Google gaffe leads to Beach Road confusion

After a request to rename a tiny Oak Bluffs street, a top map service has mislabeled a major Island road.

Google Street View, a feature of Maps, still mislabels Beach Road

Google Maps users seeking popular Vineyard Haven spots such as ArtCliff Diner, the Net Result, or (hopefully) The Martha’s Vineyard Times will now see those Island businesses supposedly located on Anchor Way, instead of their real-life Beach Road addresses.

The confusion follows Google’s incorrectly labeling all of Beach Road, running between Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs, as Anchor Way. And Beach Road itself — the road, not the restaurant with the same name — is no longer mentioned in Maps searches.

Though Google Maps shows all the buildings on Beach Road in the same geographic locations as before, using the Google Search web browser also now returns dubious results. 

The browser places ArtCliff, really on 38 Beach Road, at the nonexistent 39 Anchor Way. The Martha’s Vineyard Times, actually on 30 Beach Road, is at the even-less-existent “30 Anchor Wy A” according to Google Search.

Other major online map and ridesharing services, such as Apple Maps and Uber, correctly identify addresses on Beach Road.

These errors follow an Oak Bluffs planning board decision in March regarding the actual Anchor Way, a small street near the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Diane Carr, one of the two homeowners on that small street, had requested the new name instead of the street’s former title, Beach Road Extension. 

This is not to be confused with the adjoining Beach Road, or Vineyard Haven’s Beach Street Extension — and that was the homeowners’ problem. Board minutes state that ambulances and others looking for the similarly named, more popular roads had gotten confused, and ended up at the small street instead.

After renaming Beach Road Extension as Anchor Way in March, planning board member Sean DeBettencourt suggested contacting Google Maps to get ahead of any future navigational issues. Although the actual Anchor Way and its addresses are correctly labeled now on Maps, Beach Road, leading to it, is not.

As the busy summer season approaches, businesses in Vineyard Haven say that the mislabeling of Beach Road on Google Maps poses problems.

Annabelle Hunton, who owns Nobnocket Boutique Inn in Vineyard Haven, said that the Maps error was discussed at a Vineyard Haven Business Association meeting yesterday.

Hunton is not worried about people finding her inn, which is on Mount Aldworth Road, and thus unaffected by the screwup. But she is concerned that tourists might have trouble looking for other spots in town.

“We kind of do a concierge service for people,” Hunton said, “so we’re telling them, ‘Oh, and then turn right on Beach Road and walk down, and you’ll find Beach Road restaurant,’ or ‘You can get to Rocco’s from over there,’ and suddenly they’re looking on Google Maps, going, ‘Where’s Beach Road? She said to turn right.’ And suddenly a whole road, and it’s a very long road, just doesn’t exist anymore.”

Hunton said she has been telling people to report the issue to Google. The company has not responded to a request for comment from The Times. 


This is a developing story. Stay tuned for updates on this situation.


  1. Google “How to correct google maps”. it takes you to
    The interface kind of assumes you’re fixing a location on a street rather than an entire street, if the correction comes from the town and from several businesses there that should do it.

    That Help page points to a resource for organizations and governments to clean up more than one thing at once.

  2. Using “send product feedback” in Google maps does get their attention eventually. Everyone who reads story should comment.

  3. If you’re driving an ambulance and confuse “Beach rd extension”, (with 2 houses on it) with “Beach rd”, a major artery connecting 2 towns, you MAY need to learn your service area better…

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