How Google Maps Typos Grow Into Real Neighborhood Names

iStock
iStock

The borders and names of city neighborhoods have long been a source of contention. But for most of history, the bickering has been limited to the residents, real estate agents, and shop owners working and living in the actual areas in question. Now, there's a much less personal—and more powerful—force that's revising urban landscapes around the world: Google Maps.

If you've recently come across a neighborhood you've never heard of in the city you've lived in for years, Google may be to blame. According to The New York Times, the digital navigation service is responsible for popularizing names like the East Cut, the now-default title of the San Francisco neighborhood previously known as Rincon Hill, South Beach, or South of Market.

The app is also responsible for the neighborhoods Midtown South Central, Vinegar Hill Heights, and Rambo—names which would likely get you stares if you said them to a life-long New Yorker. Los Angeles is now home to Silver Lake Heights, a name that first appeared on real estate listings as a joke, and in Detroit there's Fishkorn, Google's misspelled version of the neighborhood once known as Fiskhorn.

The engineers at Google Maps don't make up new neighborhood names on a whim. According to the company, the maps are based on third-party data, public sources, satellites, and user submissions. But sometimes these sources contain typos or are just plain wrong. And the information is usually reviewed by someone with no connection to the cities whose maps they're programming, making it easy for glaring errors to slip into the code.

Even the most seasoned cartographers make mistakes, but when Google messes up, the impact reaches far. More than 63 percent of people who opened a navigation app on their phone or tablet in May 2018 used Google Maps. And even if people don't use Google Maps directly, they've likely seen information from the app secondhand on real-estate listings, food-delivery websites, and elsewhere.

If you spot a neighborhood in Google's app that you feel is totally made up, you can tell them about it. Just head over to Google Support to report the error.

[h/t The New York Times]

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Tiny Ghost Town of Cleator, Arizona (Pop. 8) Can Be Yours for $1.25 Million

It's not Schitt's Creek, but it could be.
It's not Schitt's Creek, but it could be.

You could spend $1.25 million on a relatively normal-sized house in a really expensive area—or you could use the money to buy a whole ghost town in Arizona.

Located almost 70 miles north of Phoenix, the 40-acre town of Cleator, Arizona, comprises 20 buildings and eight full-time residents, all of whom rent their property from the current town owners. There’s a general store, a bar, and even a yacht club (though without a nearby body of water, the complimentary yacht club T-shirts and membership cards are mostly a joke).

“You’ve heard the term ‘where everybody knows your name?’ That’s Cleator,” bar owner Mike Brown told 12NEWS. In addition to local customers, Brown’s watering hole is frequented by bikers, travelers, and day-trippers. There’s even a second bar built into an old pontoon boat in its backyard, complete with non-operational jet skis and tables made from surfboards—a cheeky nod to that aforementioned “yacht club.” And if a piece of scrap metal nailed to the establishment’s exterior is to be believed, Cleator isn’t only home to humans: There are also five dogs and two “grumpy cats.”

As realtor Justin Godsey explains in the video above, Cleator was originally established as a gold mining town in 1864. James Cleator named the town after himself when he bought it in 1925, and it's been in the family ever since. But Cleator’s descendants are ready to hand over the keys to the kingdom—and with those keys comes the opportunity to rename the town whatever you want.

If you’re interested in learning more (or buying Cleator for yourself), you can reach out to Godsey through the North&Co. real estate website here.

[h/t 12NEWS]