Sardinian town tries to ban Google Maps

Posted by Elise Kirsten on 16 October 2019

A legal complaint to try and block Google Maps’ signal has been lodged by Salvatore Corrias, mayor of the hamlet of Baunei on the large Italian island of Sardinia in the Mediterranean, after tourists have been led into dangerous situations by the application one time too many.

Last week owners of a Porsche were trying to reach a secluded white sandy cove but Google Maps directed them to a steep cliff above it.

‘There was no way down to the beach on foot for them,’ Corrias told The Daily Beast.

‘There wasn’t even a way to turn their expensive car around. But even worse, if they had followed the directions at night, Google would have sent them right off the cliff.’

The legal complaint comes after the island town’s emergency services where called out 144 times for both cars and hikers in recent years. The call outs are depleting the small towns financial reserves, as tourists don’t pay for emergency services.

Baunei first responders had to turn the porsche around ‘by physically lifting it up and pointing it back down the mountain range after rescuers reached them on foot (knowing they could not actually drive on the road they were called to),’ accorrding to The Daily Beast.

‘We wrote to Google hundreds of times, so we have no choice but to file a legal complaint to block it,’ said Corrias.

Corrias, told CNN that authorities have placed signs around the area in Italian and English, warning tourists not to ‘follow the directions on Google Maps’, and also that the dirt tracks are only suitable for 4x4s and all-terrain vehicles.

Image credit: Comune di Baunei

‘Too many sedans and hatchbacks are getting stuck on unpassable tracks – sometimes offroad vehicles too. All because they follow Google Maps, whose instructions are often misleading on our roads.’

The town’s authorities have contacted Google Maps and the company has promised to look into it. ‘We’re waiting. We have faith that they’ll do it,’ Corrias told CNN.

‘But we’ve seen nothing concrete yet, so we’ve gone ahead with the signs, putting them at the entrance to the most used roads, from [beaches] Cala Luna to Cala Goloritzé.’

In the meantime the mayor sugests that tourist use of old-school paper maps or even better, to make use of a local expert guide. ‘None of them would ever put visitors in danger,’ he said.

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