Mobile Technology

Apple Maps sends Australian motorists off the beaten track

Apple Maps sends Australian mo...
Apple Maps shows the town of Mildura some 70 km (44 miles) south of its actual location
Apple Maps shows the town of Mildura some 70 km (44 miles) south of its actual location
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Apple Maps shows the town of Mildura some 70 km (44 miles) south of its actual location
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Apple Maps shows the town of Mildura some 70 km (44 miles) south of its actual location
Google Maps shows Mildura in its correct location
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Google Maps shows Mildura in its correct location

Having already attracted widespread criticism, the inaccuracy of Apple Maps has now prompted police in Victoria, Australia, to issue a warning about using the iOS 6 app. The warning comes after a number of motorists seeking directions to the town of Mildura became stranded after they were directed into a National Park by the problem-plagued app.

Mildura is a regional town situated on the border of the states of Victoria and New South Wales on the banks of the Murray River. However, according to Apple Maps, the town is in the middle of the Murray Sunset National Park, some 70 km (44 miles) south of its actual location.

Google Maps shows Mildura in its correct location
Google Maps shows Mildura in its correct location

The discrepancy would be laughable if it wasn’t so potentially dangerous. With summer kicking off at the start of December, temperatures in the area can reach as high as 46° C (114.8° F). Couple this with the fact that the desolate area only has patchy mobile phone coverage and no water supply and there is real potential for motorists to find themselves in a life-threatening situation.

Victoria Police reports that in recent weeks, some motorists using Apple Maps have been stranded for up to 24 hours without food or water and had to walk for long distances across dangerous terrain to get phone reception. This has prompted them to issue a warning against anyone traveling to Mildura or other locations in the state against relying on the app.

Victoria Police says it has alerted Apple to the problem and hopes the issue is rectified promptly. With the nearest Apple Store over 500 km (310 miles) away in Melbourne, it’s unlikely that Apple Store employees can be counted on to fix the problem.

Source: Victoria Police

9 comments
William Blackburn
OK, speaking as a Victorian (the state where Mildura is), these people are complete idiots. Mildura's not that hard to find, it doesn't look like a desert! It has nice well sign-posted roads leading in and out.
Stefano Benamati
William, this is not a matter of intelligence, the problem is about reliability of the product. Today is Mildura, maybe tomorrow will be discovered another city with the same problem but without "nice well sign-posted roads leading in and out". When you use a GPS app you expect that it brings you to the place you want without you to think if the path is right or wrong. In my opinion to not loose in places such as the Outback the best solution is to use applications that do not rely completely on maps such as "GPS, find me!" (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=gpsfindme.benamati.it) which is available only for Android. This is another proof that Android is superior...
maxm
The app should be fixed, I agree. But I also agree with William, why not put the phone down and simply read the street signs like we used to do. Many people embrace technology and abandon good old common sense..
Griffin
Here's the problem- the "smarter" the phones get, the dumber people get. After Katrina, NOTHING worked on the grid. ALL cell towers (including those for Android products,obviously) were kaput- either down or temporarily unavailable for inspection purposes. Also, many stores upon initial re-opening couldn't sell products because they could not manually do inventory OR even basic math without calculators! People who are that tech dependent should really just stay in the city. "Honey,is there a water app on here?" Always have a contingency plan and know how to use it- or suffer the consequences. Like the Boy Scouts- "Be Prepared!" As for Apple maps, I'd say that the bigger danger is getting out in the wrong part of the city and becoming a target. Tech is fine but it doesn't make you a magical superhero or give you a TV commercial life.
Robert Duckmanton
I suppose this dilemma can be interpreted as part of the downside of gaxing at the Gorilla Glass screen instead of out of the window at the real world. There is life beyond the smartphone! Better still, if venturing beyond the urban world, use a proper GPS designed for driving. I see one cay buy such around the town for as little as AUD 150,, with map updates for life! Of course, there is still the old fashioned road map!
Gregg Eshelman
Apple Maps, still in the bush league. ;-) Android and iPhone didn't exist in 2005. Smartphones then ran Palm OS, Blackberry, Symbian or Windows CE/Mobile/Phone.
Marcus Carr
William, having driven a number of times from Sydney to Mildura, I assure you that sign-posted roads didn't get me there. When I jumped in my car, there was no sign at the first corner pointing me in the right direction. My primary navigation was Google maps, which I had printed and referred to all the way there. Road signs confirmed that I was on the right track, but they didn't lead me there. If I'd seen a sign for Mildura pointing me up a gravel road, I'd likely ignore it a shortcut that I can't rely on. Primary navigation aids have to be right - that's all there is to it.
Geoff Morrow
I plugged in Melbourne to Portsea as an exercise. It directed me down the new Peninsula Freeway which is still under construction and not due to open until 2013.
Nairda
Also for those that also wear tin foil hats on occasion, there is the accute awareness that at any time, the owners of the maps (Google, Apple, etc) can simply change the information. ie - One day a road (or suburb) exists, another day it does not. Replaced with a park. If you never look up from your iPhone, you would never know. Read about Wittenoom, Western_Australia. Back in the day when people used maps in books. To discourage visitors, future editions of maps omitted the town. With good reason in that case, but did not change the implication. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wittenoom,_Western_Australia This can now be done in real-time on digital maps if the authorities want to steer you clear of an area through miscommunication.