Why People Keep Trying to Erase the Hollywood Sign From Google Maps
J Thoendell stashed this in Tech
No matter how you try to get directions—Google Maps, Apple Maps, Bing—they all tell you the same thing. Go to Griffith Observatory. Gaze in the direction of the dashed gray line. Do not proceed to the sign.
Don't get me wrong, the view of the sign from Griffith Observatory is quite nice. And that sure does make it easier to explain to tourists. But how could the private interests of a handful of Angelenos have persuaded mapping services to make it the primary route?
To find out how this happened, I had a very nice conversation with Betsy Isroelit from theHollywood Sign Trust, a nonprofit which protects and maintains the sign, and has become in many ways the keeper of the sign's public interests.
She admits that there was once a goal to "hide" the sign online completely, but it was deemed impossible. "At one point we were successful in getting Google to take the address down, but it appears so many other places like the city council offices and the city of LA that they put it back up."
In the end, it was Councilmember LaBonge who found a different solution. Working closely with Google and the GPS company Garmin, he was able to convince them to change thedirections to the sign. Google did not respond to my requests for comment, but Carly Hysell from Garmin confirmed to me that the change was made in their spring 2012 map release.
"The point of interest right at the sign was removed and 'sign view' points of interest on the ground were added, but they aren't at the sign itself." Now there are actually two places that drivers might be directed: Griffith Observatory, and puzzlingly, the viewing platform at the Hollywood & Highland Center, which is about four miles away on busy Hollywood Boulevard.