Mildura Police warn drivers against relying on Apple iOS 6 maps

Police in Mildura, Victoria, Australia, have issued a warning to motorists, cautioning them against relying on Apple's new iOS 6 Maps. This comes after receiving distress calls from motorists who had become stranded in a national park after following iOS 6 maps directions. The Victoria Police News reports:

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. [...] 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.

Apple replaced the previous, Google-fed iOS Maps app with in iOS 6 with a new, better looking, worse working app. Apple CEO Tim Cook has apologized for the situation with iOS 6 maps, and promised Apple is working on making it better. Both the head of iOS and iOS 6 Maps have since existed the company.

Apple has also posted a list of alternative maps apps on the App Store for those experiencing problems with iOS 6 Maps.

Yet none of that matters when people are getting stuck in the middle of nowhere, because that's where Apple Maps put them. Apple needs to get ahead of this as fast as possible.

Source: Victoria Police News

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Mildura Police warn drivers against relying on Apple iOS 6 maps


While I agree that Apple needs to keep making corrections.... but,
Never trust a GPS mapping system until you FIRST verify the destination and route (I've seen plenty of people get lost using Garmin or other systems too... you have to make sure it has indicated valid locations and doesn't route you in some odd manner... for example, a closed road in mountain terrain).
This is also true of the previous Google maps.
In other words... if you turn off your brain, you might get in trouble.

Stop making excuses for Apple, the fruit has rottened. Are there reports of this significant of an issue before Apple maps?

Umm... there weren't reports because there weren't so many journalists linking up the story to the hottest company in the world in order to try and grab the headlines. If you think this kind of thing hasn't happened before, you've clearly never seen or used a GPS!

Search for Mildura Australia and apple maps gets it right. Search for Mildura Victoria Australia and it gets it wrong. Search functionality making a decision on what you search for. Those people that are getting lost, should they not be searching for a well known spot in the city instead of city itself if they have never been there? Computer is as smart as the user.

Meaning Google would've had their maps apps on the ready when iOS 6 launched. Example, YouTube was horrendously designed and limited AirPlay functionality and took several months to be iPhone 5 and iPad ready. It is not easy to make a mapping solution, sure their backend might be good but the actual app is nowhere near where it should be, ergo why there's no Google maps in the store.

I'm not making excuses for Apple but this is common place with aGPS maps and the mobile development of them. Google it.

I thought Google was getting ready to turn in to Apple and some of their workers were saying that they were afraid that it would be rejected or delayed in approval. Also the reason Google doesn't have their app ready is because Apple took out the previous default app before the contract was up and Google didn't expect them to terminate it earlier than the contract. Google was already working on making a map app for Apple but they thought they had more time which is why it isn't here yet. I do agree with you that it's not easy to make these kind of apps especially on the first try but Apple could have waited a bit longer until it was more polished and accurate since they could still use Google data until the contract ended. Also for the in house Google apps that were in place before the current iOS, weren't they designed by Apple and simply used Google's data and services to provide the information? I could be wrong on that but I don't feel I am.

IMO that is a smoke screen to give them more time to actually do a maps app. Denying or delaying would cause more PR damage for Apple and put regulatory bodies in motion. Apple gave Google the heads up when they removed the stock YouTube and Maps app in June (6 months ago) during the betas of iOS 6. Consequently, Google proceeded to release the YouTube app on 8/12/12, keeping track of dates that's more than a month before iOS 6 went public and of course the launch of the iPhone. It's now December and now Google has made their YouTube to support iPhone 5 and the iPad. I wouldn't be surprised with this potential fallout Google in hindsight will decides to sit on maps for bit longer for stories like this to cause more irreparable damage. Apple took the gamble and they are paying for it, but I think the short term lost will be their long term gain.

Yes, Apple to my knowledge designed the original maps app with using Google's backend maps data. There are reports that Google maps was a last minute inclusion to the original iPhone and gave Google less than weeks to set the backend portion of it without even seeing the app. Google maps has had years of benefit of crowd sourcing data from iOS users. It's unfair for us to go over kill on this.

I suppose they could have just left the Google version on there as well, if they knew their version had so many issues.

My guess is that they maybe didn't realize it. If you keep these products under wraps of secrecy, they don't get a lot of genuine testing. The people who are testing are probably in S.F. area, maybe traveling around to some major cities mostly. The data probably isn't all that bad in these places, so with limited testing, things probably seemed OK (or, at least way better than the reality).

I actually think a lot of Apple's initial releases suffer from this. They usually work fairly well, but are missing basic features or have technical issues that seem to indicate lack of testing. It's the tradeoff for such high secrecy.

