With the proliferation of smartphones, you'd think that the era of the paper map is over but the mayor of a town in Sardinia is advising tourists to navigate his town the old-fashioned way.
Salvatore Corrias, the mayor of Baunei, a mountain town in Ogliastra that's popular with beach bums and hikers, is requesting that visitors avoid using Google Maps to navigate backroads, for now, because they keep getting lost or stranded after being led astray. His request follows dozens of incidents where motorists in search of popular tourist beaches like Cala Luna and Cala Goloritze were sent down rough, dirt tracks, accessible only by foot or 4x4 vehicles.
Local media reports that a number of motorists have been forced to make dangerous U-turns to get back on the right roads or have needed to be rescued by emergency services. Sometimes they were assisted by the good Samaritan actions of local shepherds. Last year, Il Messaggero reports that 144 people were rescued after getting lost. The most recent rescue involved two tourists in a Porsche who were stranded in the Supramonte mountain range, known for its dangerous roads and rough terrain.
"Too many sedans and small cars get stuck on impassable paths, sometimes even off-road vehicles too," Corrias told the Italian news agency ANSA. "All this because you follow the suggestions of Google Maps which, on our roads, are often misleading," he added. "The old paper maps are better. Or, better still, use an expert local guide from our area."
Local authorities have put up signs warning people not to follow the directions of Google Maps, according to the Guardian. It's also reported that they've informed Google of the situation, who are currently working on ways to improve navigation in the area. For now, Corrias is advising visitors to check directions before setting out for a hike or drive to the beach.