Trying To Leave Haugesund

image A curious bug in Microsoft's MapPoint site has been getting a lot of attention. If you ask for driving directions from Haugesund, Norway to Trondheim, Norway it will send you on a very strange route. Instead of going the direct route between the two cities, it will tell you to first cross the North Sea, drive down through England, cross the Channel, go east across Europe, and up through Sweden and Norway, until you finally arrive at your destination. Playing around with this a bit, I discovered that this weirdness doesn't apply only for directions from Haugesund to Trondheim. If you want to go almost anywhere from Haugesund (such as to Oslo or Copenhagen), MapPoint will send you via the North Sea route. However, it has no similar difficulty getting you TO Haugesund. Ask for directions from Trondheim to Haugesund and it'll send you right there. Also, if you ask for directions from Kopervik (which is right down the road from Haugesund) to Trondheim, it will send you on the correct (non-North Sea) route. Try this all out for yourself. Maybe there's some secret meaning here. Maybe Haugesund is one of those places that you can get to, but you're never supposed to leave (only by sea, and once you're there you'll discover that no ships are ever scheduled for departure). I mean, has anyone actually been to Haugesund and returned to tell about it? No one that I know of.

Exploration/Travel Places

Posted on Thu Jan 27, 2005


Is this how you ended up in Holland, Paul?
Posted by Nick  on  Thu Jan 27, 2005  at  02:40 PM
Yahoo Maps does the same thing (but on a smaller scale) if you ask for directions to my house. It takes you to a place a few blocks from mine, and then it sends you in an endless loop where you never get any closer to home.
Posted by Big Gary C  on  Thu Jan 27, 2005  at  05:06 PM
Wasn't it in the Museum a few months ago, or did I see it somewhere else - about a guy in Europe who was following the driving directions on his on-board navigator, and drove off a pier into a river because it didn't warn him to wait for the ferry?
Posted by stork  on  Thu Jan 27, 2005  at  06:58 PM
Could it be a copyright trap?

The route makes too little sense. The software shouldn't allow this, period.

Aside from a 9th C. Viking, who would even think of this route?
Posted by JC  on  Thu Jan 27, 2005  at  09:48 PM
Well, knowing a little about how such programs work I would guess it was a simple data error. These things work by traversing a graph and often have no real concept of what the data actually means. Hence, there is no way for the program to realize that something doesn't make sense. It most likely only requires on data point to be wrong to cause an odd path to be computed. Still funny though!
Posted by KISS  on  Fri Jan 28, 2005  at  01:06 AM
At Mapquest, if you know a faster way to get somewhere, you can tell them. Maybe someone was messing around with the people there and they just didn't catch it?
Posted by thephrog  on  Fri Jan 28, 2005  at  01:26 AM
When this appeared on snopes I did some experiments.. there seems to be a point near the ferry docks in the UK where you apparently have to go, in order to get out of Haugesund, to quite a few other places:

Mo, Skien, Skjold, Veum, Bakke, Naustbukta, Kristiansand, Rykene, Mandal, Lyngdal.
Posted by Splarka  on  Fri Jan 28, 2005  at  04:00 AM
As of today (1/29), MapPoint has fixed this, but it still "works" on Expedia..
Posted by snooks  on  Sat Jan 29, 2005  at  11:37 AM
Try to go from Turku to Maarianhamina in Finland. You have to take the ferry to Stockholm, Sweden, via Maarianhamina and then the ferry back from Stockholm to Maarianhamina, according to MapPoint. Makes even less sense than the norwegian case.
Posted by Pluto  on  Sat Jan 29, 2005  at  12:39 PM
Paul, you have just proven yourself capable of thinking like a Finnish person.
Posted by Big Gary C  on  Sat Jan 29, 2005  at  03:57 PM
Didn't think of that, the cheap booze that is. You can't get it if you only go directly from Turku to Maarianhamina, you have to visit Sweden in between. That would explain the route.
Posted by Pluto  on  Sun Jan 30, 2005  at  06:09 AM
Actually, have been to Haugesund - and returned! But went by 'plane, so I cheated...
Posted by Mossy  on  Thu Aug 09, 2007  at  10:10 AM
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.