Australian Police Warn Apple’s iOS 6 Maps Inaccuracies Could Get Someone Killed

Australian Police Warn Apple’s iOS 6 Maps Inaccuracies Could Get Someone Killed

Motorists looking for Mildura are getting lost in Murray Sunset National Park.

The countless problems users have faced with Apple’s new Maps service have been widely documented since the software made its debut with iOS 6 back in September. The large majority of users — particularly those outside of the United States — have found it to be unreliable, inaccurate, and largely useless.

Now Australian police have warned that using the service could get you killed. The caution comes after six motorists were guided into the wilderness when looking for the Victorian city of Mildura.

When Apple introduced its new Maps service, it booted Google Maps — which had been powering Maps on iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches since the original iPhone — out of iOS. While Apple’s new app does boast some nifty features, such as 3D Flyover and turn-by-turn directions, it’s nowhere near as accurate as Google’s.

And its accuracies have led to big problems for some users. Victoria Police have revealed to ABC News Australia that in the last two months, six motorists looking for the city of Mildura have had to be rescued from the Murray Sunset National Park — which is located more than 70 kilometers away — thanks to Apple’s Maps.

Inspector Simon Clemence is concerned that the service could get someone killed.

“It if was a 45-degree day, someone could actually die,” Clemence told ABC News. “It’s quite a dangerous situation, so we would be calling for people not to use the new Apple iPhone mapping system if they’re traveling from South Australia to Mildura.”

Victoria Wake used Apple Maps when she was traveling with her partner from Adelaide to Mildura for a wedding two weeks ago. They ended up getting lost for five hours in Murray Sunset National Park when their car blew a type and became bogged.

“We had no water, we had nothing to eat,” she said. “We had the shelter of the car, but obviously you don’t want to keep running the car and putting the air conditioner because you don’t know how long you’re going to be there.

“So five hours in the heat working to try to get your car out was scary.”

Apple fired Scott Forstall, its senior vice president of iOS software, last month after he refused to apologize for Maps problems, and the Cupertino company’s been working hard to fix them since. But despite its best efforts, Maps continues to be worthless for many users.

Google is now working on a native Google Maps app for iOS, which is expected to hit the App Store soon. Providing Apple approved it, of course.

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  • TinCan2012

    I smell something fishy here. Looking at the maps of the area, there seems to be only 4 roads leading to Mildura, north, south, east and west. Unless there were absolutely no road signs, it is hard to see how you could get lost coming from any direction. I have had Garmin GPSs for years, and although I never had it tell me to turn into a visible lake like others have reported (true), I would probably trust my eyesight more than the GPS!

  • renny1966

    This is patently ridiculous. I use Apple Maps day in and day out around Canberra and have, as a matter of fact, just returned from a trip into country Victoria. I used Apple Maps all the way and it was spot on everytime. And, as TinCan2012 points out, we have eyes for a reason!

  • rondini

    Hello, paper maps? Always have a back up plan.
    failure to plan=planning to fail

  • Natalie

    “their car blew a type”? Is that a typo, or a British expression I’m not aware of? :-)

  • technochick

    So wait a moment, it wasn’t Maps but a tire that got them into trouble. If the tire had been fine they could have just turned around and driven back the way they came when they realized they weren’t in the right spot.

    I wonder how many other of those situations were similar.

    Yes Maps is less than perfect but Apple puts up a disclaimer before all directions warning folks there could be issues. People should double check their information. Particularly since rural Australia is known for not bothering with any kind of signage in their roads for KMs at a time.

    And if something like a busted tire is actually what stranded someone then blaming Maps is rather hyperbolic and hit whoring.

  • technochick

    ‘Apple fired Scott Forstall, its senior vice president of iOS software, last month after he refused to apologize for Maps problems,

    We don’t know why exactly he was fired making this statement a gross inclusion as it is nothing but a baseless rumor at this point. Including such things just degrades the already touchy view many, myself included, have of this site. I get that you are bloggers and basically said whatever it takes to get page hits. But there was a time when this site acted more like journalists and showed some decorum and it would be great if that time returned.

  • Aaron

    I use Navigon on my iPhone 4, but tried Apple Maps after Urbanspoon had an “open in Apple Maps” choice. The restaurant was about 2 miles away, but Apple Maps took us 4 states over, over 600 miles away. Always check your GPS to make sure it is going to the right place. Even Google Maps has mislead me on several occasions. (This is why I use Navigon almost exclusively now.)

  • Turtle Heart

    The spite and hate that drives Apple these days is tragic, a sure sign of losers heading for a fall. It is only spite and hate that drove Apple to dump a perfectly fine maps app. Cook is not a good leader, he is clueless in my view. Look at all these problems…maps, cannot get new products, all the dumping of great features of an open OS as it gets more and more closed…the terrible blunder with the save and save as feature being trashed…years and years since they upgraded the Mac Pro, dropping the 17 inch MBP, this is a company on the verge of losing its mind, absolutely.

  • technochick

    In addition to not revealing the lack of road signs, the issue of busted tires etc, seems the locals forgot to mention one other detail. Their own government is the cause of the bad information

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/12/10/apple_maps_ghost_mildura/

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a staff writer based in the U.K. He has an interest in all things tech and also covers Android over at CultofAndroid.com. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell.

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