Australian Police Steer Drivers Away From Apple Maps

Error in iOS mapping app strands drivers in the middle of a desert, 45 miles from their intended destination. Australian police are not amused.

Eric Zeman, Contributor

December 10, 2012

2 Min Read

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The Australian desert is no joke. With temperatures that reach a searing 115 degrees Fahrenheit, it's not a place anyone needs to get stranded with no food or water. That's why the police in Mildura, Australia, are telling motorists to steer clear of Apple Maps.

Mildura police officers have responded to motorists in need of help after becoming lost and stranded thanks to the directions supplied by Apple Maps, reported the BBC. Some people the police assisted had been stranded without food and water for more than 24 hours.

The authorities then ran their own trials of the software and found it lacking.

"Tests on the mapping system by police confirm the mapping systems lists Mildura in the middle of the Murray Sunset National Park, approximately [45 miles] away from the actual location of Mildura," said senior sergeant Sharon Darcy. "Police are extremely concerned as there is no water supply within the park and temperatures can reach as high as [115 degrees F], making this a potentially life-threatening issue."

[ Google is prepping a new maps app for iOS. Learn Why Apple Can't Deny Google Maps On iPhone. ]

The police are strongly suggesting that travelers find an alternative to Apple Maps until Apple fixes its software. (Of course, it wouldn't hurt if travelers heading into the desert also brought along a couple gallons of water.)

Apple Maps debuted in September with iOS 6 and has been roundly criticized since for its inaccuracies and other problems. The debacle forced Apple to make a public apology. "We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better," said CEO Tim Cook earlier this year. The employees chiefly responsible for both Apple Maps and the iOS platform have since left Apple.

Apple wanted to supply its iPhone users with voice-guided, turn-by-turn navigation. Google Maps, which was a part of iOS until September, did not provide that feature. Apple and Google were unable to come to an agreement about the feature, so Apple dropped Google Maps in favor of its own software.

The company has since admitted that this was a mistake. It is working hard to fix the software.

About the Author(s)

Eric Zeman


Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies.

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