Maps is crowd sourced dependent. meaning it needs user participation. Apple had to make the tough decision, having Google maps included could have hindered the important data needed to make the Apple maps app better, users would just opt for what they are familiar with. I don't know how much employees Apple has but perhaps not enough to make this the best it could be when tested. In a way, Apple got bit with the secrecy of the app, what were the advantages of keeping it secret? Maybe they knew it would take time for Google to build their maps app to give time to get some maps data going Apple's way. If not, again Apple maps would suffer a worst outcome like users abandoning the app completely because the alternative is there. It's a catch 22. Apple is looking at the long game.

Updated: This is like chess, anticipating moves from your opponent, it's high risk for both sides. Now unfortunately, some pieces must be sacrificed for the greater goal. Some people like seeing this unfold, sadly sometimes we play the role of the pawns. Still using iOS has the benefit of having both alternatives of apps and services from Apple and Google, Android can't say that and Apple wouldn't have it any other way.

"Apple had to make the tough decision, having Google maps included could have hindered the important data needed to make the Apple maps app better, users would just opt for what they are familiar with."

Except shortly after the mess started, Apple posted a list of alternatives. If not having alternatives present was the plan, I doubt this list would have been posted. It's simple. Apple thought their Maps app was ready. It wasn't.

I'm sure no one is making arguments against that Apple thought it was ready. Besides the list was after that fact of the media blowout. Plus that list is not Google maps, which is the point. They'd have no problem advertising third party map apps in their App store not being Google Maps.

Now, user crowd sourcing is being done since iOS 6 was released, it will take time but it should get better. Apple is not going back on relying on Google maps, it's simple as that.

Not like Garmin or Navigon are perfect. You just won't see that publicity. The trouble with Apple relying on third parties for map data is that all of a sudden these things are under a microscope.

The problem is not necessarily that Apple Maps is unreliable, but the fact that it replaced Google Maps, which was very reliable. I knew I could trust Google Maps to reliably get me to my destination, and regardless of how intelligent people here may be, not everyone understands the change in mapping data, or that the new service has been reported as unreliable, and that they need to check that data is accurate.

We know that Apple had (at least) another year to run on their maps contract with Google, and they should have used that extra year to have built their replacement to a more reliable level, such that people could trust it out of the box. Because, like it or not, people will trust it.

The reliability of Google maps depends largely on where you are located. It was terribly accurate and detailed in places like S.F. & NYC... not as much in some other places or countries.

This is true. However, the trend seems to be the case that Apple's replacement is worse in most cases.

It is also worth acknowledging that Google Maps started out very poor, and had significant refinement before iOS existed. Essentially, this is the basis of the problems I mentioned above - the lack of time Apple used to develop compared to Google.

So at the start of google maps I guess everything was perfect. Google maps every now and then screws up the information it provides. Every GPS systems have these issues. Apple did what it had to do. Google didn't want to provide turn by turn which they felt should only be on their phones exclusively. Is Maps perfect no but was google maps perfect no.

Why do people do this? I would not buy a brand new car, for example, that was very unreliable and be satisfied knowing that when cars first came out, they were unreliable as well. While I have no problems with Apple bringing out their own version of maps, the following is aways true:

When a product comes out, it must compete with the *current* products on the market, not with some prior version that customers probably don't remember, nor with some future potential version that customers don't care about.

I've used Garmin, Telenav, Navteq. Worst case scenario with these, I would input a location and I'd get there and the place would be closed down. This just means the maps weren't updated. In the systems I used the maps only updated once a year. The system still did it's job and directed me to the location. I've never input an address and it takes me "70Km" from where i'm supposed to go.

Apple Maps is good and bad. In some cases it is better and more accurate than Google Maps, and it others, it's worse. Last week Google Maps didn't have the correct location for a restaurant I was trying to find while Apple maps found it without a problem, and it's way out in the middle of nowhere in the country. Though Apple Maps lists my home address about 3 miles away from where it actually is. :(

I'm not shocked it couldn't find a no name restaurant in the middle of nowhere, but it can't find your house? It can't find a city that has been established for hundreds of years? Let's learn to crawl before we start running, and never say iOS maps is accurate if it can't even get the little things correct... People are people, they trust in technology because very intelligent people are suppose to have solved these issues and made their lives easier. They should be able to trust their GPS, and not have it lead them into the middle of a desert. Apple should shut their maps app down for the time being, if its THAT bad its putting peoples life at risk, that would be the responsible course of action.

Never rely on any GPS system alone. Yes Apple has problems, but learn how to read a paper map, and have one as a back up updated at all times. As fast as we develop areas, and put in new streets almost daily, no system can be correct all the time.

apple didn't have 1 year left on the contract. apple decided a year ago, that they would change the maps so only were working fulltime on it for 1 year.