Print is dead

Can’t anybody give the producers of Crisis some tips on how to properly use GPS coordinates on their show? Because they clearly don’t seem to even understand the most basic things about them, as becomes obvious from watching episode 2.

But before we come to that kind of rocket science, lets start with something old-school: a simple newspaper. The hostages get their hands on a copy of the paper with Amber’s face on the cover, and it seems like everything is in order – until Amber reads the front page and, likely by accident, the back sheets peel back …

Picture (c) NBC

Picture (c) NBC

… to reveal the entire paper is a prop with empty pages to pad out the few ones they actually printed. They didn’t even last until after the credits this time!

That was pretty funny already, wasn’t it? However, the number of GPS coordinate problems this episode has is absolutely mind-boggling. Either the production crew didn’t care at all, or they just didn’t know it better, but in any case, the outcome is pretty damn poor.

The FBI figures out where Hurst, the Secret Service guy who shot his partner, was hanging out during his hour of “personal time”: the Pakistani embassy. They have marked his whereabouts on a handy map …

Picture (c) NBC

Picture (c) NBC

… which is absolutely useless since all five spots are marked with the exact same coordinates (15.94749 -140.28631), and even the “area designation” is identical. Where these coordinates lead to, you ask?

Picture (c) Google

Picture (c) Google

Why, the open sea hundreds of miles east of Hawaii of course! Where else would you expect the Pakistani embassy?

But it gets worse. After some back and forth, we get a more detailed description of the location:

Picture (c) NBC

Picture (c) NBC

Here, we are introduced to a completely new concept: two coordinates for the same spot, and both lead to the middle of nowhere. The top one to somewhere south of the southernmost tip of the African continent …

Picture (c) Google

Picture (c) Google

… and the other is really hard to read, but the part I can make out is -6 -147 which leads to somewhere “near” (read: several hundred miles southeast) Kiribati. So no matter which coordinate you take, you’d end up anywhere but the Pakistan embassy in Washington D.C.

This idiocy continues in a later scene when the formerly disabled GPS tracker of one of the kids suddenly activates inside the embassy:

Picture (c) NBC

Picture (c) NBC

The coordinates listed for the embassy look like they are the hard to read coordinates seen in the last picture and put them at -6.02052 -147.39134, although that doesn’t make them any less wrong. The coordinates for Kyle Devore are listed as 77.47995000 39.97963125, a location somewhere in the Barents Sea “near” the island of Svalbard. Even from just looking at the coordinates in relation to the ones listed for the embassy should make it obvious that something can’t be right, which gives me the impression the production crew just couldn’t be bothered.

Later, another GPS tracker comes online, and “this can’t be right: it’s tracking to this building” – right to the FBI headquarters.

Picture (c) NBC

Picture (c) NBC

This can’t be right indeed: 77.44957500 39.87720937 is pretty close to the coordinates shown for Kyle Devore in the previous screenshot, which, as we already established, point to somewhere to the far northern coast of Sweden. As you can imagine, these also do, although their location is a bit more to the east.

Whoever developed the tracking software for the FBI has some explaining to do.

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3 thoughts on “Print is dead

  1. Pingback: Two are better than one, right? Right?! | TV Fails

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