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Google Maps prank renames Tilikum Crossing after Star Trek captain

Posted by on March 7th, 2016 at 3:14 pm

wunder crossing

A local beer entrepreneur’s reach-for-the-stars campaign to name Portland’s newest bridge after Jean-Luc Picard has succeeded, at least for one day.

Google Maps currently lists the walking-biking-transit bridge as the “Jean-Luc Picard Wunder Crossing,” just as Owen Lingley suggested in a pair of billboards he put up at his own expense last year.

The bridge’s official name is “Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People,” a nod to its human-friendly scale and the region’s history. “Tilikum” means “people, tribe, and relatives” in the local Chinook languages. It’s actually the only major bridge in the city whose name comes from neither (a) an English word or (b) the name of a white guy.

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Jean-Luc Picard, meanwhile, was the charismatic diplomat in charge of the fictional U.S.S. Enterprise in the 1987-1994 series Star Trek: The Next Generation, played by Sir Patrick Stewart.

Google Maps includes an option for anyone to “send feedback” about information on a map, including the option to “report a data problem” such as an incorrect placename. Presumably some joking “corrections” have been submitted to the system and approved, and we’re pretty sure more solemn counter-corrections will be on the way shortly.

Even incorrect, Google Maps still has one up on its competitors at Bing Maps. On Microsoft’s map of Portland, the six-month-old bridge doesn’t even exist yet.

Update 3:30 pm: The folks at the local company Ride With GPS have investigated this issue further.

(Hat tip to Reddit user milfloressiempre.)

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

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Rob Chapman
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Rob Chapman

I like it!

Holtz
Subscriber

How delightful.

Meanwhile, Google Maps currently shows the Sellwood Bridge as closed. Perhaps they got the dates mixed up with last week’s big closure. both items show how hard it is, even for the Googliath to keep up with the dynamic transportation system.

Champs
Guest
Champs

I can’t wait until the new bridge is on Street View. Scrolling through the history will be a mindbender.

kittens
Guest
kittens

… or keep up with anything really. Often store hours are inaccurate. Tragedy of the commons.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Can you explain how any of this or what you typed relates to the essay?

Chompsky
Guest
Chompsky

Well you see… The article is about Google Maps and they are talking about the algorithm which generates information on the platform.

K'Tesh
Guest
K'Tesh

Every time I tell someone about that bridge, I tell them about my friend, Kirk Reeves, and how his name was nominated for the name of the bridge. To me, it will always be the Kirk Reeves Memorial Bridge.

Hayden
Guest
Hayden

The Captain Kirk Reeves Bridge would have been more in keeping with community intent.

Adam
Subscriber

Quick, someone rename the new Sellwood bridge to the James T Kirk bridge!

Alan Love
Guest
Alan Love

I second this motion, but would propose the Capt. J. Tiberius Kirk Bridge to Ecstasy.

maccoinnich
Subscriber

And yet my requests to show the new bike lane on Third Avenue have gone unnoticed.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Guess he must be thinking to sort of borrow from what the word ‘wonder’, means, when he uses the lame spelling “…wunder…” in his renaming of the bridge.

Given the bridges rather space age aesthetics…at least compared to the more traditional and industrial architectural design of the city’s other bridges, maybe a name with more of a sci-fi allusion to it, could have made some sense. With its central suspension pylons in the middle of the span, it looks a bit like some kind of docking station for a futuristic spacecraft. ‘Sulu…bring the Enterprise in…slow and easy as she goes…’.

KristenT
Guest
KristenT

Actually, he’s using the German spelling of the word. It’s not “lame” by any stretch of the imagination.

9watts
Guest
9watts

What I’d like to know is how to tweak googlemaps-for-bikes to give me back the major roads. Whenever I try to map a longer route it sends me on a much longer, more cumbersome series of side roads with hundreds of turns I could never memorize (I don’t have a computer in my pocket or on my handlebars).
It used to be you could manually drag the blue line back to McGloughlin or Foster or 99E, sometimes every few hundred feet(!) But now after you do that for a while a message shows up saying that’s it, no more route modifications! What is up with that?
Anyone know a fix for this malady?

Psyfalcon
Guest
Psyfalcon

You only get 10 now. Its also a big problem with road trip directions if you want to follow old county/ state roads instead of the interstate. So it affects lots of people who don’t bike, and there still isn’t any movement on it.

Also, I also want it to follow certain roads. Try mapping a trip down the Blue Ridge Parkway on it…

Justin Carinci
Guest
Justin Carinci

With one more bridge renamed for a white guy, balance returns to the universe.

Adam
Subscriber

How about the Lt. Uhura Bridge?

Lester Burnham
Guest
Lester Burnham

How about we don’t name anything after anybody from now on and keep everyone happy?

Al Dimond
Guest

FYI: It’s very likely that the rename was initiated in Google Map Maker, not by any action from Google as a company. Also, many of the problems mentioned on this thread could probably be fixed using Map Maker, though some level of expertise is required to do so. I’ll take a look and see if I can resolve some of them through Map Maker.

(Disclosure: I work for Google on Maps, but this isn’t specifically my job; I probably won’t use my Google employee status to escalate any of these issues unless I see something particularly urgent or severe.)