Slight Problem with Mapping Software

I love technology. I love learning new things. I love being frustrated with something only to conquer it after hours and hours of cursing it. I have a slight pet peeve of technology though. In this current technology boom, with as much as computers can do, they’re still slightly behind on one important fact. Sometimes “as the crow flies” isn’t exactly a great way to gage something that is “close” or “nearby”.

We start off innocently enough in the new iPhone app 1BGraves. However, I quickly realize that this app has the same problem for me that Find a Grave Volunteer Service does. Halfway down that list, you can see it gives a nearby cemetery of ‘Potomac Cemetery’ in Hague, Virginia. Oh. It says the cemetery is 17 and a half miles away.

As you can see, it’s not exactly “nearby”. If there was someway to go straight across the river, then sure! However there isn’t. I’m located at the blue dot, and in order for me to get to the green pin, I’d have to drive all the way up to the Route 301 Bridge and cross into Virginia and drive back down the coast again. To be honest with you, this is the reason I don’t get many Find-a-Grave requests filled. 70% of the requests come from that area of Virginia and the other 30% are from Point Lookout Confederate Cemetery. However, Point Lookout doesn’t exactly have tombstones, just plaques with names listed and a book with the names that don’t fit. So usually those requests are snatched up within a few minutes of being sent out.

It’s easy enough to just ignore the Virginia cemeteries and requests if I’m not in the mood to drive about 3 hours each way on the weekend, but I wonder why these software folks don’t use actually driving times from the home zip code instead of “as the crow flies” distance.

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