Welcome to Baunei, a peaceful village located on the Italian island of Sardinia. Baunei has appealed to the visitors wherein it has requested them to stop using Google Maps for obtaining help with direction when driving around the area.
The mayor of Baunei, Salvatore Corrias, has claimed that in the last year alone, the local fire service or mountain rescue team has been called for help for 144 times in order to assist tourists that were relying on Google Maps for directions and ended up stranded. According to reports, people generally make use of Google Maps to locate ‘hidden beaches’ around Baunei but end up in lanes that are not suitable for cars or sometimes end up on off-road tracks. The local police have put signs that state ‘Do not follow the direction suggested by Google Maps’ to prevent this from happening.
Mayor Corrias said, ‘What happens is that people aren’t used to the dirt roads in the area and so rely on Google Maps. But after a while, they realize that they are not on a proper road, and so we have to go and rescue them. We have had so many instances, especially in recent years – unfortunately, Google Maps does not take people to the places they want to go.’
Rescue services in Baunei are funded by the local community so that stranded tourists do not have to pay for getting rescued. However, the sheer number of rescue operations is what is becoming troublesome and is causing a severe strain on the local budget. The problem has actually become so critical that Baunei authorities considered banning the app – however, that turned out to be impossible.
Salvatore Corrias said, ‘It’s not possible for us to ban its use so this is a warning: do not use Google Maps as you’ll end up in an obscure place. It just requires a little common sense.’ Baunei authorities have also reached out to Google about the problem but have not received any reply yet. The mayor has advised tourists, ‘The old paper maps are better, or better still, use an expert local guide from our area.’