Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s mapping application once again made the technology news headlines, after Australian police issued a warning that its directions inside Murray-Sunset National Park in Mildura, Victoria is inaccurate.
Travelers who followed the directions provided by iOS maps app were lost and stranded inside the park. The authorities raised concerns that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) put travelers in a life-threatening situation because the temperature in the park could reach 114 degrees Fahrenheit and there is no water and food supply. The situation led authorities to advise motorists to use different ways other than the iOS maps app to find the right directions when travelling to the park.
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In a response to the issue, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) corrected some of the information on the controversial iPhone map apps. The Cupertino-based company had been bombarded with criticisms since the launching of its own mapping application in September. Complaints include lack of design, details, distorted images, and the inaccurate directions. The iPhone maker’s Internet Software Services team led by its senior vice president, Eddy Cue is making changes and improving the iOS mapping application.
Apple previously used Google maps for its iPhones, but it was compelled to ditch them, after failing to create an agreement with the search engine giant regarding the voice-guided navigation, which is available to all smartphones powered by Android OS.
Meanwhile, a related report from The Register noted that Apple’s source on the erroneous directions for Mildura was the official Gazetteer of the Australian government, the authoritative reference for all the names and locations of places and towns in the continent. The Gazetteer listed two Milduras- the real town with population called Mildura and the other location known as Mildura Rural City with coordinates -34.79724 141.76108, which points to the middle of Murray-Sunset National Park. Apple failed to check the Gazetteer’s other entry for Mildura with “POPL” classification, which indicates that it is the center of population.
On Wednesday, the Australian police in Colac, west of Melbourne also issued a similar warning on Google maps because it is directing travelers to the Wild Dog Road, which is risky particularly for buses because the road was not built for heavy traffic.
In response to the issue, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) explained that its mapping application directs users to the Wild Dog Road only if they are searching for a location on that road. If users are searching for direction to nearby locations, Google maps provides a direction via Forrest-Apollo Bay Road/Skenes Creek Road.
Ed Parsons, one of the chief geoscientists at Google Inc (NASADAQ:GOOG) previously stated, “All maps have some mistakes, but the bigger issue is the lack of a true geocoded search index of places and the search algorithms that sit around it.” He also pointed out that the primary reason people use maps is to “help find stuff- maps on smartphones are interfaces to local search.” Furthermore, he also said, “To be fair to our friends in Cupertino the maps are not that bad.”
This begs the question, which company has a better maps app (or worse maps app)?