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Google Terrain mountain names?

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Google Terrain mountain names?

Postby ericwillhite » Wed Sep 08, 2010 10:00 am

Does anyone know how un-official names used in the climbing community are being placed on peaks in the Google terrain layer? Who is helping with this and how is it done?
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Postby Matt Worster » Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:56 pm

Just started noticing the same thing on the terrain layer in California. An unnamed point that county highpointers started calling Sugar Pine Peak is now named so on the terrain layer. I found a few other examples, too.

(Now, just because I wrote this someone will point out that Sugar Pine Peak has carried that named for 73 years, long history, etc.)
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Postby dsunwall » Wed Sep 08, 2010 4:24 pm

rumor mill says they are taken from listsofjohn.com or similar sites. Colorado has quite a few unofficial names on Google maps as well.

http://listsofjohn.com/PeakStats/Climbers.php?Id=17809

e: LoJ names on Google Terrain maps
by John Kirk » Wed Apr 28, 2010 6:49 pm

The data set is about a year old. I think I know where it came from as Aaron M. of peaklist.org asked to use the lists for a Google earth project around that long ago - I didn't expect to see it used on any live Google maps. I've sent a request to have the unofficial names removed.
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Postby Klenke » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:13 pm

Yes, dsunwall has it correct. It was as John Kirk suggests.

My opinion is that unofficial names should not be appearing on Google maps. These are unofficial names for a reason. John Kirk knows this too and agrees with me.
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Postby peladoboton » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:29 pm

i do know that someone with an agenda is likely involved. in the early 20th centure the mountain everyone who has ever climbed in Denali NP has known as peak 11,300 was briefly referred to as Mount Kudlich. out of the blue the Google Terrain Map had that peak labled as "Mount Kudlich", something i consider entirely inacurate and even dangerous if a person were to be in the area and (not that i would recommend this approach) using the Google Maps name for peaks as opposed to those names used by the S&R folks who may be trying to find them.
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Postby Matt Worster » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:32 pm

Klenke wrote:My opinion is that unofficial names should not be appearing on Google maps. These are unofficial names for a reason.


I do not disagree with you, but could you elaborate? Official in this case only means registered with the USGS, or recognized by the government. Google is not the government (no tangents allowed!), so why not provide names that people are familiar with? Is the concern confusion? Due process to prevent something like California's North Pallisade from being renamed?
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Postby Klenke » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:15 pm

Well, one good reason was provided by peladoboton so he saved me the trouble there.

If Google Maps is/was trying to be representative of official names of things (government names, names of businesses, etc.), then why would it want to put in unofficial names on its maps? At the very least these names should be shown with quotes around them to indicate that they are indeed unofficial and therefore subject to change.* Also, by not having quotes around them, people reading these maps may think there actually is a feature called "such'n such peak" at that location when there really is not.

Then of course there is the romantic notion that gets lost when these names start appearing on nationalized maps. Gone would be the sense of wondering where something is located and having to do some research to find out...instead of just looking at Google Maps. It would be like the idea of using a calculator to solve a math problem instead of working the math by hand. Or something like that.

* Where is the configuration control here, anyway? Once Google Maps places such a name its map, is it now so static that it would require an "act of Congress" to get it renamed or removed? And if so since does then Google think it "owns the rights" for these unofficial names--maybe in a way making these unofficial things official in their eyes?
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Postby Klenke » Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:28 pm

Many of the names of these unofficially named peaks in the world were coined by someone or a small group of people. If this person or persons chooses later to change the name, does he or she not have the right to do so since it was their name to begin with? Or is it already too late for this person once the general public sufficiently latches onto the first name?

For instance, there are a number of unnamed peaks in the Washington Cascades that I named (just as others named other unnamed peaks) and I see these names are now on Google Maps. They are in Lists of John because I gave these names to him (or sometimes others did that for me). So what if I want to change the name of 'Mineraloid Mountain' or 'Engadi Peak' or 'Big Kid' or 'Lahul' or 'Wo-Mann Butte' or 'Scalped Hill' or 'Skid Mark' or 'Lordodendron Hill' or 'Powerline Peak' or 'Pointless Peak' or ...?
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Postby Matt Worster » Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:14 pm

Perhaps the quotes solution would do it for me, which seems to be a somewhat standardized usage. Knowing the source would be interesting, but cumbersome to implement. The quotes would imply some sort of *user beware* message I suppose.

Of course, the reverse happens, too. There are tons of names on USGS maps where I grew up in NH that no one uses and few are even aware of, the most likely culprit being neighborhoods within organized towns.

The local names are interesting, so I like having them there. I understand the hidden power of mapmakers and their decisions (hey look, the northern hemisphere is on the top!) on which name-claim rules, but the subtlety is likely lost on others.

I fail to see evidence of someone having an agenda here, besides trying to put more information out there. Sounds like an implication of the SC MLC, to me (not-so-inside CA joke).
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Postby Cascade Scrambler » Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:27 am

Or, in the case of at least Fernow, you get two distinct peaks separated by >50 miles. Good times there.
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Postby Klenke » Thu Sep 09, 2010 7:02 am

But both of those Fernows are officially named.
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Postby Matt Worster » Thu Sep 09, 2010 3:49 pm

Similarly, there are two prominent Mt. Morgan's in the Sierra Nevada less than 8 miles from each other and likely to be confused. So, potential for confusion already exists, what's wrong with a little more, eh?

I guess I don't understand the underlying evil. There is some weirdness, I agree, with Google being able to decide which unofficial placenames are the most popular place names. But how is that any different from you (or in CA for example, Secor) making up your own names and putting them on Lists of John or whatever? Google has a bigger audience, but otherwise . . . ? (recognizing that unofficial names should probably be in quotes, of course)

The USGS process is fairly long and drawn out with written requirements . . . which makes me wonder about the USGS mapping cycle. I mean, Google can update instantly and often, so I wonder what their criteria is, or if it varies by region. I had not thought of that angle.
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Postby Cascade Scrambler » Fri Sep 10, 2010 7:42 pm

Klenke wrote:But both of those Fernows are officially named.


Well, that shows that I know about as much as Google Maps, as I had no idea they were both official. Thanks for the clarification!
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Google mapping mistakes

Postby relic » Sun Sep 12, 2010 4:36 pm

This might be a little off-topic, but still related, and I think sometimes hilarious. Have any other climbers with special interest in the North Cascades noticed that the satellite view of Luna cirque has shown for months a medical clinic right down in the basin below Mount Challenger? I just checked again before sending this, and it has been changed to a marriage couseling clinic! Hah!, I guess if any couples have tried to come up Luna creek, they would need counseling by the time they get there.
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Postby Klenke » Mon Sep 13, 2010 3:59 pm

Oh, that place. Yeah, it's pretty exclusive. You probably can't afford the bill there just for their special medicinary brownies.
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