Australia Police: Don’t Use Apple Maps

| News

Victoria police in Australia are urging iPhone owners to stop using Apple's Maps app in iOS 6 because motorists are being routed and stranded in the wilderness. Drivers using iOS 6's turn-by-turn navigation feature are finding themselves deep in Murray-Sunset National Park instead of Mildura, leaving them without food, water or cell service, and facing high temperatures without shelter.

Apple's Maps routes Australia drivers about 50 miles off course in the wildernessMaps sends Australian drivers heading to Mildura about 50 miles off course

"Tests on the mapping system by police confirm the mapping systems lists Mildura in the middle of the Murray Sunset National Park, approximately 70 kilometers away from the actual location of Mildura," Acting Senior Sergeant Sharon Darcy said in a statement. "Police are extremely concerned as there is no water supply within the Park and temperatures can reach as high as 46 degrees (about 115 Fahrenheit), making this a potentially life threatening issue."

Apple replaced Google's maps for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch with its own system with the launch of iOS 6. The company was quickly criticized for what was seen as an inferior mapping system thanks to location inaccuracies, no mass transit directions, and a lack of a street view option.

CEO Tim Cook eventually released an apology letter that former iOS manager Scott Forstall refused to sign. Mr. Cook sent Mr. Forstall packing and handed over responsibility for the Maps and Siri projects to Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue. Richard Williams, Apple's Maps project supervisor, has also been fired.

The company has been working to improve location accuracy, although there are clearly still some glaring problems as drivers in Australia are finding out. "Some of the motorists located by police have been stranded for up to 24 hours without food or water and have walked long distances through dangerous terrain to get phone reception," Sergeant Darcy said.

Victoria Police have contacted Apple about the mapping issue, and for now are urging drivers to use different mapping options to find their destinations.

Sign Up for the Newsletter

Join the TMO Express Daily Newsletter to get the latest Mac headlines in your e-mail every weekday.

10 Comments Leave Your Own

dhp

Incredible. I guess Google was right: “maps are really hard.” And the consequences of mistakes are not insignificant.

MuppetGate

Actually In the scheme of things, it is pretty insignificant:

http://www.gpsbites.com/top-10-list-of-worst-gps-disasters-and-sat-nav-mistakes

jfbiii

Obviously Apple Maps shouldn’t direct people into a national forest instead of to a city. Obviously.

But maybe…people could just turn the hell around.

geoduck

An iMap ate my baby.
LOL

Lee Dronick

The users need to lock the screen so that it doesn’t autorotate. Everything is upside down down under, it is a wonder that they don’t fall off the Earth.

Scott

I have been using apple maps now that voice navigation is working and find it works really well, except for one trip, it took me down a one way street the wrong way!

furbies

An iMap ate my baby.

Very clever geoduck.

it is a wonder that they don’t fall off the Earth.

Lee, it’s you folks that are upside down you know.

Lee Dronick

“Lee, it’s you folks that are upside down you know.”

We are all right side up. It amazes me how many people can’t grasp the concept that down is towards the center of the Earth and not the bottom edge of a map.

Anyway, not to make light of people who get into trouble lost in a wilderness.

craigf

The first lawsuit will be filed in 10…9…8…7…6…

Melted bridges and cloverleafs in 3D view don’t strike me as anything more than comedic, but when an Apple user dies because of bad turn by turn instructions, the poop’s gonna hit the fan. >$100 billion in the bank makes Apple an attractive target,

As I understand it, Apple has licensed map data from Tomtom, but Tomtom denies responsibility for Map app screwup’s.

http://www.businessinsider.com/tomtom-apple-maps-2012-9

It would be really great if someone tested a few of these infamous turn by turn Maps screwups against Tomtom’s app to attempt to figure out who is at fault. Perhaps it would be worth seeing how Garmin handles them too.

Because of Apple’s high profile, it will be pilloried for every instance, large or small, funny or fatal. But of course this problem is hardly new or unique to Apple, Examples are not hard to find on the net:

http://www.npr.org/2011/07/26/137646147/the-gps-a-fatally-misleading-travel-companion

http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/technolog/death-gps-could-it-happen-you-125321

http://www.dailyfinance.com/2009/12/28/trust-issues-with-your-gps-youre-not-alone-in-the-woods/

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/hunters-find-body-missing-man-died-walking-wilderness-article-1.1172600

Lee Dronick

“As I understand it, Apple has licensed map data from Tomtom, but Tomtom denies responsibility for Map app screwup’s.”

Antipodean map data is supplied by MapData Services Pty Ltd. mapdataservices.com

Anyway, it may up to the courts to decide who is in the wrong when I driver meets with disaster, Apple, the various mapmakers, the individual using the app, or a combination thereof.

Log-in to comment