Aussie police issue warning over 'potentially life-threatening' Apple Maps issue

Apple Maps: Sending people 70km in wrong direction to stranding territory
Octagon Airport, Dunedin - only on Planet Apple Maps

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Chris Keall

There's more grief for Apple Maps with Victorian police issuing a warning about the software (which comes with the free iOS 6 software upgrade for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, displacing Google Maps).

It's pretty brutal. It reads:

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 iPhone.

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.

Apple has reportedly moved fast, addressing the above issue inside 24 hours. But I've got my own Apple Maps beef.

Back on September 28, I asked Apple Maps (newly installed on my iPhone 4S) to find the Sofitel hotel on Auckland's Viaduct, where I was collectiing an iPhone 5 review unit from Apple.

It seemed a neat way to test the new software.

Problem: Apple Maps hadn't caught up with the fact the Sofitel had been re-named (from the Westin) in February. Google Maps and TomTom for iPhone had caught up with the change (TomTom is one of a number of Apple Maps data suppliers.)

It was annoying, but stuff happens with software product launches. 

Apple Maps did have a user-friendly function for reporting map errors, and an Apple rep duly used it to report the Sofitel/Westin change.

He explained another feature of Apple Maps is that it was all cloud-based, so updates and corrections could be continuously rolled out.

I checked back in a fortnight, and the change had not been made.

I searched for Sofitel, Auckland again today (and although everything's cloud based, note I have upgraded to iOS 6.01 in the meantime).

Still no luck. 

I guess there are a lot of bug reports to work through.

Octagon Airport
While I was at it, I ran a search for Dunedin Airport - one of many major land marks in a strange location after Apple Maps' initial launch. 

Previously, Apple Maps put the airport on the West Coast, spilling into the Tasman Sea around Greymouth.

Now, the airport is in the middle of the Octagon (the central town square), according to Apple Maps.

Crowdsourcing fixes can be all well and good.

But I suspect in this case somebody has been taking the Michael.

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2 Comments & Questions

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iPhone users get misdirected by Apple maps? Boy, that is going to affect a lot of VW Golf drivers....

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And another one. Mt. Isa in Queensland.

Although this may have been caused by "holding the phone wrong"...

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