center of your service area."

He recommended that he remove the hid address feature and things will go back to normal, and they did.

Forum discussion at Google Places Help.

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10/25/2011 03:53 pm

A slow hand-clap for the developer who wrote that "feature". Averaging geographical points isn't really a useful exercise, particularly in a case like this. It would be better to either display the head office location as entered by the user, or no address at all.

Sheldon Campbell

10/25/2011 04:05 pm

It was a little confusing, Barry. As beautiful as the Lake Victoria area is, it just didn't work into my plans. ;) I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly someone from Google responded to my question, and pinpointed my problem. The other aspect of my report, unfortunately wasn't addressed... repeated calls and hang-ups from someone at Google Places... which is a much-reported issue. Methinks their outsourcing needs to be undertaken more carefully.

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