Woman’s home demolished after Google Maps error

“A woman whose house was damaged by a tornado late last year now owns nothing but rubble,” Hope King reports for CNNMoney. “A demolition crew destroyed her building by mistake on Tuesday after Google Maps provided wrong directions.”

“Instead of navigating workers to a duplex on Cousteau Drive in Rowlett, Texas, Google Maps took them a block away to Diaz’s duplex on Calypso Drive,” King reports. “‘[Google’s] mistake caused me to lose my home,’ she told CNNMoney on Friday.”

King reports, “Google acknowledged the Maps error in an email, and said it’s investigating the cause.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple Maps has the address correct because, you know, it’s inferior or something.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “brandon” for the heads up.]


  1. The workers should not have put all their faith in a mapping app, any mapping map. they all have database errors that get corrected with time. Stupid, dumb mistake, but such mistakes been happening since long before computers.

    1. You’re a little low on the assignment of blame. The crew is 100% responsible. Any fool who relies on a map database over which they have no control deserves to drive off a cliff.

      I don’t use map software for anything critical, given that I discover errors routinely, up to and including misplacement of entire states.

  2. Regardless of the mapping service I wouldn’t trust any of them to find an exact address, especially a residential one. They’re helpful, but they’re free. This is not a google/apple/bing/whatever issue, this is people not checking something and relying on something which at best should be a guide.

  3. Really, how does this happen? This isn’t the first time for this kind of thing, but it’s the first time I’ve heard a map app blamed.

    Don’t they put numbers on houses, street curbs, etc., anymore?

  4. Anyone who is executing an order as severe as bringing an entire house down should have a system of 100% verification in place that double checks the location to be demolished. And neither should be a phone app.

    1. You mean like a big red notice of demolition nailed to the door? I thought that was standard procedure.
      Spray painting a code onto the walls is also used in cases of wide destruction.

  5. Yes. A failsafe procedure is necessary. The homeowner must positively confirm the correct house in advance. Sort of like surgeons confirming directly with the patient ahead of surgery _exactly_ which body part is being operated on, or removed, or replaced.

    1. Guess what, Failsafe? My sister is a surgical tech and has told me surgical mistakes happen all the time. She has almost witnessed a few—left side for right, almost cut off a testicle when the patient was in for something far less drastic, that kind of thing.

  6. As much as we all want to blame Google for this, it’s not their fault. After reading the article, the crew verified everything except that they were on the correct street. Now, I don’t know the condition of the neighborhood or if there were any street signs available, but one would think that before undertaking something as drastic as building demolition they would have verified ALL location information. Preferably using official zoning and deed information.

    1. • As much as we all want to blame Google for this •

      I don’t.

      I think there are plenty of issues with Google. But then I think there are plenty of issues with a whole load of companies, including Apple.

      Presumably there’s a chain of command in this demolition firm. Presumably someone at the demolition firm visited the correct site when estimating for the project. Presumably that salesperson/surveyor briefed the demolition team with his/her files on the project.

      No matter what the answers are to those questions, the demolition contractors are liable for their mistake.

      Oh, and if you look at Google Street View, there were street signs for Calypso at both ends. And if there aren’t since the tornado, I’d argue that the city bears more responsibility than Google.

    2. MCCFR, that is the point of my post. It’s a terribly unfortunate situation that was entirely preventable. Google bears no liability, and the mere fact that people would be so quick to blame them is petty and juvenile. All technology has its flaws, that this company would rely on a free consumer level software product to conduct their business is pathetic. This smells more like an attempt to lay blame at the feet of a wealthy corporation who can afford to pay up. If there were no street signs after the tornado, I agree that the city should share blame, but in a limited capacity because as I stated previously, I’m sure there were more official documents available through the local city or county government. As you also point out, it is a safe assumption that this company would have conducted a site visit in order to estimate their costs. Although I suppose they could have estimated the wrong site initially and this is why the crew never verified the actual street. Enough with the speculation on my part. As unpopular as it is on this site, this is not googles fault.

  7. This has a professional negligence lawsuit written all over it.

    I presume that they still have street signs in Texas: of course, they do – I’m looking at the street signs at both ends of the street using…err…Google Maps Streetview.

    Oh and here is the bit to which the contractor didn’t pay attention:-

    Actual Conditions; Assumption of Risk. When you use Google Maps/Google Earth’s map data, traffic, directions, and other Content, you may find that actual conditions differ from the map results and Content, so exercise your independent judgment and use Google Maps/Google Earth at your own risk. You’re responsible at all times for your conduct and its consequences.

    The problem with the term ‘common sense’ is that it is by no means common enough.

    Tough luck guys. Start talking to your insurers.

  8. It reminds me of a discussion I had a while back about the map not being the territory and challenged the group with the dilemma of finding not finding a river where the map said that there should be one.

    To my surprise, everyone of the group thought that building a river to fit the map would be the only rational approach to take.

    I think this woman will end up having new home, at least I hope.

    1. No one thought that correcting the map would be far simpler, easier, and far less costly than creating a river?

      Just when I think groups of people can’t get any dumber. And people who know me don’t understand why I don’t vote.

  9. In the libertarian paradise of Tejas she just needs to go to court and sue Google according to their flawed and unrealistic world view.

    Oh that’s right, the EULA washes Google’s sins away- and any liability.

  10. Google maps once told me my doctor’s office was in the middle of a river, but I did not drive my car off the bridge.

    Why is it always someone else’s fault?

  11. Apple Maps has a road where my driveway is that hasn’t existed for probably many decades. In spite of repeatedly reporting it to Apple since Apple Maps began, that old road is still there and people continue to turn onto it before finding out…it’s just a driveway.

    Google has that right, but is in no position to gloat. Not long ago, Google had us the other side of a large body of water inaccessible by road. People complained AT US because they assumed we lied to them because we weren’t where Google said we were.

    That’s fixed.

    But Apple has not fixed us on Maps.

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