An Interesting Feature about Google Maps

If you are reading this blog, you probably know what google is.  It is the search (advertising) company who’s name has become a verb, i.e. “I googled and found the meaning of ‘ergo'”.  Besides providing search services, it also provides the popular gmail, calendar, google docs, and map services etc.

Dynamic Scaling

Recently, I discovered that on google maps, as you tour the globe fairly smoothly without leaving your desk, the little scale legend at the bottom left corner dynamically changes.  The scale tells us how large or small the map actually represents.  So if you are looking at some region, and it displays the scale marker is one inch length and the number reads 500mi, it means that one inch length on the map at that scale represents 500miles in real life.

This means that with a fixed-sized scale, two regions of different sizes would appear to be of different sizes accordingly.  With a dynamic scale, as I mentioned earlier, two regions of different sizes may appear to be of a similar or identical size when in fact they are not.

Why Do That?

Why are they doing this?  I don’t know.  This could be a feature to allow users to remain focus on finding useful information without having to dabble with zooming in and out of a region unnecessarily.  However, this also gives a false impression as far as the actual comparative size between regions are concerned.

Another reason could be technical.  The map data stored in the google servers could be optimized at different scales, and hence the easy way to represent the maps would be to adopt the native scaling stored in the database.  This reason however, does not quite cut it.  Given the engineering strength of Google’s R&D, normalising the scale of the stored map data before representing them visually should not be a problem.

So why are they doing it?  Maybe someone can clue us in.  But you can try it out and see for yourself.

So are they lying?

Technically, google is not lying about anything at all.  Afterall, it dynamically adjusts the scales and displays it rather prominently on screen.  What is perhaps disturbing (for me) is that everything is so seamless, the scaling is virtually undetectable unless you notice the change in the scales.

Lying and Business / Work

A number one reason many people gives when asked why they do not undertake the five precepts is Work.  “I’m in Sales.”, “I’m in Marketing”, “I’m a Buyer”, “I’m in HR”, “I’m …. ”

I like to analyse this using a simple table.

Truthful Lying
Success [ A ] [ B ]
No Success [ C ] [ D ]

In the above table, there are four scenarios, A, B, C, D. “A” represents someone being successful while being truthful, while “D” represents someone who is unsuccessful while lying.

Let’s look at B & D.  Both B & D lies at work.  This is the category we are tempted to follow, believing that it leads to success, or at least success with securing our job.  Is it true that there are people who find success at work while lying?  Yes, it seem to be the case.  We always hear of anecdoctal stories of some back-stabbing co-worker who lied his or her way around deals and up the corporate ladder.  But is it true that everyone who lies will succeed?  If we really think about it, we know that it is not true as well.  While some succeed (B), some will fail (D).  So it is not true that lying guarantees success.

Next, let’s look at A & B.  These are the ones who succeed.  This is the category most are trying to be in.  Is it true that all those who succeed lied their way through?  I doubt so.  I believe there are those who used their skills, intelligence and competence to succeed without having to resort to lying.  From my experience, it takes some courage to be honest at work.  But it pays off.  You earn your superior’s trust and your peer’s respect.  Your customer knows that they can … well, trust you when they engage your services or buy your product.  Looking at A & B, if you can succeed without lying, why should you lie at all?

Now, one might ask.  What about case C?  What if your honesty does not pay off and you do not succeed.  Well, between you and me, I would rather go away without success, knowing that I can sleep at night, with my conscience clear than failing *and* worrying about integrity (case D).

So my friend, will you dish out the Truth at work?

4 thoughts on “An Interesting Feature about Google Maps”

  1. “I’m in HR”… Haha Shifu, sorry I can’t help but broke out in laughter. 😛

    Thanks Shifu for the timely reminder. This will come in handy for my new job. 🙂

  2. Shifu, I totally agree with your article. It is indeed very true esp in my current workplace.

    People who are untruthful and lying will never dare to leave their current workplace coz they are incapable and their reputation is lousy.

    For me and my Buddhist colleagues, we aim to speak the truth even if it hurts the bosses. Like when we are being asked to hide the truth or to amend figures, we told them this “we still want to go to heaven and other gd places instead of hell. What you are telling us to do is against our integrity”.

    I strongly advocate taking 5 precepts especially for whose in sales, marketing and pr. 5 precepts are super helpful in acting as a reminder and sounding the alarm on negative actions.

    haha, i better stop before it becomes an essay!:)

    1. Indeed Sab … on the long term, one’s credibility and reputation would be tarnished.

      … and don’t worry about the “becoming an essay” part. You are most welcome to write! 🙂

  3. Lying at the workplace is very common if not endemic – whether to our customers, suppliers, employees and amongst colleagues (subordinates and bosses) and to other stakeholders.
    Why the need to lie? If the reason is to make a sale or a gain at the expense of another, then it is tantamount to cheating too. If lying was to cover our shortcomings, mistakes, negligence, lack of effort, etc., then it is cowardice. Fears of being fired, demoted or the desire for promotion, rewards are the motivations to lie or are they motivations for success?
    Perhaps, the measures for success at work are wrong. They should include no lying or cheating. Then, it is all about work. Why work? Animals don’t.

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