The December 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

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Not surprising, there are known errors in Google Maps. Streets are mislabeled, businesses are shown in locations that are incorrect, etc. For example, problems with the map of Toronto can be found here, including the inclusion of two CN Towers  standing next to one another in street view.

Rarely are things completely fouled up.

There was an neat little story in London Telegraph over the weekend about Google maps and the town of Argleton, Lancashire, England, postcode L39. Turns out you can find the town on the map, along with views of various homes, job listings and even dating listing.

Trouble is, there is no such town: only an empty field occupies the space.

The listed information is real, but belong to people, businesses, etc. who live in another part of the L39 postcode.

The Telegraph story says, "Google and the company that supplies its mapping data are unable to explain the presence of the phantom town and are investigating."

A spokesperson for the Dutch company Tele Atlas, which provided the information to Google said that, "Mistakes like this are not common, and I really can't explain why these anomalies get into our database."

The Telegraph, however, says that," 'Argle' echoes the word 'Google', while the phantom town’s name is also an anagram of 'Not Real G', and 'Not Large'."

One explanation is that the town was placed there as a "trap" to see who might be copying Google maps and violating its copyrights. Sometimes maps contain "trap streets" just for this purpose.

Another explanation is that is really the future location of England's Area 51 or possibly the "real" location of Hogwarts (apologies to Alnwick).

All other explanations are welcome - let the conspiracy theories begin!

The Conversation (0)

Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

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A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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