5 On Your Side

Dentist Office Trying to Get on the Map

Posted May 24, 2007 8:32 p.m. EDT

— Going to the dentist can be stressful enough, but imagine not being able to find the office.

Maps on the Internet, GPS devices in cars and other technology can be helpful, but they’re not perfect as one dentist office found out.

Dr. David Price’s dental practice in Lillington is on a clearly marked street, off a major highway and right across from a major landmark. So why can't new patients find it? Many use the Internet or GPS to map it, and Pine State Street is not on the map.

The road has been around for at least four years. Hospice, a bank, another medical office and other buildings also reside on the same street. But when patients use mapping systems find the closest thing to Pine State Street, they are directed to Pine Street, which is not even close.

Office manager Terri Godwin decided to take matters into her own hands to get the maps updated so patients won’t get lost anymore.

“We've had new patients come in here completely frustrated 45 minutes after their appointment time saying, ‘I've been running around all over,’” Godwin said. “My first thoughts are like, well, somebody's running these satellites. Who do you call? NAVTEQ was the name that I was given that does most of the maps.”

She filled out a request on NAVTEQ’s Web site and even attached a county map as proof. After no response, she called 5 on Your Side.

NAVTEQ spokeswoman Kelly Smith told WRAL that Pine State Street isn't listed in the U.S. Postal Service database. That's where they get the bulk of the information they provide to mapping companies.

Smith said they get about 80,000 requests a day for corrections or additions, so it takes time for new information to get to the public - perhaps a year or more. But she offered to try to “escalate" Godwin's request.

As for how to update your car system, Smith said it varies. Some systems that come with vehicles are updated automatically. For others including portable units, you can buy a DVD update for about $100.

Smith said people should probably update their systems yearly. Portable unit manufacturers also sell DVD updates from their company Web sites.