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Microsoft's maps lost Melbourne because it used bad Wikipedia data

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Passing the buck

So Slurp is blaming someone else for their lack of QA.

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Meh

Re: Passing the buck

Would you expect anything else?

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Pint

Missed opportunity

Simon. You should have banged in a Wikipedia entry for yourself, identifying yourself as 'President (sic) of Australia'.

Then, between 9:11 and 9:21, when he was busy Googling you and ending up at Wikipedia, it would have resulted in another layer of comedy screenshots.

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Re: Missed opportunity

It would have been funnier to change your title to "government software procurement chief", far more grovelling would have ensued.

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Absolute proof

FTT: "This issue has been fixed. Missing negative sign in Wikipedia data."

Hmmm, I wonder what other data Wikipedia got the sign wrong on?

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Re: Absolute proof

What other data is wrong on Wikipedia?

Uh, no, this means it's a great time to hack Bing maps! Nobody really checks what's on Wikipedia anyways, so it should be fun to fudge the locations of everything.

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Re: Absolute proof

Indeed, I wonder how the data gets from Wikipedia to Bing. Is it a one time grab, so if the location is wrong at the time they get it Bing will have it wrong until it is fixed manually, or is it refreshed periodically? If the latter, then if you changed the Wikipedia entry for the location of Chicago to be in Texas and no one noticed, Bing Maps would eventually try to direct you towards the Lone Star state when you got directions to Wrigley Field!

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Re: Absolute proof

"Indeed, I wonder how the data gets from Wikipedia to Bing. Is it a one time grab, so if the location is wrong at the time they get it Bing will have it wrong until it is fixed manually, or is it refreshed periodically?"

Or even on the fly?

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Re: Absolute proof

"Nobody really checks what's on Wikipedia anyways" - true. And even fewer people check Bing maps either so it really doesn't matter.

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Childcatcher

Re: Absolute proof

...it's a great time to hack Bing maps!

It's always a great time to hack Bing maps. Consider that MS droids are all forced to use only MS products for everything. What would happen if Redmond were to be relocated in Bing maps to, say, the bottom of the Marianas Trench? Hilarity will ensue.

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Re: Absolute proof

No negative sign... It was marked "South". But of course, Microsoft assumes numbers are always signed...

Never mind the nonsense the -37.8136° South would be...

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Mushroom

Re: Absolute proof

FTT: "This issue has been fixed. Missing negative sign in Wikipedia data."

Hmmm, I wonder what other data Wikipedia got the sign wrong on?

I'm sure the drone Ops in the US wouldn't rely on Bing/Wikipedia for target positioning..

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"No negative sign... It was marked "South"."

A common problem on Wikipedia. There was a massive war between "editors" on Wikipedia about the convention of GPS coordinates around the time of the change (EG, should it be labelled as 'west' vs negative longitude / is it 'south' or negative latitude). Its one of those pointless squabbles that Wikipedia throws more effort into than was spent to put a man on the moon. For equal levels of insanity / pointlessness, look at the edit wars for the proper spelling of a character from a fuckin' video game (FF7 and Aerith / Aeris)... But then again, this is the same website where the article on the movie "Juno" is almost 4 times as long as the article on the god Juno.

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Logical Consistency testing 101

I used to do validation of this sort of data all the time, there is a boatload of tools and the methods are well published (though it seems not well known). I've seen a great slide illustrating spatial data rejected by a validation frameworks, pity I can't find a version on the web but you can tell *what* sorts of errors are the most popular (this particular one is in the top 5). For instance, getting your coordinates out by a decimal place gets you a miniature dataset flowing in the sea off the coast of west Africa near the Greenwich meridian (hint: if it's continental data, it's probably wrong). Once you have a feel for how it can go wrong, you can look out for it. (Cities should be on a land mass unless the name is "Atlantis")

Same for attribute data. You have pH values? Domain better be between 0 and 14. Temperature? Minimum should be less than maximum. You get the idea. If you use data from external sources, you have to be paranoid about QA.

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..."try to direct you towards the Lone Star state when you got directions to Wrigley Field!"

Or when you tried to visit Elwood Blues at home?

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Re: Absolute proof

"No negative sign... It was marked "South". But of course, Microsoft assumes numbers are always signed..."

I could have told them that within 5 seconds of seeing where Melbourne was on the map. Japan is directly north of Melbourne and Adelaide, in fact my house is less than 15 km west of the exact longitude of the summit of Fujiyama. The mountain is also about the same latitude north as Adelaide is south; in fact if my house swapped its latitude sign I'd actually have a spectacular view of Fujiyama across the bay south of Numazu from my bedroom window!

So the first thing I thought when I saw Melbourne in that position was "The stupid sods have swapped the latitude sign!"

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Re: Absolute proof

Mischievous, destructive and, potentially harmful to human life.

Please reconsider, and ponder the meaning of Christianity (or any other belief system for the greater good) before taking any such action just for cheap shot at Microsoft.

A lot of serious and vulnerable people are unwitting users of this data.

Thanks to The Register for sensitising Microsoft in a whimsical manner, leading to improved accuracy.

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Re: Absolute proof

Of course not, those TOP GUN types are bound to be using APPLE MAPS.

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Where's Melbourne?

I'm comfortable with Melbourne near Japan (the sushi will be better but the coffee will be worse)

How do we transport

- Northbridge (WA)

- Ceduna (SA)

- Queensland

- Tasmania

+++

to more suitable locations such as Siberia or the middle of the Sahara

Thinking Big - how can we relocate the USA to the middle of a black hole?

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Facepalm

WTF?

The developer API's don't use this and didn't have this error.

