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article imageApple 'Maps' could be a killer app in Australia — quite literally

By Anne Sewell     Dec 10, 2012 in World
Several stranded travelers needed rescue by Victoria police officers in the middle of Murray Sunset National Park in the last couple of months, due to the Apple "Maps" app sending them the wrong way.
Australian police have reported that a glitch in the Apple "Maps" app could potentially send motorists to their deaths - by sending them the wrong way and right into the Australian wilderness.
According to police officials on Monday, in the last couple of months several travelers were rescued in the middle of the Murray Sunset National Park, when their intended destination was the town of Mildura.
A police statement read, "Police are extremely concerned as there is no water supply within the park and temperatures can reach as high as 46 degrees Celsius, making this a potentially life threatening issue."
According to the Maps app, the town is located in the heart of the national park, instead of its actual location, which is 500 kilometers northwest of Melbourne - an error of around 70 kilometers.
Apple Map app gives wrong directions to Mildura in Australia.
Apple Map app gives wrong directions to Mildura in Australia.
Video screen capture
Mildura police inspector Simon Clemence told Australian broadcaster, ABC, "If it was a 45-degree day, someone could actually die."
"It's quite a dangerous situation, so we would be calling for people not to use the new Apple iPhone mapping system if they're traveling from South Australia to Mildura," he added.
In the image on the right taken from the Maps app, the actual location of the town of Mildura is marked by the purple pin, and not the red pin as marked.
So far, at least five cars have been misdirected and stranded in the park because of the error and some travelers spent up to 24 hours without food or water.
Clemence said that "One guy got far enough in to lose phone coverage and he was stuck there and he got bogged and he had to walk out, and it took him 24 hours to get to a point where he had phone coverage, and then we came and rescued him." He warned that this issue may become more dangerous as the summer heat continues to rise.
Victoria Wake told ABC News that she and her partner were traveling from Adelaide to Mildura for a wedding two weeks ago. Using the Apple Maps app, they got lost for five hours in Murray Sunset National Park. Wake says her car blew a tyre and eventually became bogged.
She said, "We had no water, we had nothing to eat. We had the shelter of the car, but obviously you don't want to keep running the car and putting the air conditioner because you don't know how long you're going to be there."
"So five hours in the heat working to try to get your car out was scary," she added.
It seems that Apple recently dropped its competitor, Google Maps, as the default map app for both the new iOS6 mobile operating system and also the iPhone 5. The Google maps have been replaced with the app designed by Apple, called simply ‘Maps.’
Soon after this new app was launched, there was much criticism and scorn from consumers, due to various bugs, which include missing landmarks and cities, distorted views and error-prone navigation.
After the criticism, Apple CEO Tim Cook apologized to users for Maps, and said that Apple was working hard to find out where it went wrong and fix it.
"With the launch of our new Maps, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better," he said in an email.
"Everything we do at Apple is aimed at making our products the best in the world. We know that you expect that from us, and we will keep working non-stop until Maps lives up to the same incredibly high standard."
Apple rolled out its latest update to Maps last week, but it seems that not everything has been corrected.
The Victoria police stated that they had contacted Apple to report the problem and that they hoped it would be fixed soon.
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