Gave Directions to a Stranger (24th October 2012)

While unlocking my bicycle a woman with an elderly relative and a younger relative using a wheelchair asked where Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital was. After floundering for several seconds, I exclaimed: “Oh hang on, I could use my phone!”

While I waited for gMaps to load more date, the woman pulled out a rather flash Samsung. “It’s the first time I’ve really used it,” she explained. After some scrolling I spotted the Maps application with a Google logo. Started quickly and looked good on the screen, although the location was about 1km wrong for the first several seconds.

They got a walking route on her phone and I pointed them East to get them started. My good deed for the day.

Fog of War

gMaps loaded what looked like extremely low resolution imagery at first. I searched for Great ormond street hospital and the result was an extremely low resolution H. It was red and bold so I knew it was Google’ symbol for a hospital and waited for more detail to load.

After a minute and getting the woman started with her Maps app, I tried zooming out. D’oh! It was just at a crazy close zoom and had found the right location!

Something about sensible defaults? No idea how it got so zoomed in. More to the point, why does that zoom level even exist? It doesn’t show more detail for 10 smudgy pixels to fill the screen!