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Author Topic: Where have the boundaries on Google Maps gone???  (Read 5906 times)

ixnay

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Where have the boundaries on Google Maps gone???
« on: December 02, 2016, 10:44:48 PM »

[The mods can move this thread to wherever they think it fits]

Has anybody else noticed that Google Maps no longer shows red boundaries of counties, municipalities, postal zones, etc. when you type them in?  (At least on my laptop and tablet)

ixnay
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vdeane

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Re: Where have the boundaries on Google Maps gone???
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2016, 10:50:19 PM »

Just noticed it.  Is Google trying to make their product less useful or something?

EDIT: https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!msg/maps/0XFH5RDJCRE/V0H8NXIRCwAJ
« Last Edit: December 02, 2016, 11:15:57 PM by vdeane »
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Duke87

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Re: Where have the boundaries on Google Maps gone???
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2016, 12:29:09 AM »

Google Maps stopped consistently showing county boundaries a while ago. This, however, is more feature atrophy than was present before.

The thread you link to also points out that Google Maps has ceased providing the amount of time a trip takes "without traffic" when you ask for directions. Which is seemingly annoying although playing around with it I get what they're doing here. If I ask for directions along the Cross Bronx Expressway it won't tell me how much time it would take without traffic (rare, of course, for the Cross Bronx), but it will give me the current amount of time and point out that it is "the usual traffic". Meanwhile if I find a place where there is an atypical backup and have Google Maps give me directions through it, it gives me the time in current traffic but it also tells me how many minutes of delay the traffic is causing - so if I'm not traveling now and want to discount the unusual traffic I can just subtract.

While this prevents the user from really getting a handle on what free flow travel times are, it instead does something that is legitimately more useful: it tells the user what typical real world travel times are, and is smart enough to recognize the difference between normal congestion and abnormal congestion.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2016, 12:31:22 AM by Duke87 »
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ixnay

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Re: Where have the boundaries on Google Maps gone???
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2016, 08:20:25 AM »

Just noticed it.  Is Google trying to make their product less useful or something?

EDIT: https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!msg/maps/0XFH5RDJCRE/V0H8NXIRCwAJ

Some of the responders on that thread say they need the boundary feature for work and such, and I don't blame them, but for me its just fun to bring up county, city, borough, and township lines.  Mapquest shows county lines but IMO Google Maps has better graphics.

I'm not holding my breath waiting for Google to solve this...

ixnay
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Duke87

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Re: Where have the boundaries on Google Maps gone???
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2016, 11:18:45 PM »

OSM also shows these boundaries without the need to search so long as you are sufficiently zoomed in. For this reason I started using it over Google for such purposes years ago.
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kphoger

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Re: Where have the boundaries on Google Maps gone???
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2016, 11:52:58 PM »

Just noticed it.  Is Google trying to make their product less useful or something?

EDIT: https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!msg/maps/0XFH5RDJCRE/V0H8NXIRCwAJ

Some of the responders on that thread say they need the boundary feature for work and such, and I don't blame them, but for me its just fun to bring up county, city, borough, and township lines.  Mapquest shows county lines but IMO Google Maps has better graphics.

I'm not holding my breath waiting for Google to solve this...

ixnay

Well, I guess I'm glad I used it for work purposes to make a boundary map of Lincoln (NE) with ZIP code overlay a couple of weeks ago. A little harder now.
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vdeane

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Re: Where have the boundaries on Google Maps gone???
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2016, 05:29:22 PM »

Google Maps stopped consistently showing county boundaries a while ago. This, however, is more feature atrophy than was present before.

The thread you link to also points out that Google Maps has ceased providing the amount of time a trip takes "without traffic" when you ask for directions. Which is seemingly annoying although playing around with it I get what they're doing here. If I ask for directions along the Cross Bronx Expressway it won't tell me how much time it would take without traffic (rare, of course, for the Cross Bronx), but it will give me the current amount of time and point out that it is "the usual traffic". Meanwhile if I find a place where there is an atypical backup and have Google Maps give me directions through it, it gives me the time in current traffic but it also tells me how many minutes of delay the traffic is causing - so if I'm not traveling now and want to discount the unusual traffic I can just subtract.

