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Apple Fixes Australian Map Error That Caused Police Warning, Issue Traced to Official Gazetteer

A day after police in Victoria, Australia issued a warning to motorists advising them not to rely on Apple Maps for directions to the town of Mildura due to a location error that led several drivers to become stranded in remote Murray-Sunset National Park, The Guardian reports that Apple has fixed the error.


Purple pin represents actual location of Mildura; red pin represents original incorrect location

The error placed the town of Mildura some 45 miles away from its actual location and led to numerous motorists being stranded. The Victoria police responded by describing using the app to navigate as "potentially life-threatening."

While the label on Apple's maps has not yet been updated to show the correct location of Mildura, searches for and directions to the town now show the proper location.

Interestingly, The Register reports that the error was not entirely Apple's fault, as the incorrect location was included in the official Australian Gazetteer.
In this case, the Australian Gazetteer – the authoritative list of 300,000-plus placenames, complete with coordinates – includes two Milduras. One is the “real” town, the other is an entry for “Mildura Rural City”, coordinates -34.79724 141.76108. It’s this second entry that points to the middle of the Murray-Sunset National Park, just near a spot called Rocket Lake.
The report notes that this second point that Apple was mistakenly associating with searches for Mildura is in fact simply the geographic center of the area included within the Mildura Rural City local government area and thus does not correspond to the actual city of Mildura.

In his recent TV interview with Brian Williams, Tim Cook said that Apple "screwed up" with Maps and was now "putting the entire weight of the company behind correcting it." The company does, however, still have a significant amount of work ahead of it as it tries to catch up with Google's years-long head start.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)

23 months ago
One mistake fixed, millions to go.:eek:
Rating: 47 Votes
23 months ago
Ouch. Has an app ever been labeled as "life-threatening" before?
Rating: 33 Votes
23 months ago

For all of Apple's talk about "innovation" and "invent your own stuff", why is it then that Apple is blatantly RIPPING OFF Google Maps, and quite badly at that?


Ripping off Google Maps, or just maps? Google did not invent maps. They didn't even invent digital maps, or digital maps on the internet.
Rating: 26 Votes
23 months ago
So that's how you get Apple to fix map errors. They need to be featured on world wide media as life threatening.
Rating: 21 Votes
23 months ago

Ripping off Google Maps, or just maps? Google did not invent maps. They didn't even invent digital maps, or digital maps on the internet.


EXACTLY what I wrote. Ripping off Google Maps, the PLATFORM, the features, the functions, the look-and-feel, basically EVERYTHING.

Unlike Apple however, Google isn't suing them, just making a FAR SUPERIOR product and letting the consumer decide.
Rating: 21 Votes
23 months ago

Why in the world did Apple ditch Google Maps? Was it a case of "Not Invented Here Syndrome?"

Seriously strange - I mean does Apple have a YouTube site, a Facebook clone, or what else? It's strange that they decided to ditch Google Maps.

Or why not just purchase a company like Garmin?

Have you noticed how much better the map interaction inside Find Friends app became? Or how Siri can now give you turn by turn directions.

That was not possible before cuz Apple had their arms tied by the limiting Google maps contract.

Also, Apple Maps basically has Google Earth built-in. Sometimes it's pretty neat to see some place in 3D.

There are problems with the new maps, but there are improvements too. Most people seem not to notice them.
Rating: 18 Votes
23 months ago
For all of Apple's talk about "innovation" and "invent your own stuff", why is it then that Apple is blatantly RIPPING OFF Google Maps, and quite badly at that?
Rating: 18 Votes
23 months ago
I guess I'm going to be the jerk here. So yes, apple has screwed up maps, but the bigger problem is that people are literally using maps as a stupid guide rather than for convenience. We should use our brains when going places we are unaware of and be aware of how to retrace our steps if we are wrong. But that's just me I guess.
Rating: 16 Votes
23 months ago
Headline isn't fair. "Traced to Official Gazetteer"... if you mean, traced to Apple's misinterpretation of the Gazetteer's totally accurate data, then OK.
Rating: 15 Votes
23 months ago

Why in the world did Apple ditch Google Maps? Was it a case of "Not Invented Here Syndrome?"

Seriously strange - I mean does Apple have a YouTube site, a Facebook clone, or what else? It's strange that they decided to ditch Google Maps.

Or why not just purchase a company like Garmin?


Google was using their Maps as a weapon against Apple in the Mobile Wars. Apple, not wanting to be dependent on a hostile competitor for a major service, with their customers clamoring for feature parity, did the only thing they could do. They're screwed either way since mapping takes time to get right, due to the complexities of incompatible reference points for local data, transforming a 3D mostly-spherical object onto a 2D plane, inaccuracies created by out-of-date and imprecise measurements done at different times with different tools and methods, and of course the imprecise nature of floating points in the digital environment. The world is a very big place, and mapping it on a computer isn't easy.

Faced with the choice between getting screwed over by Google for another year, or putting their customers through an error reporting process they'd need to do anyway to get more accurate map data, Apple made the logical decision to release Apple Maps sooner rather than later. It gets the necessary growing pains over with sooner.

Maybe you don't remember how bad Google's maps were in the beginning, or people just gave them more slack since it was a minor, experimental part of their business at the time (they used to be a web search company).
Rating: 15 Votes

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