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1119257.  Wed Feb 18, 2015 11:17 pm Reply with quote

Where on a Map would you find Trap Street?

Distribution companies of paper maps, road directories have designed all maps to have an individual fingerprint or “Easter egg”.
In order to prevent one map distribution company from copying and reprinting another’s work, the will often include faux elements to the maps.
While some companies will make a straight road appear to have a bend or a wide road slimmer, others will go so far as to add in a road that doesn’t actually exist – also known as Trap Street.

These fingerprints were most famously used in a 20million pounds settlement between Ordnance Survey and Automobile Association in 1999.
OS discovered that AA had been reproducing its maps in over 500 atlases, fold out maps and town planners by their unique fingerprint, which is to stylize roads to appear wider. It is a subtle change which would not be obvious to the user, or, as it happens AA.

This is not the only place where copyright Easter Eggs exist. In 2003, SpyBot Search and Destroy – an anti virus program discovered two competitors using their product. S&D had implanted an Easter Egg in their code.
As a user you can find a more fun Easter Egg which allows you to play a game to reveal a painting by Leonardo da Vinci, while you are waiting for your computer to be rid of viruses.

This is all well and good for paper maps but what about the new age?
Many argue that digital maps, in particular, Apple Maps use Easter Eggs in their maps.
Users of Apple Maps have noticed bridges that don’t match, wiggly roads and highways that stop abruptly. While this may be a tactic to avoid others copying their maps, users think that it’s just the maps are a bit rubbish.

So, next time you are travelling down a windy road or a bridge that doesn’t match up. You could be driving on Trap Street.

1119399.  Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:04 pm Reply with quote

Dictionaries do this sort of thing as well.

For obvious reasons, Messrs Oxford don't normally go around telling people which are the trap words in their dictionaries. They've been rumbled at least once though - the second edition of the New Oxford American Dictionary (2005) contained the made up word esquivalience. Messrs Oxford admitted to this after a journalist at The New Yorker called them on it, and then sent a lawyer's letter to Webster's asking how it had come to pass that esquivalience had appeared in one of Webster's more recent dictionaries.

Other examples undoubtedly exist. I was once told that the Shorter Oxford contained precisely 111 fake words (among around half a million entries), and that they were all changed with each new edition. I cannot comment on the veracity or otherwise of this claim.

1119416.  Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:08 pm Reply with quote

suze wrote:
I was once told that the Shorter Oxford contained precisely 111 fake words (among around half a million entries), and that they were all changed with each new edition.

Skiing was suddenly possible in a street where I used to live in the 80s, but it did look like a honest lost label. Skiing was possible elsewhere. with the same label. Nowadays one of my FAQs is where the City Hall can be found, because my Wall Street isn't what their old satnav map data had in mind.

Regarding dictionaries, I assume that fake descriptions are used too and that adding fake words isn't required. "Cruyff penalty (orig. Cruijff)" or "Q.I. (pref. QI)" may look like a random editorial choice, but it isn't.

1119425.  Thu Feb 19, 2015 4:18 pm Reply with quote

Adding fake places to maps is easy, because you can see in real life that those places don't exist and therefore a map has been copied. Adding fake words to dictionaries is more fuzzy, because people might use their presence in the dictionary as proof that the word is real and start using it.

As if to prove my point wrong, a gas station was built in a location that was marked on a map as a particular fake town, so named itself after the fake town. This then meant that the fake placename became a real place.


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