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Australian Police Warn That Apple Maps Could Get Someone Killed 452

Posted by samzenpus
from the path-less-traveled dept.
First time accepted submitter jsherring writes "Police in Victoria, Australia warn that Apple's glitch-filled Maps app could get someone killed, after motorists looking for the Victorian city of Mildura were instead guided to a wilderness area. Relying on Apple Maps to navigate through rural Australia seems rather foolish but it has become common practice to rely on GPS navigation. Besides reverting to google maps, perhaps Apple should provide strong warnings to use other navigation sources if navigating to remote locations."
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Australian Police Warn That Apple Maps Could Get Someone Killed

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  • Apple bashing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by azalin (67640) on Monday December 10, 2012 @05:58AM (#42240383)
    As much as I enjoy a good old apple bashing, anyone who trust their gps without checking the plausibility of the route is an utter fool.
  • Re:Back in the day (Score:5, Insightful)

    by caitsith01 (606117) on Monday December 10, 2012 @06:27AM (#42240509) Journal

    People managed to navigate without all this garbage.

    And if their maps wrongly placed their destination in completely the wrong place, they'd be equally screwed.

    What's your point?

  • Re:Apple bashing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Farmer Tim (530755) <roundfile AT mindless DOT com> on Monday December 10, 2012 @06:31AM (#42240521) Journal

    How about following the road signs that predate GPS by decades? Worked for me when I used to drive around out that way in the 90s.

  • Re:Darwin awards (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 10, 2012 @06:39AM (#42240555)

    for those that do care ... no crocs ... just emus, kangaroos, snakes, etc ...

    pretty damn difficult to die there except from exposure to the heat

    i.e. Pretty easy to die there from exposure to the heat.

  • Re:Apple bashing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GauteL (29207) on Monday December 10, 2012 @07:15AM (#42240711)

    Apple Maps sucks. There is no two ways about it, and Apple certainly deserves stick for it.

    I have also never been to Australia, but I am capable of making a couple of observations:
    If you're driving to a location you don't know, in an environment where getting lost could get you killed:
    1. NEVER rely on one source of information for getting you to your destination. I wouldn't rely solely on Google Maps to get there either, even though Google Maps have been accurate and reliable for me in the past. Check Google Maps and a good old fashioned map before leaving. After all, what happens if you you lose reception or battery half way there?
    2. Make sure you bring basic survival gear for your environment; in my home area that would be water, food, very warm clothes, blankets, a spade, a torch and
    considerably more petrol than you think you need.

  • Re:Back in the day (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rockoon (1252108) on Monday December 10, 2012 @07:50AM (#42240851)
    Its exactly this.

    The Apple apologists are suggesting that you shouldn't trust a map application, but should somehow magically trust other map sources.

    The flaw in this thinking is that if a popular mapping company was selling paper maps at local gas stations that sent you in the wrong direction into the middle of nowhere, then we would also expect a government office to come forth and announce the serious risks associated with trusting that particular paper map.

    On top of this, the iPhone maps are now different than the one they used to provide.. the old one was of much better quality. So a person may have come to trust the maps built into their iPhone because they were of good quality, but now suddenly they arent of good quality even though its the same damn iPhone. That "upgrade" was actually a full-blown downgrade.

    So yes, we expect the government to announce the risks associated with trusting Apple's maps, because not only are they no longer good maps, Apple after the fact went and edited everyones existing maps to be of much worse quality.
  • Re:Apple bashing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gutnor (872759) on Monday December 10, 2012 @08:23AM (#42240995)

    What is amazing, is that people will follow the turn by turn indication of a GPS unit in priority of any road indication or even indication given by a local.

    I had to argue with a friend to take a direct road to the highway, he wouldn't. He didn't even follow my car, or even the big green sign that indicate the highway: at some point he decided to turn in the direction the GPS told him to. What's wrong people: I was doing that road several time a day every day and my wife has been living there for more than 30 years. What are the fucking chances that the GPS knows better ?

    GPS have transformed people into lemmings.

