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Google Maps Sends Campers to Private Home Not New Jersey Park

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by hearit

hearit's picture
In The News

Unwanted visitors can spook you and be annoying--especially ones you don't know. One New Jersey couple isn't as fond of Google Maps since campers, boaters and outdoor-oriented people are turning up on their doorstep. Or, their driveway. People want to know where the damn entrance is to Round Valley State Park. Google's kind of leading drivers astray.

It's supposed to be there, at least according to Google Maps. But Round Valley State Park entrance is missing -- depending what you call it. If you call it "Round Valley Reservoir" you're in trouble, or at least some homeowners are going to have some difficulty.

Like most things in life, it started out small: "It started with one or two people but last year dozens of people were coming up," the New Jersey homeowners reported to The Star-Ledger. "This year, someone told us that the directions for Round Valley State Park on Google Maps led them to our driveway."

The couple's made attempts to deter traffic from their quiet getaway, one of only a few log homes built at the end of a quarter-mile long driveway that backs the Round Valley State Park. The New Jersey homeowners chose their location for peace and quiet -- to be with nature. But more than nature is coming to them, and they don't know how to stop it without Google's help.

They've put up signs. But most aren't paying attention to the "No Trespassing, Private Road" signs that have been posted to no avail -- signs lined at regular intervals from the driveway to a stretch along the New Jersey home's private entrance.

"Many people choose to ignore them [the 'No Trespassing' signs] and come up anyway," says homeowner Gneiding. But it's not just about the signs anymore. It turns out things are getting downright hostile -- but not from the direction some would expect. It's park visitors who are getting irritated over the fact that the Gneiding's home is not in fact the park they're desperately trying to find.

This spring, the truth came out: One park visitor started talking about some directions -- that happened to come from Google and its Google Maps service.

The Star-Ledger investigated and came up with something interesting: "If a Google Maps user enters the "Round Valley State Park" or "Round Valley Recreation Area," they’re directed to the proper park entrance on Route 629." The newspaper also found that Maps provides the correct directions if Google users enter the actual physical address found on the park's website. The Google glitch apparently pops up when Maps users enter the commonly-used alternate for the "Round Valley State Park", the main part known as "Round Valley Reservoir". Enter that alternate "Round Valley Reservoir" as a destination, and it seems you're destined to find your way to the Gneiding’s driveway rather than the actual Round Valley State Park entrance.

The patience of weary and lost travelers is wearing on the patience of the home owners. One misguided New Jersey park visitor, who apparently followed the incorrect Google Maps directions for park locale, mistakenly took the Gneidings house for an available pad -- pulling in a boat and trailer into their driveway before 7 a.m.

The Gneidings say they've tried to notify Google about the problem -- even using the website's "report a problem" tool back in early June over six weeks ago, in efforts to get park visitors to stray from their home.

While Google's waiting to fix those Maps directions, summer season is in full swing -- and so are packs of park visitors who are looking to find their way into the park itself. Desperate times call for desperate measures: On July 4, the homeowners posted a huge sign at their driveway: "NOT Park Entrance... Private Driveway... Google Maps is wrong!"

The Gneidings wait, since they've kind of got no other option, but there's still been no correction by the company and its maps. A response from Google notes the error and says directions for visitors will be fixed -- it's just that Google just doesn't say when. On the (supposed) upside, the Maps creator does say the couple will be notified when the erroneous directions and location are fixed.

But something says that won't be necessary.


Round Valley State Park
1220 Lebanon-Stanton Road
Lebanon, NJ 08833-3115
United States
Phone: (908) 236-6355
40° 37' 21.8244" N, 74° 51' 18.1584" W
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