So, the developer APIs don't drop a sign that the end-user APIs do, for particular data? More like they're working on a different dataset.

This nincompoop needs to be educated on some essential terminology (well, there's a reason he's Senior Program Manager at Microsoft. Quite likely a "senior moment")

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Re: WTF?

Quite.

It was the sentence before that one that struck me: Mainly only for rich description on map website.

Its location on the map is hardly the "rich description on map website" - that, surely, is the blurb that appears in the left panel when searching for a location.

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Re: WTF?

I think he means longitude and latitude can have - signs and the one in Wikipedia was incorrect. Perhaps the developer version doesn't get any info from Wikipedia (indeed a different dataset as you say). why the non developer one did is a mystery.

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Re: WTF?

Cant be a senior moment. All high tech companies have purged anyone 40 or older. More likely an HIB visa holder on facebook and twitter.

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GiGo

Do programmers still use the old adage, "garbage in, garbage out." That was the first thing that came to mind when reading about Microsofts' entertaining misplacement of Melbourne.

^__^

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The Internet Never Forgets

You should archive the tweets as screenshots can be faked before the first dose of caffeine in the morning.

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Anonymous Coward

Swindon

Is there hope?

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Joke

Re: Swindon

If you are in Swindon, then no.

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Re: Swindon

If you are in Swindon, then no.

Upvoted, but as a former Swindon resident (Swindonista? Swindonite? ahwhocares) I feel slightly guilty doing so.

Swindon is a fine town with many interesting roundabouts and curry houses. Parts of Old Town are almost picturesque. The people are friendly (as long as you avoid Park North, Park South, Penhill, etc - just kidding, I have friends there) and the Railway Museum is always worth a visit.

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Paris Hilton

Re: Swindon

but as a former Swindon resident (Swindonista? Swindonite? ahwhocares)

Swindled?

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Which Melbourne?

From the article: As commenters pointed out in Sunday's story on this mess, Microsoft's motto was once “Where do you want to go today?” If your answer was Melbourne, you probably ended up using Linux. ®

If your answer was Melbourne, you should then have been asked "which one". There are 3 of them in England, although one of them has no "e".

Other Melbournes may be available.

</nitpick>

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Re: Which Melbourne?

Given the "quality" of Microsofts spell check - you might even get a list of all the Marlboroughs there are. After all, they both start with "M" and have an "lb", even a "u" in them.

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Anonymous Coward

Ba-Dum-Tssch!

"There are 3 [Melbournes] in England, although one of them has no "e"."

Well, I guess the illegal raves there aren't much cop then!

(Yeah, I know. 1991 called, it wants its hip new drug slang back).

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Happy

Re: Ba-Dum-Tssch!

I suppose my post was just begging for something like that as a response. Have an upvote.

Had it been the Yorkshire Melbourne that had no "e" we'd have had to say No "e", bah goom...

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Anonymous Coward

Pokemon Go should be interesting on Windows phone if it ever comes out.

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What about the Copyright?

I notice that there is a copyright “© 2016 Microsoft” notice on the map page. Now they tell us that they blame the source they stole from.

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Happy

Re: What about the Copyright?

I notice that there is a copyright “© 2016 Microsoft” notice on the map page. Now they tell us that they blame the source they stole from.

You remind me... I have in my possession a German map of London and environs, printed circa 1940 for Operation Sea Lion (the aborted invasion of England). It meticulously shows all roads - no M25, of course! - towns/hamlets, airfields and so on (these things were printed in their thousands, so it's not particularly rare or valuable).

And at the bottom of the map is a copyright notice, acknowledging that the map is based upon 1927 Ordnance Survey data.

I have always been most amused by this - surely only Ze Germans would acknowledge the copyright of the country they're planning to invade!

"OK mein Kameraden, we're going to invade them - our opposition will comprise many tank battalions, dozens of divisions of infantry, several squadrons of fighters and bombers.... and a phalanx of intellectual property lawyers.

"Ach! Nein! Ich brauche meine Mütti! Der Krieg ist verloren!!!"

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So a company that doesn't really embrace free software unless it helps them in some way took data from a free encyclopedia.

#howironic

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Not necessarily.

They are just BLAMING the free encyclopedia.

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Isn't that the same for most companies?

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Lost

So that's how they moved the island in Lost! They just edited it's wikipedia entry, and waited for all the mapping software to auto-update.

Been bothering me for years that...

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Cheap way to travel

Okay, I'm editing Wikipedia to move London and Paris to the U.S. I'll give you Washington, D.C., and one other city to be negotiated.

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Joke

Re: Cheap way to travel

move London and Paris to the U.S.

Nonono. Just move London to Paris. Paris is happy because they get the London banks, London is happy because they get to stay in the EU, Amsterdam and Frankfurt are happy because they don't have to deal with those entitled twonks.

And you missed the window to move Cleveland to the Gulag archipelago by a few weeks. Pity.

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Re: Cheap way to travel

Could Los Angeles be placed somewhere near Hamburg please?

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Anonymous Coward

I have to disagree with the comment that anyone can edit Wikipedia. My experience indicates that only liberals can do the editing. All my edits seem to disappear at the hands of Liberal censors.

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Anonymous Coward

Try a more liberal approach then. Sticking to facts might help too.

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Does This Mean.

That we could make a fictitious company and some dud Wikipedia page for it giving a location.. Then Alphabet would index it?.... Kinda interesting to think that could be the case.

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a_a

I like...

...the way he condescends to call ElReg a blog.

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canberra

This page has been moved to:-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principality_of_Hutt_River

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Byline?

Is Andrew on holiday?

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Should have checked on Encarta

I've got a CD somewhere I can lend them.

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