  • by Nerdfest (867930) on Monday December 10, 2012 @08:52AM (#42241107)

    If Jobs was still at the helm it would be your fault, not Apples. It's a bit of a stretch, but he might have been able to pull it off.

  • Re:Apple bashing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wvmarle (1070040) on Monday December 10, 2012 @08:54AM (#42241121)

    That is a simple and extremely short-sighted statement.

    To check a route, you use a map. Why would any map be more reliable than another? Because one is printed, and the other not? I for one have learned to trust on-line maps as much as printed maps. Google Maps, OSM, and many other maps are simply as reliable as printed maps - often even more so as they tend to get updated. To get an update on your paper map you have to actually go and get a new one, while the online map is always at the latest. There is no obvious reason why Apple's maps would not be as reliable as the rest that's out there already.

    So you look at your map, look at your route, see it follows motorways where available and major secondary roads in other places - and off you go.

    The problem is now that Apple's maps are mostly OK but sometimes simply totally wrong. They put this town 70 km away from the actual location. They obviously also have roads mapped that lead to and from this town, presumably existing roads, so people follow them, as they see on their map that the road will lead them to the town. The town is mapped there, after all, and not knowing any better - which is totally reasonable - people trust their maps.

    So the GPS takes you to that location. Where you expect the town to be, only to find out that you're ending up somewhere totally different. And the only way to find that out, is if you carefully compare two maps. And, as maps are generally considered reliable, no-one will do that.

    For at least a decade if not more, millions of drivers every day rely on their GPS navigation systems. I've done this too, and mostly it works great. It's guided me straight to people's front doors - without me having to worry on driving directions, searching for direction signs etc. It is mostly an enhancement of safety, as it allowed me to concentrate on the unfamiliar roads and busy, chaotic traffic, without having to figure out where to go as well. And then after everyone is so used to working, reliable satnav, suddenly one of the major offerings messes up. No wonder that's causing really serious problems.

  • Re:Apple bashing (Score:1, Insightful)

    by hexagonc (1986422) on Monday December 10, 2012 @08:59AM (#42241145)

    "Well Apple maps just takes you through a different national park and dumps you there. 45C is also 113F. And there is no phone reception or water."

    Think of it as evolution in action.

    Indeed. Any software that does this to its users is clearly unfit and should die a horrible death.

  • Re:Apple bashing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:24AM (#42241309) Homepage Journal

    What are the fucking chances that the GPS knows better?

    In a lot of cases... the chances are pretty good. People don't typically keep detailed logs of travel times on various routes and compare them regularly to see which is the more efficient. They just find a route that seems good and stick with it, with a strong tendency to favor simple routes.

    The routing algorithms used by GPS devices and on-line services like Google Maps, however, are searching for the optimal route. Whether or not they find it depends on the accuracy of their data; they may not have good information about speed limits, much less what speeds vehicles actually use. But where they have good data available there's every reason to expect that they'll choose a route that is at least as good as that chosen by a human driver who knows the area well. And then there's the fact that they may have real-time traffic data available to them which the human driver does not.

  • Re:Apple bashing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 10, 2012 @09:35AM (#42241395)

    Amazing. It's the user problem, never Apple!

  • by Andy Prough (2730467) on Monday December 10, 2012 @10:27AM (#42241881)
    which he described as the best part of the iPhone experience at the iPhone launch event.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 10, 2012 @11:31AM (#42242501)

    Is Apple on the way down? I'm surprised the problem has not been fixed.

    I'm not. Fixing the problems exhibited by Apple Maps will be a non-trivial endeavor. It's not like they're hunting down a bug in the code. It's apparent that Apple needs to improve both the quality of the underlying data and the algorithms that process it to provide efficient, correct, safe driving directions. That both were so obviously deficient shows that Tim Cooke was right to fire Scott Forstall over the debacle. The whole app clearly wasn't ready for beta status, much less to be released to the public.

    This will not be fixed quickly.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 10, 2012 @11:34AM (#42242547)

    Apple is dying.

    Yeah. They just made, you know, more profit last year than Dell, Microsoft, and Google combined. And $100+ billion in the bank. How will they ever survive?

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