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.
Maps 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.