While this prevents the user from really getting a handle on what free flow travel times are, it instead does something that is legitimately more useful: it tells the user what typical real world travel times are, and is smart enough to recognize the difference between normal congestion and abnormal congestion.
Not sure if they mention the usual travel time for all possible routes or just their recommended one.  I do know they go back to mentioning "without traffic" once you start setting points to alter the route or have multiple destinations.
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kphoger

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Re: Where have the boundaries on Google Maps gone???
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2016, 08:43:25 PM »

I just noticed, however, that they brought back the ability to display a directions route while in terrain view. For quite a while, you could only do so in regular map view or aerial view. I dig bringing it back.
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coatimundi

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Re: Where have the boundaries on Google Maps gone???
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2016, 02:45:32 PM »

What's strange is that, if you just Google a place - like "Las Vegas, NV" - the map preview in the search results show the boundaries. However, when you click on the map, the boundaries are not shown. The data layer is still there, but the Google Maps interface (I'm assuming Search loads it as a service) is deliberately excluding.

Google Maps API never exposed this layer, and I think they did so deliberately for the purpose of deterring data miners. However, my guess is that those data miners were still getting at the data by poking holes in the Google Maps interface and, thus, subverting the rules.
I think this would be a lot easier if Google offered some level of transparency on changes like this. I think this is a totally reasonable reason to change something.

That said, there are plenty of other options for displaying county, municipal, state, and other boundaries through public data. But, of course, in order to put it on Google Maps, you have to program it.
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vdeane

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Re: Where have the boundaries on Google Maps gone???
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2016, 06:00:55 PM »

Honestly, there's not much point in them even HAVING the data if they aren't going to offer it to users.
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coatimundi

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Re: Where have the boundaries on Google Maps gone???
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2016, 06:18:31 PM »

From the perspective of software: offering it means that you have to maintain it. By not offering it and forcing users to get it on their own, they're not making any promises of accuracy, and are avoiding having to follow the minutia of boundary changes among the thousands of municipalities throughout the country, let alone throughout the world.
The US data is available for everyone for free through the Census Bureau: https://www.census.gov/geo/maps-data/data/tiger-cart-boundary.html
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ixnay

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Re: Where have the boundaries on Google Maps gone???
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2016, 08:01:14 AM »

https://support.google.com/mapmaker/answer/7195127?visit_id=1-636166259589913975-2779053206&p=graduation&rd=1

Quote
Google Map Maker graduates to Google Maps

Google Map Maker will be retired in March 2017.

Since 2008, the Google Map Maker community has edited and moderated millions of features to improve the Google Maps experience for users worldwide. To make it easier for all Google Maps users to contribute changes to the map while at home or on the go, we’ve started to graduate functionality from Map Maker to Google Maps on both desktop and mobile.

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vdeane

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Re: Where have the boundaries on Google Maps gone???
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2016, 01:55:44 PM »

From the perspective of software: offering it means that you have to maintain it. By not offering it and forcing users to get it on their own, they're not making any promises of accuracy, and are avoiding having to follow the minutia of boundary changes among the thousands of municipalities throughout the country, let alone throughout the world.
The US data is available for everyone for free through the Census Bureau: https://www.census.gov/geo/maps-data/data/tiger-cart-boundary.html
If they don't want to maintain it, they should just delete it, not hide it from the user and keep it collecting dust on a server somewhere.  In any case, it's unnatural to not see the boundaries, extremely annoying, and one shouldn't have to cobble together data from multiple sources to see this stuff.  I'd much rather have a one-stop shop.
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coatimundi

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Re: Where have the boundaries on Google Maps gone???
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2016, 03:53:03 PM »

I'd much rather have a one-stop shop.

