Just months ago, Apple suffered one of the most embarrassing app-related fiasco when it launched a severely flawed mapping program. It was so inaccurate that Apple even encouraged users to switch to a mapping application from its rivals. A recent incident in Australia however shows just how inefficient the Apple map app is following police recommendation in the country not to use it for fear of losing lives.
Last Monday, police in Victoria, Australia issued a warning to motorists not to use the iPhone mapping system after the department rescued several people who became lost in Victoria’s wilderness after using the app. Some of those rescued were stranded for a day without adequate supply of food and water.
A total of six motorists were rescued after they followed Apple map’s directions to reach an inland city, which directed them instead to a national park 43 miles from their intended destination.
“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,” Victoria police said in a statement.
Police are extremely concerned as there is no water supply within the Park and temperatures can reach as high as 46 degrees [Celsius, roughly 115 degrees Fahrenheit], making this a potentially life threatening issue.
“Anyone travelling to Mildura or other locations within Victoria should rely on other forms of mapping until this matter is rectified,” the police statement added.
Apple decided to use its own mapping system in its new iOS6 operating system, opting out of Google’s more robust and reliable map app. Apple’s own offering was found to be very inaccurate and underwhelming.
CEO Tim Cook was forced to publicly apologize for the defective software and to promise significant improvements. iOS software head Scott Forstall was fired following Cook’s apology after he refused to sign the apology letter. The head of the division which designed Apple’s mapping software, Richard Williamson, was also fired.