VicRoads’s stupid online maps

VicRoads has got some “On-line interactive bicycle maps of Victoria“.

Their web page says:

This mapping system provides up to date information on the location of completed bicycle routes throughout the state. The maps include details of the off-road path network and the on-road lane network in Melbourne and in regional Victoria as well as the Rail Trail network in regional Victoria.

The interactive maps allow you to:

  • find information on all bicycle networks right across the entire state,
  • view the maps at any scale you choose including Melways images in Melbourne,
  • print maps in colour and black and white with a title block and legend,
  • view the map backgrounds in colour and in black and white to accentuate the bicycle routes which are in colour,
  • measure the distance of any trips planned or taken,
  • search the maps using road names, suburbs and/or municipality names.

Yeah but …

Great stuff - if you can get it to work.

Unfortunately I can’t tell you whether the maps work as advertised because they don’t run on my computer. Try to load them in anything other than Internet Explorer for Windows and you’ll more than likely be told, as I was when I tried to load it under Firefox in Max OS X:

This application requires Internet Explorer 5.5 or higher

Just plain stupid

Let’s just look at why this is so wrong:

  1. Firstly, the last available version of Internet Explorer for Mac OS X is 5.2.3 and Microsoft officially ended support for this product just over a week ago, so there won’t be any new versions. By the way, this has been public knowledge for two and a half years now. So even if I wanted to (which I don’t) I couldn’t run the appropriate version of IE to view this resource.

  2. Quite apart from that, various pundits (from Charles Wright to Bruce Schneier) are regularly recommending people stop using Internet Explorer. And right or wrong, people have been saying it for years.

  3. Finally, the days of “this page best viewed with …” are long gone. Frankly it beggars belief that a government organisation can be making something so stunningly inaccessible when there are plenty of cross-platform, browser-independent technologies that could have done this task just as well.

Come on, lift your game VicRoads!

2 Responses to “VicRoads’s stupid online maps”

  1. Euan Says:

    I recieved an email today indicating that the site now works on Firefox and Safari.

    I found your site Googling for the URL of the VicRoads site because I couldn’t remember it!

    I refer to your e-mail of 2 January 2006 concerning the above
    matter. I also refer to my response in which I indicated that VicRoads
    would investigate the matter and that I would advise you of its
    outcome, as soon as it was available.

    The investigation has now been completed and the VicRoads on-line
    interactive bicycle maps application has been modified. The testing
    that we have undertaken with the browser versions that are available
    to us indicates that the application can now be used with Netscape
    (Mozilla/Firefox), Safari (Macs) and Opera browsers.

    If you require further assistance with this matter, please dont
    hesitate to contact me on tel: XXXX XXXX. Thank you for your interest
    in this matter.

  2. tech.thingoid Says:

    I’m embarassed to admit that the above comment sat in the moderation queue for a week because at a quick glance I mistook it for spam! My apologies for Euan and thanks for taking the time and interest to come back with that info.

    Yes indeed, the situation has been rectified. I currently have the online maps open in another tab in Firefox and (although it’s taking me a little while to get used to the idiosyncratic navigation) I think it looks like a useful tool.

    So thumbs up to VicRoads for taking this seriously and getting it fixed (fairly) quickly. Hopefully future developments won’t neglect the “alternative” browsers.