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Village wants to digitally disappear

A small English village has asked a provider of GPS data to take it off the map. Villagers said that dangerous truck traffic has rocketed in the tiny town since GPS use became ubiquitous.06 Dec 2007

Barrow Gurney in the south west of England has roads that are too narrow for pavements, yet it sees 15,000 vehicles a day pass through it.

"We’ve said ‘just take us off the map,’ actually,” Geoff Coombs, chairman of the parish council in Barrow Gurney, told The New York Times.

Tele Atlas is the company which supplies digital maps to the makers of GPS systems. It said that it could not just pretend a town was not there, and that it is up to local communities to make it clear what roads are and are not suitable for trucks.

Many small towns have begun to see a spike in heavy goods traffic now that GPS is almost universally used by lorry drivers. The systems take a driver via the shortest route to a destination, and maps do not know what roads are suitable for what vehicles.

Transport planners hope to create map databases with accessibility information contained within them, so that a driver can tell a satellite navigation system the dimensions of a vehicle and only be shown routes appropriate for something of that size.