Even Google Maps is lost in the works of Liège: the proof with these surreal examples


Admittedly, works, especially those related to the tram, are springing up like mushrooms in a city transformed into an open-air construction site. In a handful of key neighborhoods, traffic conditions change regularly. A street that is open one day will not necessarily be open the next.

Even if they sometimes surprise residents and motorists, these modifications are the subject of communication campaigns. Unfortunately, Google Maps seems to skip a lot of this essential data in its collection of traffic information. To the point of killing the credibility of a whole series of routes.

First example: two months of ignoring rue Léopold

Rue Léopold is an essential axis that provides the junction between the historic district of Outremeuse and Place Saint-Lambert in the center, via the Pont des Arches. The Place Saint-Lambert roundabout leads in particular to motorways and high-rise districts.

Rue Léopold is also an essential axis for work on the Liège tram. Main consequence in recent years: the one-way imposed in the direction of Place Saint-Lambert towards the Pont des Arches between July 15, 2019 and April 12, 2022.

The return to two-way traffic since April 12, 2022 is a small blessing that relieves many drivers. But as surprising as it may seem, Google Maps is unaware of this major change, as seen in the screenshot below.

Google Maps carefully avoids Rue Léopold (red arrow) towards Place Saint-Lambert, even though traffic was restored in both directions in April 2022.

In this example, from point A to point B, from the Outremeuse youth hostel to the Citadelle hospital, Google Maps forces you to turn left at the exit of the Pont des Arches, as if rue Léopold were always one way. The application imposes a surreal detour on you to finally reach the roundabout of Place Saint-Lambert, the gateway to the Citadel.

If the loss of time is not catastrophic, the proposed route becomes much more time-consuming in other cases, especially when Google Maps sends you to take the motorway to Le Laveu via the wharf of the Derivation, instead of ” simply” take you through the Saint-Lambert roundabout.

Second example: the useless hook of the E25/A25 in the direction of Maastricht, Visé and Verviers

Eminently popular when entering and leaving Liège, the four traffic lanes (two in each direction) of the E25/A25 motorway will become an urban boulevard by 2024. Work has been in full swing since March 15, 2022.

Concretely, engulfed by diggers, the first two kilometers in the direction of Liège – Herstal – Verviers – Visé – Maastricht no longer exist. Drivers leaving the Ardent City via Bressoux follow a parallel lane on Avenue Georges Truffaut before returning to the E25/A25.

Three months later, Google Maps still doesn’t know. For those who want to leave Liège by the E25/A25 and take the direction of Verviers, for example, the guide service wrongly considers that it is necessary to make a rigorously useless detour via Jupille-sur-Meuse.

Google Maps guidance and navigation application in Liège
Instead of walking quietly along the E25/A25 via Avenue Georges Truffaut, Google Maps wants you to pass through Jupille-sur-Meuse when returning to the E25/A25 towards Visé, Maastricht and Verviers.

Waze and HERE WeGo pass the test

Can we ask a navigation application to be infallible? Obviously not. It is probably impossible to list all the construction sites and traffic changes that affect traffic in every city in the world.

In the specific case of Liège, it is clear that the Waze services, owned by Google, and HERE WeGo, do not crash in the two examples cited above.

Both applications understand that:

– Rue Léopold is once again accessible in both directions.

– Just follow the E25/A25 wisely along Avenue Georges Truffaut to naturally recover the motorway at the end of the works.

The question of Google Maps information sources

These approximations of Google Maps raise serious questions about the sources of information used by the American giant. A certain opacity is required, as this response provided to us in 2019 by Google Belgium reminds us. “Our base map is built from over 1000 authoritative sources, including public and commercial map data, imagery at all levels (satellite, aerial and street) and user input.”

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