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Alberta has a system for rural addresses described here:

Alberta Rural Addressing System

This system allows a location to be calculated from the address and the dominion survey, and the name of a local municipality. E.g. The address

50042 Range Road 31, Warburg, Alberta is 42/80 of a mile north of township road 500, near Warburg. (The addresses are unique only within roughly a 60-mile radius)

If this address corresponds to an address that the mapping service knows about, google maps seems to plot it correctly. However, if you give an address that is unknown to the google, each plots a location in an arbitrary location on a segment of the road near the municipality.

This can be extreme: E.g.

  • 52420 Range Road 12, Stony Plain, Alberta

  • 51020 Range Road 12, Stony Plain, Alberta (10 miles south of the first location)

  • 62420 Range Road 12, Stony Plain, Alberta (60 miles north of the first location)

all plot at the wrong place.

Worst: Google maps does not tell you that the address couldn't be found.

I have sent feedback to Google about this on several occasions.

  • The question is too broad as it is about several web applications. Maybe question like this will be more appropriate for a site like Travel, Geographic Information Systems. If you don't have enough rep to ask on each site meta, consider to ask for a site suggestion on Meta Stack Exchange – Rubén Apr 20 at 21:50
  • Have edited to make it specific to google maps. – Sherwood Botsford Apr 23 at 17:26
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It turns out that the problem is not unique to google, but has been replicated with variations on bing maps, and Waze,

At this point the answer is to be pro-active:

If you are a rural dweller in Alberta

  • Register your place on each mapping service. Search for the address, and reposition the pin to your correct location.

  • If you have a rural business location register the business with the appropriate local business service for each service. This allows users to find you using your business name.

If you are seeking a rural address in Alberta

  • Phone and ask if the destination address plots properly in Google Maps and Bing.

  • Sometimes they won't know. Bring the address up on the phone, and see if it looks reasonable. 51242 Range Road 12 should be half a mile north of township road 512, or 2.5 miles north of township road 500. As another trick, ask them to describe their place relative to some nearby intersection or community.

  • Do this ahead of time. Cell service in rural Alberta can be spotty even on paved highways.

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