POLICE officers in a small Australian town have warned motorists over the dangers of relying on Apple’s Maps, as the much-maligned software locates the town of Mildura nearly 70 kilometres from where it should be.
The location problems have led to one man becoming stranded for 24 hours in temperatures of well over 40 degrees centigrade, and at least three others have had to be rescued after following the route mapped out by the app.
The Maps app has been slated by users and critics alike for its inaccuracies, and Mildura police have written to the technology giants to make them aware of the danger posed by the app’s errors.
A statement released by Victoria police urges motorists to take care when relying on the application, and to use alternative mapping options where possible, confirming that a location test puts the town of Mildura in the middle of the Murray-Sunset National Park, and not in its correct location nearly 70 km away.
The statement says: “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.”
One man had driven into the Park at 6pm - three hours before nightfall - following the directions issued by his iPhone Maps app, but had realised he was nowhere near his destination and that to continue driving could result in his vehicle getting stuck in the vast quantities of sand in the Park.
Apple correctly identify the location of the local airport, but do not offer it as a destination for those travelling to Mildura.
Alternative mapping applications or sites provide the correct location of the town, which has a population of around 30,000.
The company severed ties with Google, who provided the native Maps app prior to the latest operating system, and issued its own software in September. However, high-profile errors and general poor quality led to Apple’s Chief Executive Tim Cook firing the head of the iOS 6 software group and the head of the mapping group, and making a public apology.
Other high-profile mistakes in the Maps software include ‘warped’ roads, shops located on the wrong streets and directions including roads that don’t exist.