When Google maps go bad

By Amelia Wade

Internet giant's map showed Kiwi boy lying on road, car advancing during school drill.

A Google Streetview image of Westgate Drive Auckland showing a child lying in the road during a what is described as a road safety drill. Photo / Supplied
A Google Streetview image of Westgate Drive Auckland showing a child lying in the road during a what is described as a road safety drill. Photo / Supplied

At first glance, it appears Google has snapped the moment before a horrific accident - a boy lying face-down on the road, a car about to run him over.

Among the onlookers, three children seem to stand paralysed with fear, hands out to try to stop the car.

But the image is just a West Auckland primary school running through a standard road safety tutorial with the local police constable.

Royal Road Primary School said the Google vehicle that took the images for the site's street view function in 2009 happened to go past in the middle of their training.

The school said it was a "set-up" photo to be used in a road safety presentation. "During the presentation, this photo would show the children what could happen if they were to dash out in front of a car on the road."

The scene was controlled by a police officer and several adult helpers to ensure the safety of the children, the school told the Herald.

The image was plain to see on Wednesday but the child lying in the middle of the road has now been blurred out after Google was alerted.

A Google spokesman in Sydney said the company automatically blurred faces and registration plates that appeared in street view.

When a user comes across an image they believe is sensitive or objectionable, they can to report it to Google by clicking "report a problem" on the offending page, the spokesman said.

"If you find faces that you believe are not blurred sufficiently, you can report it to us, which will help us further refine our face blurring technology," he said.

Click below the see the scene in Google Street View

Other quirky views
Rue Polonceau, Paris - a man sits dressed head-to-toe in white cloth with a dark pair of sunglasses.

Rugdeveien, Norway - two men in full scuba suits with tridents walk down the middle of the road.

- NZ Herald

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