The British Columbia Search and Rescue Service has advised hikers to use paper maps and a compass instead of electronic maps after rescuing two hikers using a helicopter who were walking on a trail that was shown on Google Maps but did not exist in reality, writes The Sydney Morning Herald.
Rescuers from North Shore Rescue reported that on November 4, 2023, they sent a helicopter and a rescue team with ropes to Mount Frome, which offers a good view of Vancouver, to help tourists who were stuck at an altitude of 1185 meters in the forest. An almost identical incident occurred in September, and two years earlier a hiker fell to his death at the same spot. And all this despite the sign “Wrong direction. Dangerous rocks” sign, which was installed by rescuers after the first incident.
The rescue service said that the hikers who got lost in September and November “may have been trying to follow a trail on Google Maps that does not exist.” The group said it is “simply not advisable” to use programs such as Google Maps for wilderness areas, although special programs designed for similar routes, such as CalTopo and Gaia GPS, are acceptable.
On November 6, 2023, the North Shore Rescue group reported that Google Maps had finally removed the non-existent trail from the map.