Police warning: Apple Maps leading motorists astray and into danger

Macworld Australia Staff
10 December, 2012
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Off the beaten track. Apple Maps incorrectly shows the location of Mildura 70km from where the town is situated. Source: Herlad Sun

Police are cautioning motorists against using Apple’s Maps navigation software after drivers accessing the software were led into potentially fatal incidents, in yet another blow to the application since its launch alongside iOS 6 in September.

Police issued the alert after it was discovered that the Maps app currently positions Mildura in the middle of Murray Sunset National Park, 70km from the correct location, according to a report by the Herald Sun.

“Local police have been called to assist distressed motorists who have become stranded within the Murray-Sunset National Park after following directions on their Apple iPhone”, the article outlines.

“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.”

The issue follows a string of other Maps-related mishaps since the application launched with Apple’s iOS 6 on September 21. Reports of errors and flaws in the navigation system followed shortly thereafter, prompting the company’s CEO Tim Cook to issue a public apology, suggesting that iOS users download competing map apps while Apple worked on improving the system.

“At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers,” wrote Cook. “With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment.”

“We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.”

The Herald Sun reports that Victorian police have contacted Apple regarding the incidents in Mildura, hoping to resolve the software glitch and prevent further problems occurring. In the mean time, authorities advise all motorists travelling to Mildura and other areas within Victoria to access alternative navigation systems until the issue has been fixed.

Have you had any problems using Apple Maps while driving? Share your experiences in the comments field below.




12 people were compelled to have their say. We encourage you to do the same..

  1. Tony says:

    It also puts East Malvern Tennis Club (Victoria) in Dandenong and, just next to Regent’s Park Aspendale (off Nurten Parade) is a knife and fork called Bryson’s Place whose address is given in the info as as being in Warwick, Queensland. :)

  2. Steve says:

    First up i have to say i love the design of Apple Maps it is streamlined and minimal and reading the street names is the best i have ever seen, but when navigating to Chadstone shopping center (on my 4s going to get the 5) when i got their the app said i still had 3.5 kms to go to arrive at my destination.
    So it still definitely needs work.

  3. udi says:

    we should get google’s offering back. I understand apple’s desire to favour their own products but the tight control they exert over app availability is winning them no friends. when the iphone was the only game in town, this draconian policy made commercial sense but now it is only driving people away.

  4. fahirsch says:

    If you put Mildura VIC, it’s correctly shown.
    I live in Argentina, and the same problem crops all the time: you have to input a street name, or town, exactly as it’s in the map. And too many times the one I need is not on the list it pops up.
    Also, it presumes that the word “Street” (“Calle” in Spanish) is part of the street name. Well, at least in Argentina, nobody uses “calle” as part of the name (except, maybe, with numerical streets) when looking at a map (and Google map doesn’t)
    I have not been able to find a way to to tell Apple of this kind of problems.
    They should have a public address where anybody could write about their map problems

  5. richard head jr says:

    It’s too late ios maps will forever be seen as a buggy mess. Apple could of avoided this fiasco but they bit their nose off to spite their face when they dropped google maps so abruptly thinking they would harm google. All they did was harm their reputation.

  6. commiepinkofag says:

    This is fascinating not because of anything as trivial as Maps or Apple, but in terms of the larger issue of publishers being held responsible for the software they release.

    To date, EULAs handily relieve publishers of all responsibility for anything at all that occurs as the result of using their products. Historically, software publishers have declared themselves responsible for absolutely nothing, including damages.

    Now that we’ve reached the point where buggy applications can kill people, it’ll be interesting to see how long they can get away with this.

  7. Troy Junge says:

    Hopefully all motorists involved can laugh about the experience – its a new twist on the driver vs. navigator tension that most couples enjoy throughout their married life.

  8. Rudy Kohut says:

    I reported the “Mildura, Victoria” location problem to Apple at least twice in last two months and today it still places you in the National Park. There are other towns way off beam as well – try locating “Swan Hill, Victoria” or “Ararat, Victoria”. Not even close. I reported them ages ago but no change. I’m not sure what Apple are doing about the reports being sent in but they sure aren’t responding with anything like the alacrity needed for this troubled application.

  9. Brett St Pierre says:

    We’ve identified too many town/city location errors to even
    list. Generally presentation of the Apple maps looks pretty good
    but besides the location labelling errors, the most fundamental
    mistake I see is that when you zoom out a bit too see bigger
    distances and plan a road journey, both street/road names and towns
    disappear entirely. I planned an 800km road trip recently with the
    Apple maps and according to the maps, there was absolutely no towns
    on or near the highway between the two points. In fact there were 3
    regional cities and any number of towns but none were labelled
    until I zoomed the map right in to a very close range, by which the
    overall perspective of the journey was lost. A terrible travel
    planning map.

  10. nik says:

    “the most fundamental mistake I see is that when you zoom out a bit too see bigger distances and plan a road journey, both street/road names and towns disappear entirely. ”

    ^ That!!

    I was in Hong Kong recently and the inability to see street names made Apple maps basically completely useless for foot navigation. I had to zoom in so close to see the little side street names that I lost all context. I don’t know this city so I was mostly just confused looking at the map. It seems like a pretty fundamental flaw – presenting enough data at a given zoom level.

    Google, on the other hand, often looked messier but was much more useful. Unfortunately the Maps+ user interface is challenging to say the least, and using Gmaps on the browser is rather uninspiring. It would seem like all Apple has to do is copy what Gmaps is doing in this regard.

    Apple has so much cash in the bank, you would think they’d have a 1000 strong team by now which manually fixes data, verifies info, and cleans up the app.

  11. GP Newman says:

    As reported this morning:

    Remember the story earlier this week about police in Mildura, Australia issuing a warning to motorists about Apple Maps when it was found that the app was taking people into the heart of the bush? Apple fixed the issue, pointing the pin for the town into the correct spot. But now, it appears that the company or one of its map suppliers may have picked up the erroneous data from the Australian government.

    The Register found a source for the map information; the Australian Gazetteer, which is the “authoritative list of 300,000-plus placenames.” The Gazetteer shows two Milduras; the actual town, and an entry for “Mildura Rural City” exactly at the location that Maps erroneously showed the town. The latter entry, according to the Register’s commenters, is at the center of the local government area referred to as “Mildura Rural City.”

    As The Register notes, Geosciences Australia — the agency behind the Gazetteer — can’t be blamed, since the data ultimately comes from the state of Victoria. Regardless of the source of the move of Mildura into the scorching Murray-Sunset National Park, at least Apple has corrected the issue.

  12. Michael Fischer says:

    Folks; it’s called an iPhone, not an iMap! Buy a Garmin if you want accurate directions!

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