Except that the shop is free. And is always open. And allows you to take as much as you want.
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Brian556

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Re: Where have the boundaries on Google Maps gone???
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2016, 08:04:21 PM »

I noticed it, and it sucks. It was already bad enough having to type in a county name to get its boundaries, and also having them disappear as I zoomed in.

Google Maps should at least make county and city boundaries layers that can be selected, deselected.

I've resorted to printed laminated screenshots of the Texas and Florida Official state maps for quick county reference.
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Thing 342

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Re: Where have the boundaries on Google Maps gone???
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2016, 08:27:15 PM »

Either this problem has been fixed, or only appears for some users: (note the date)
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ixnay

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Re: Where have the boundaries on Google Maps gone???
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2016, 09:20:24 PM »

Thing 342, it's working for me for *some* places but not others (Philadelphia and Chester, PA but not Pittsburgh; Redlands, CA but not L.A., San Francisco, or Mendocino).  So apparently progress is being made.

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Re: Where have the boundaries on Google Maps gone???
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2016, 09:36:08 PM »

Manchester NH works for me. Maybe it only works for logged-in users.
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Re: Where have the boundaries on Google Maps gone???
« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2016, 09:55:59 PM »

It seemed to not work for a few days; counties have been largely absent for a while, but towns and cities worked fine until a few days ago.

But I just tried a few parishes in Louisiana, a few cities in Alabama, and tested a few county outlines...now they are all outlined in red once more.

silverback1065

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Re: Where have the boundaries on Google Maps gone???
« Reply #19 on: December 06, 2016, 09:57:44 PM »

I always liked this feature, it's interesting to see what the actual size of some communities are.  I wish maps had county boundary layers, township layers, and a weather layer!
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vdeane

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Re: Where have the boundaries on Google Maps gone???
« Reply #20 on: December 06, 2016, 10:09:04 PM »

Back when I tried it.  Looks a little different than it used to, plus I think one's able to zoom in closer now too.
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ixnay

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Re: Where have the boundaries on Google Maps gone???
« Reply #21 on: December 07, 2016, 07:20:25 AM »

Manchester NH works for me. [

Same for me.  But it's still not outlining Manchester, UK.

It's also outlining Liverpool, PA but not Liverpool, UK.

OTOH it's outlining Reading, PA as well as Reading, UK.

Quote
Maybe it only works for logged-in users.

Care to explain?  I've never performed a login process for any Google Maps applications.

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silverback1065

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Re: Where have the boundaries on Google Maps gone???
« Reply #22 on: December 07, 2016, 07:36:40 AM »

i'm logged in and the only city it would outline was oregon city, oregon
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Alex

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Re: Where have the boundaries on Google Maps gone???
« Reply #23 on: December 07, 2016, 09:03:20 AM »

I noticed this last week as well and was wondering. Bing maps still displays the city limits if you type in a city FWIW.

Regarding Google dropping their display, could be that maintaining up to date city limits is too much of a hassle. When I did research for my old boss last year for his Tallahassee area book, Gadsden County GIS was reluctant to supply me with city limits shape files. I had to coax the property appraiser GIS specialist to speak with his boss to allow me to purchase the files for $100, under the premise that they would get several copies of the atlas my old boss was making. The guy made it seem as if their data was protected, and still seemed reluctant to supply it to me. I ran into similar issues years ago with Baldwin County, Alabama and others when working at Mapsource too.

ixnay

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Re: Where have the boundaries on Google Maps gone???
« Reply #24 on: December 07, 2016, 07:11:11 PM »

The city limits are back for

Pittsburgh, PA
East Pittsburgh, PA
Pittsburg, KS
and
Pittsburg, CA

As for CDP's, Ocean Pines, MD's borders are showing but not West Pittsburg, PA (yes, it goes without the final "h").

ixnay
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