Aussie Police warn use of iPhone map could be “life threatening”

I’d say fire the guy who built that piece of cr*p, otherwise known as the iPhone map app, but apparently they already forced him out.

I’m a big Apple fan, in spite of the exorbitant prices and their tendency to nickel-and-dime you even after you pay twice as much for an Apple product as you’d spend elsewhere.  And I really do love my iphone.  But the recent operating system update wiped out Google maps, and replaced it with Apple’s poorer sadist brother, who couldn’t find Cupertino on a map if your life depended on it.

And apparently, in Australia, your life quite literally does depend on it.

From the Victoria, Australia police department:

apple iphone map app

Apple’s iPhone map app places my Washington, DC condo somewhere in the Southern Ocean off of Antarctica. It’s not. This is an actual screen shot of the actual result for my home address.

Mildura Police are urging motorists to be careful when relying on the mapping system on the Apple i-phones operating on the iOS 6 system after a number of motorists were directed off the beaten track in recent weeks.

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 i-phone.

Tests on the mapping system by police confirm the mapping systems lists Mildura in the middle of the Murray Sunset National Park, approximately 70km away from the actual location of Mildura.

Police are extremely concerned as there is no water supply within the Park and temperatures can reach as high as 46 degrees, making this a potentially life threatening issue.

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.

Police have contacted Apple in relation to the issue and hope the matter is rectified promptly to ensure the safety of motorists travelling to Mildura.

Anyone travelling to Mildura or other locations within Victoria should rely on other forms of mapping until this matter is rectified.

I’ve had my own run-ins with Apple’s iPhone map app.  First there’s the fact that it often places my Washington, DC condo in the middle of the ocean just off of Antarctica.

It put the supermarket a block away at a completely different corner.

It also put a second supermarket from the same company, one that doesn’t exist, in the middle of a residential neighborhood to the west of me.

It’s transposed the locations of the local diner and Chinese restaurant (switching one for the other), and put both of them north of the saloon that actually goes in the middle.

Oh, and you can’t zoom in as closely on the Apple map as you can on Google maps, which is also annoying.

Then there was yesterday, when I decided to venture in to the near suburbs using my iPhone to help me figure out bus schedules, etc.  Well, the iPhone used to have bus schedules built into its Google maps, but not anymore.  You have to go download some other app from another vendor, that may or may not get you where you want to go (I found the other product confusing).  And I know well enough not to trust Apple’s map any more, so I switched to Google’s web browser map that was honestly only slightly better than Apple’s (the Google map never shows me the actual map when I’m on the road and away from wi-fi.).

It’s kind of a big deal relying on a map that’s wrong.  And in Australia, apparently, it can get you killed.  It is seriously unclear why Apple won’t just add back the Google maps app and be done with it.  (I know, Google and Apple hate eachother – thus, I suppose, the reason Google’s Blogger no longer works reliably on Apple products).  Both companies need to grow up.  (H/t cnet)


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

Share This Post

  • Charon

    Google maps + navigate have had read aloud directions for a long time (at least as long as I’ve had an Android – granted only two years, but that’s old news in tech).

    “I would never rely on a digital map requiring a satellite connection out in the boonies.”

    :) Everyone who does GPS navigation (dedicated GPS, not phones) just laughed at you. Don’t get me wrong, map and compass nav is quite useful. But GPS is great for wilderness travel (and what do you think planes use?).

  • HtW

    Still picturing a Chinese restaurant, a diner and a saloon all on the same block.

  • Michael Parido

    I’ve used the turn by turn voice nav system on my Blackberry for years and never had a problem with it. You Apple people are suckers for punishment.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    I used that app once. Never again!

  • rmthunter

    ” First there’s the fact that it often places my Washington, DC condo in the middle of the ocean just off of Antarctica.”

    Give it a couple of years, at least for the middle of the ocean part.

  • goulo

    “No proof” other than the experience of all of the people I’ve seen who’s used both and commented on them… who have all agreed that Apple’s maps are worse than Google’s… I’ve only used Google maps, but never had such a problem.

  • MrBlifil

    Google maps was also far from perfect, and the advantage of a free GPS navigation system that reads directions aloud while you drive is an enormous advantage in the iPhone, one that more than makes up for the odd glitch. The NYC area is very well accounted for and I would never rely on a digital map requiring a satellite connection out in the boonies. Those intrepid outdoorsmen reliant on their iPhones were asking for trouble. And again, there’s no proof that Google’s algorithms are any more reliable.

  • kwebb23

    At the risk of dragging up ancient technology, Mapquest has an iPhone app which is pretty good; at least the maps work for me.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Chances are the abysmal performance of the Apple map application isn’t the fault of the developers, but more likely the upper management who ordered it bundled into the operating system before the flaws and bugs were fixed. In other words, a decision based on the business politics of excising anything Google-related from Apple devices and not on what best serves customers’ needs.

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