Yesterday it was reported that an Apple Maps error led a group of motorists astray while on their way to Mildura, resulting in them being stranded for up to 24 hours without food or water. After the error was reported to Apple by the Victoria Police, who also warned people not to use Maps, Apple fixed the error.
The error in question placed the town of Mildura about 70 km away from its actual location, leaving a number of people stranded in a “potentially life-threatening” place. The label on Apple’s maps hasn’t yet been changed to show the correct location of Mildura, but searches for and directions to the town now display the proper location.
But the blame can’t be entirely placed on Apple this time. The Register reports that 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.”
So the point that Apple was associating searches for Mildura with was actually the geographic center of the area included within the Mildura Rural City local government area and so doesn’t correspond with the actual city of Mildura.
Just about everyone, Apple fan or not, knows Apple Maps hasn’t quite lived up to Apple’s usual standards. In his TV interview with Brian Williams, CEO Tim Cook said they “screwed up” with Maps but Apple is now “putting the entire weight of the company behind correcting it.”
Image Credit: The Guardian