Apple’s Maps Steers People Wrong Across Fairbanks Airport Taxiway

FAI Apple Maps

Looks like Apple’s Maps app is in the spotlight again, as it is directing folks directly across a taxiway where airplanes take off in Fairbanks, Alaska. The Alaska Dispatch reports that at least two out-of-town drivers relying on Apple’s navigation system for turn-by-turn directions to the Fairbanks International Airport (FAI) were directed across the runway to the airport ramp side of the passenger terminal.

That could be pretty dangerous if a plane was taking off or landing.

Airport marketing director Angie Spear noted that drivers place way too much faith in electronic navigation systems. “No matter what the signs say,” she said, “the map on their iPhone told them to proceed this way.”

The directions in Maps were very specific, routing drivers via an access route typically used by general aviation pilots to get onto the East Ramp in Fairbanks, which is located directly across from the main airport terminal. The directions finish up by telling drivers to drive to Taxiway Bravo, though they do avoid taking drivers directly across the main runway.

However, once drivers drove across Taxiway B, it’s a short, visually convenient route to drive across to the other side of the main runway. The TSA, airport personnel, and police converged on a rental car on September 6. The airport complained via the attourney general’s office to Apple, but the issue remains.

“We asked them to disable the map for Fairbanks until they could correct it,” said thinking it would be better to have nothing show up than to take the chance that one more person would do this,” said airport chief of operations Melissa Osborn.

It happened again on September 20, and the airport took steps to close the access route from the external roads with barricades and notices to pilots and other air personnel.

The airport has been told that Apple will remedy the Map directions by Wednesday.

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  • iFan41

    How much more precise can you get than to be delivered straight to the tarmac?

  • Tcphoto1

    I learned my lesson this past weekend about Apple Maps. I was out of town at a friends wedding and we needed to run an errand, I searched for a grocery store by name and was given directions. I we sat at a traffic light we looked around and saw the sign for that grocery chain which was not included in my search. Why didn’t Apple simply license Google Maps like it did Yahoo Weather? I guess they wanted to keep the .001% profits for themselves and write a still crappy v2.0 app.

  • joewaylo

    Isn’t the Taxiway gated to prevent unauthorized personnel driving on it? Someone failed in security. I know in Grand Theft Auto IV, they send police and SWAT after you if you drive on the Tarmac.

  • CoyoteDen

    next time, make sure you don’t select “Flying Directions”

  • Andrew John

    I learned my lesson this past weekend about Apple Maps. I was out of town at a friends wedding and we needed to run an errand, I searched for a grocery store by name and was given directions. I we sat at a traffic light we looked around and saw the sign for that grocery chain which was not included in my search. Why didn’t Apple simply license Google Maps like it did Yahoo Weather? I guess they wanted to keep the .001% profits for themselves and write a still crappy v2.0 app.

    You’ll find that google wasn’t offering Apple turn by turn navigation, flyover or voice options for the iPhone app, which google already had in its android version. Why should Apple expect a lesser product from a business partner that wanted to charge it MORE for its API’s than goggle were charging other companies? Apple had little choice when google decided to act like assholes. Sad seeing as Steve Jobs mentored those guys in their early days.

    Google maps isn’t a great product either. It constantly gives incorrect street view images and has sent people on unsafe journeys as well.

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57558777-93/police-google-maps-giving-dangerous-directions-too/

  • JesusHSmith

    Do news sites ever publish Google map screw-ups or is this purely an Apple phenomenon? Tall poppy syndrome, perhaps.

  • patrickahles

    Cars should not be able to access that road under any circumstances. The directions Apple Maps provide may be off, but the airport is at fault here.

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Games and Tips Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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