This German Town's Unnamed Streets Continue to Stump Map Apps

YouTube's Tom Scott details why the city of Mannheim uses city blocks for street labels and how that's confusing Google Maps to no end.
Shelby Rogers

"Streets have names, right?"

This is the question which sparks YouTube's Amazing Places host Tom Scott's interest to challenge travelers' expectations. Scott finds himself in Mannheim, Germany -- a place known for its unnamed town square. 

And while most places around the world have street names, plenty others do not. As Scott points out, these roads wind through rural areas or in developing nations with limited documented infrastructure.

However, in a Western European nation as big as Germany where nearly all of their roads are labeled and named, what gives with the Mannheim town square?

Well, rather than adopt the traditional naming method, Mannheim's Quadratestadt (town square) uses blocks for identification in a similar way to Japan's structure. 

It's a simple enough concept for the city's human residents to understand, but what about a lost tourist using Google Maps, Apple Maps or another GPS service? Scott explains:

"None of the modern mapping companies know what to do with this. They’d be fine if the whole country ran on a different system but mixing and matching in the same area in a region that, as far as most people know just doesn’t do this …Google and Microsoft get confused and give each road multiple names. Apple insists that each road has just one name and they’re entirely wrong … OpenStreetMaps which is community-led, recognizes full addresses but not the individual blocks."