Road closures, detours cause confusion for GPS users

Road closures cause GPS confusion

CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – Summer travel season is in full swing and so is construction season.

As people rely more on smartphones and GPS to get them places, it should be easier to get around. But that is not always the case. Smartphone maps and GPS units do not always show construction closures and detours.

Apple Maps shows the detour for Interstate 680 and Western Reserve Road, but not the one for Route 224 and Route 11 in Canfield.

Ohio Department of Transportation spokesman Brent Kovacs said the state does not have any contact with the companies that provide electronic maps and GPS services.

“ODOT is pretty much on our own. We use OHGO primarily. We post stuff on our Facebook and Twitter accounts. We have a website,” Kovacs said.

He said the best bet for drivers planning summer trips is to check out their route ahead of time on the ODOT website. There is also a mobile option called OHGO.

And while it does not take the place of a GPS, it can help make sure a planned route is accurate.

“Say if you are say coming from Youngstown and want to go to Columbus for a long weekend, you can just check all the routes from 76 to 71. You can see traffic speeds. You can see if there is construction projects. You can check out traffic cameras,” Kovacs said.

The OHGO app is available on the Apple App store.

Mara Harris, a representative of Google Maps, sent the following statement in response to this story:

“Thank you for reaching out. The various types of data found on Google Maps comes from a wide range of sources. Our base map data (things like place names, borders and road networks) comes from a variety of authoritative public and commercial data sources, user contributions and imagery references. Overall, this provides a very comprehensive and up-to-date map, but we recognize that there may be occasional inaccuracies that could arise from any of those sources. While we regularly update the map, the amount of time it takes to update varies. Fortunately, we have tools such as our “report a problem” tool, that users can access to speed up the process.”

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