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When Demolition Goes Wrong – Due to Google Maps!

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We know what you’re thinking. Must be them Americans, and you’re right. This happened in Texas last week. But it again tells us that Google Maps although great at finding your way, aren’t a substitute for the RP data and land titles that we use to pinpoint the demolition sites back here in Australia, weeks before things are set in motion.

Here’s what happened

A Texas-based demolition firm Billy “L Nabors Demolition” mistakenly damaged the wrong duplex house in Rowlett, and later blamed Google Maps for incorrect address information. As WFAA-TV reports, the company was permitted to demolish 7601 and 7603 Cousteau Drive, a tornado-damaged duplex in Rowlett, Texas. However, instead, they demolished 7601 and 7603 Calypso Drive, another tornado-damaged duplex a block away.

The owner of one-half of the duplex, Lindsay Diaz, told WFAA that as her neighbor informed her she rushed to the house and saw the destruction. She was obviously distraught as it was the worst possible Google error that cost her place she called home.

Employees from the company later texted Google map the images that caused the error, showing the arrow pointed towards the wrongfully wrecked home. Demolition companies require no license in Texas, but all contractors working in tornado-damaged areas are required to register with the city of Rowlett. The company later confirmed the damage to CBS but later dismissed it saying it wasn’t a big deal.

Their casual attitude was condemned by Brian Funderburk, city manager, as he told WFAA that it indeed is a huge blow to the homeowners as it would cost them a fortune to rebuild it. Local residents protested on the company’s Facebook page for not compensating Diaz for the mistake, as according to them it was an even bigger mistake after the gigantic error. Nevertheless, Google admitted to the error and called for an investigation in an email.

A Google rep told CNNMoney that it was indeed a navigational error and that they have rectified the error and Google Maps now points to Diaz’s home precisely. Apple Maps, Yahoo Maps and MapQuest also show the correct information.

Minor things – due to habit – sometimes can cause havoc. It’s about following procedure, for all 500+ jobs we do each year.

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