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Italian town warns tourists not to use Google Maps after 144 emergency calls

By
Ben Hooper
Baunei, a town in the Ogliastra area on the Italian island of Sardinia, is urging tourists not to use Google Maps after bad directions from the app led to 144 emergency calls from stranded hikers and drivers in the last two years. Photo courtesy of the Comune di Baunei
Baunei, a town in the Ogliastra area on the Italian island of Sardinia, is urging tourists not to use Google Maps after bad directions from the app led to 144 emergency calls from stranded hikers and drivers in the last two years. Photo courtesy of the Comune di Baunei

Oct. 15 (UPI) -- A town on an Italian island is pleading with tourists not to use Google Maps after 144 emergency calls came in during the past two years from drivers and hikers who found themselves stranded.

Mayor Salvatore Corrias of Baunei, in the Ogliastra area on the island of Sardinia, said signs are being erected on area roads in Italian and English warning tourists: "Don't follow the directions on Google Maps."

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Corrias said the local fire brigade has received 144 emergency calls during the past two years from drivers and hikers who found themselves stranded or lost by bad directions while trying to find scenic "hidden" beaches.

"Too many sedans and hatchbacks are getting stuck on unpassable tracks -- sometimes offroad vehicles too. All because they follow Google Maps, whose instructions are often misleading on our roads," Corrias told CNN.

He said the most recent incident involved two tourists whose Porsche became stuck on a rough road in the Supramonte mountain range. The tourists were trying to find some of the region's famous white sand coves when their GPS took them off track.

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The mayor said officials have been in contact with Google Maps about correcting the errors, but in the meantime he recommends using paper maps in place of GPS.

A Google Maps representative said the company is investigating the situation.

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