Issues with island locations

Google maps seems to have some locations on islands. Like for all the Gotland entries very strange things are happening, some entried have just Sweden, others have Visby (the town) and none of them have Gotland. Which makes it hard to find things when visiting the island.

The same problem is going on with La Palma. It puts some addresses on Tenerife, the neighboring island and others to nearby towns. There is no clear ‘things to do on La Palma’ page.
I think that there should be some way to add ‘, La Palma, Spain’ or ‘Gotland, Sweden’ to the adres and get them together that way.
There is also a lighthouse on an island called Märket which is aimpossible to autocorrect.

This is clearly an issue for islands, as google doesn’t add an adres level to denote the island and instead says ‘city, country’ instead of ‘city, island, country’. However when people visit islands they rarely stay in one city and it would help a lot to let them see all things on it.

I tried to add some better addresses to these places but it seems to be impossible. I would urge you to maybe hardcode in some locations that can manually be populated by places. A ‘Gotland, Sweden’ location and a ‘La Palma, Spain’ that holds all the places of the island.

P.S. It still works on the map if you look whats close to a place you found on an island. But if you use the search function you won’t find these misplaced places.


Hmmmm… Alright, we’re going to to take a look at this. This may be a mix of issues between Google and our address system, but thanks for flagging, CoolCrab!

Hey @CoolCrab. Thanks for bringing this up! At the moment, we intentionally don’t create state/province/island level destinations pages. Though we do have the ability to make exceptions (like we’ve done with the states in the US and the provinces in Canada). The main reason we don’t have them globally (among other reasons) is that the naming conventions of states/provinces/islands varies widely. Also, when initially building our site, this extra level of hierarchy made our destination logic more complex than we felt necessary.

However, we will look into how we might allow us to more freely manually create destination pages for places like La Palma and Gotland; because, as you mentioned, they would certainly be valuable to people traveling there.

In the meantime, I think the best approach for finding things to do on those islands would be browsing the map on the destination pages for their respective countries. We’ll let you know when we roll out the feature to allow destination pages to be created on the fly!


That sounds great thanks!

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This is still a problem I noticed during my last la palma visit.

Noticing the following destination guide, I wonder if this is still the case:

The destination guide is unclear on whether it focuses on Oaxaca City (Oaxaca de Juárez) or Oaxaca State. Some of the entries featured there are a couple hours’ drive away from the city.

Two are labeled as being in Mitla, which itself has a destination guide. If the Oaxaca destination guide is intended for the state, it is missing several other entries. If it is for the city, I would say it is overreaching given the location of the entries outside of it.

This would help a lot I think. I have been populating the Island of La Palma and Gotland, and both islands just place stuff under [local city, country] So for anyone visiting the island, it is impossible to see all the AO spots at this moment. Especially the out of the way ones with no city that just get categorized under [country] e.g.

All of these are even filed under the wrong island:
Santa Cruz de Tenerife is a city on Tenerife, not La Palma.

Its a mess sadly. I’ll just tag @tyler and @jonathancarey to see what they think.

Edit: So I managed to get the map to work for the entries shown above, just to show the problem they only show the places that are miscategorized on the map. The ones that are correct are not shown.

All of these ones are just not on the map:

I can;'t launch the map for the above link, but I can only guess that the santa cruz de tenerife ones won’t show up.

Ah, yes—this is multi-layered problem! To start, I want to share a temporary workaround through our map search.

If our site search recognizes the destination you enter, it tries to take you directly to our “destination” page. For example, a search of “Berlin” goes directly to: 90 Cool and Unusual Things to Do in Berlin - Atlas Obscura.

If, however, you enter something that’s not an exact keyword match, say “Berlin, Germany” you get our map view:✓&q=berlin%2C+germany&lat=52.52000659999999&lng=13.404953999999975

I would suggest temporarily using that behavior to your advantage. The following searches, for example, give better results for islands:✓&q=la+palma%2C+spain&lat=28.68245046383122&lng=-17.833628999999974&✓&q=Gotland&lat=57.46841209999999&lng=18.48674470000003

(And BTW, here’s another good search for the same region.)✓&q=canary+islands&lat=28.39969289987527&lng=-16.724190500000077&page=2

Okay, now taking a step back, the above solution is too convoluted to be useful to most of our readers. So I agree we need to solve this problem by extending our ability to populate subregions beyond just states and provinces in the United States and Canada. (I think both the site and our users are missing out by not being able to provide an answer to the question of “What are things to do in Gotland?”)

It might also help to understand our general approach to geotagging places. If a place can be assigned to a city, we do that, and if we can’t, we assign one level up, to the country. That’s how you we get something like this, assigned to just Sweden, which agreed, makes it very hard to find:

Again, I think the answer is subregions, so I’ll talk to our Product Team about that.

Separately, the Santa Cruz de Tenerife page is indeed a mess. It sounds like all the pins on the map are correctly located in La Palma—let me know if that’s not the case—so what I think is happening is that despite what I just explained above, those places have been inadvertently assigned to a region. (Or more precisely, to a region masquerading as a city.) It looks like the island of La Palma is actually in the Province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which confusingly, shares the name of the city Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which is not located on La Palma. :slight_smile:

If I haven’t lost you with that, I’d propose we fix this by treating La Palma as a city for the time being. That means all the places would be assigned to La Palma, Spain. (Which I think gets us about 95% of the way to a solution. It’s just doesn’t address the use case of someone searching for a city within La Plama, but my hunch is that’s rare.)

Again, I know the above is likely confusing, and it took me a bit to sort through it myself, but I appreciate you flagging it as I think it’s raised an important issue. And as always, we appreciate your commitment to exploring the world and sharing your amazing discoveries with us!


Hey Tyler,

Thank’s for the in depth explanation! This is a bit of an eyeopener to the system and I had no idea that La Palma was part of the province of Tenerife. (this makes no sense to me, but when does geography make sense.)

I would agree that making La Palma a city might be for the best. (Maybe also for other islands.) You could also make them their own country perhaps and keep cities inside of them in tact, but that might also be confusing. So if you do this, would searching for santa cruz de la palma come up with nothing or just point you to things in the general vicinity? (Just thinking out loud here)

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Ok, as a bit of a test—and to clean up that bad Santa Cruz de Tenerife page—I treated La Palma as a city, which produced this page, which I think is pretty helpful:

Before we roll out this solution further, just going to talk to our Product Team about whether there’s not a smarter way to do it, so that we can both have an island (or region) name, and maintain the city information when we have it. (I’m eager, though, to fix Gotland as well!)

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Hey Tyler,

This is a lot clearer I think yes! It seems that the Santa Cruz de la Palma and Los Llanos places are not there though.

e.g. (Where santa cruz is gray now)

This has them all though!

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Ack! It’s even worse than I thought. My La Palma page listed 7 places and we actually have 19.

The good news is I think I have this fixed now:

While still preserving this one city page:

Still not perfect, but an improvement. Will continue to work on the perfect solution. :slight_smile:

Oh yes that looks a lot better! So is la palma a region now?

As for cities, the big ones there are Santa Cruz de la Palma and Los Llanos. The rest is negligible I think. (Although I’m probably angering some la palmians now :p)