4 nightmare scenarios involving Apple Maps

Australian police call the application "potentially life threatening" after travelers are left stranded in scorching-hot temperatures

The Murray Sunset National Park
(Image credit: Wikimedia Commons/Papphase)

Apple has already been thoroughly skewered by just about everyone for the poor redesign of its Maps feature. As a result, the company has parted ways with big names involved in the application's nightmare roll-out, from iOS chief Scott Forstall to Maps team leader Richard Williamson. CEO Tim Cook was even forced to issue a rare public apology to the company's zealous clientele, even though some of the furor directed at the app may be overblown. Now, Apple has a new maps-related blemish to deal with: In a story widely circulated on Monday, Australian police called iOS Maps "potentially life threatening" because the application has led more than a few road-weary travelers dangerously astray in the wilderness. Here, a few tales of Apple Maps disasters:

1. The travelers stranded in the Australian wilderness

Police in Mildura, Australia, are asking travelers to be extra careful after Apple Maps has left a number of motorists headed to the town stranded 43 miles away in the middle of Murray Sunset National Park, where temperatures can reach 115 degrees Fahrenheit. "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," said the report. "Anyone traveling to Mildura or other locations within Victoria should rely on other forms of mapping until this matter is rectified."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

2. The man unwittingly sent to the suburbs

New York Times technology columnist David Pogue aired his own grievances with Maps in a column back in September, after he had his iPhone guide him to a scheduled speaking engagement. "The GPS navigation screen was clean, bold, and distraction free," wrote Pogue. "There was one problem: When the app told me that I had arrived, I was sitting in a random suburban cul-de-sac. Children were playing in the front yard, the sky was a crisp blue, and I was late for my talk."

3. The Maps reviewer sent four hours in the wrong direction

As bad as Apple Maps can seem in the states, it's even worse for folks overseas. In his review of Apple Maps, Wayne Williams at Betanews was using Apple Maps to navigate to the town of Blackpool along the coast of England. "I cheerfully drove along the virtual route, thinking 'Hey, this is all pretty well done, I like this.' Then he realized: "Blackpool is on the northwest coast of England. Apple Maps directed me South — a four-and-a-half hour, 248-mile, detour in the wrong direction." That's a lot of gas.

4. The iPhone's inability to locate emergency rooms

"What happens when you need to actually use the iPhone 5 to search for something really important like an emergency room? Nothing good," says Xavier Lanier at GottaBeMobile. "Searching for an emergency room with an iPhone 5 brings up private medical offices, pharmacies, and just about anything else medical related that's not a hospital or emergency room. Need a concierge house doc? Sure, he's mapped, but General Hospital is missing in action." Now that's really scary.

To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us