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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:Apple bashing (Score:5, Informative)

      by kactusotp (2709311) on Monday December 10, 2012 @06:09AM (#42240429)
      You obviously haven't driven in Australia much.. Google maps [google.com] See how you are driving through national parks and farmland before getting back to an urban area? 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. And people have already been stuck for 24 hours [guardian.co.uk]
      • by itsdapead (734413) on Monday December 10, 2012 @06:40AM (#42240563)

        You obviously haven't driven in Australia much.. Google maps [google.com] See how you are driving through national parks and farmland before getting back to an urban area? 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.

        Personally I haven't driven in Australia at all - I've only been there once. However, even as an ignorant Pom I'd assume that, when venturing outside of a city, its the sort of place where you take carrying water and emergency gear, keeping your car maintained, carrying reputable maps and planning your journey carefully rather seriously.

        Methinks someone who takes the attitude "Its 1000 miles to Wongamonga, we've got half a tank of gas, half a packet of cigarettes, it's dark, we're wearing sunglasses and we've got GPS - hit it!" is an accident waiting to happen.

        • by mister2au (1707664) on Monday December 10, 2012 @06:43AM (#42240579)

          Methinks someone who takes the attitude "Its 1000 miles to Wongamonga, we've got half a tank of gas, half a packet of cigarettes, it's dark, we're wearing sunglasses and we've got GPS - hit it!" is an accident waiting to happen.

          You clearly haven't driven in Australia ... that would be 1,600 kilometres, you wouldn't leave with only half a pack of cigarettes and where's the booze?

          • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 10, 2012 @07:04AM (#42240671)

            Don't worry, Bazza's place is on the way to Wongamonga so we can pick up some booze there.

          • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Monday December 10, 2012 @11:30AM (#42242483)

            Methinks someone who takes the attitude "Its 1000 miles to Wongamonga, we've got half a tank of gas, half a packet of cigarettes, it's dark, we're wearing sunglasses and we've got GPS - hit it!" is an accident waiting to happen.

            You clearly haven't driven in Australia ... that would be 1,600 kilometres, you wouldn't leave with only half a pack of cigarettes and where's the booze?

            Maybe if you're really lucky, Wongamonga's got smokes, alcohol and the world's last Blockbuster Video store where you can rent "The Blues Brothers" after enjoying a relaxing evening of Country and Western music.

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

          by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@NospAm.hotmail.com> on Monday December 10, 2012 @07:02AM (#42240661) Journal

          Personally I haven't driven in Australia at all - I've only been there once. However, even as an ignorant Pom I'd assume that, when venturing outside of a city, its the sort of place where you take carrying water and emergency gear, keeping your car maintained, carrying reputable maps and planning your journey carefully rather seriously.

          I live in Australia, and have lived and worked in the inland Pilbara and Kimberley regions, which are genuinely isolated. Where I'd certainly take precautions,including establishing sched calls and packing an EPIRB if I was going really remote. I'd also take a GPS I trusted.

          If I was driving town-to-town in country Victoria, not so much. Anywhere in Australia can be dangerous if you get stranded, because it's hot and dry. But with modern cars, regular traffic and mobile connections in most areas, you can pretty much hop in the car and go.

          That's if your GPS doesn't guide you away from all of those modern safety advantages. Which the iPhone does. Which is why the Mildura police are saying "don't use iPhone maps." Which is why they're not issuing warnings an\bout GPSs in general, just the Apple product.

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

            by dohnut (189348) on Monday December 10, 2012 @01:12PM (#42243527)

            Just for clarification:

            EPIRBs are generally used for maritime incidents. They float, can be activated manually but automatically activate when they enter the water.
            PLBs are Personal Locator Beacons. Similar to an EPIRB except they are usually smaller, less expensive, and most do not float.
            ELTs are used for aircraft related incidents.

            They all perform the same function which is to alert rescuers to the location of the beacon. For terrestrial use it is generally recommended (required?) that you use a PLB.

            The system is expensive to maintain since (unless you are abusing the system) the search and rescue usually comes at no cost to the beacon owner. Because of this, you should really only use these devices in situations that may involve the loss of life or limb. Running out of gas on a remote Australian road is not necessarily an emergency. There may be help nearby or other vehicles that may come along within a relatively short time frame. The beacon should only be used if you think that there is a good chance you will end up dead or permanently disabled as a result of your situation.

            Of course, one would hope that if you have the presence of mind to carry a locator beacon that you would also make sure to fill up your gas tank before a long trip into an unfamiliar, remote area.

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

          by kactusotp (2709311) on Monday December 10, 2012 @07:34AM (#42240793)
          I live in Perth (the capital of Western Australia not the UK one) I'm 20 minutes drive from the city centre, 15 minutes drive to wonderful beaches, and 10 minutes drives in several directions to bushland remote enough that if I had a heart attack while walking they would never find the body. Australia is a big empty place, your biggest dangers (apart from hitting a roo, or dozing off and driving into oncoming road trains (single lane 110kmph YAY)) is not making it to the next petrol station. Its ok in urban areas, but as soon as you leave metro... better make sure you know your fuel efficiency. But if you do stray off a main road, even by accident, its not like there is any space to turn around. Up in shark bay we pulled off onto a beach carpark and went down a sudden incline over the shells. No way to turn back and the only way was forward and hope the loop put you back somewhere else. Long story short sedan started to bottom out so we lost our nerve and tried to turn around. Big mistake, soon as we left the compressed trail we sank to the chassis at all 4 wheels. No reception, had hike through the bush back to the main road to hail a tourist bus to get the townsite to send out a truck to pull us out.
        • I think it's when foreigners arrive they end up in trouble thinking it's just like continental Europe or the U.S.

          "Just rent a car, fill up the tank, and load up on booze and cigs and I'm fine."

          Works fine when there's a reasonable population density along the route. But when the map is wrong (and that's basically the case here), you're not just SOL. You're likely dead.

          Most people trust maps. That's the problem here.

        • by mjwx (966435)

          You obviously haven't driven in Australia much.. Google maps [google.com] See how you are driving through national parks and farmland before getting back to an urban area? 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.

          Personally I haven't driven in Australia at all - I've only been there once. However, even as an ignorant Pom I'd assume that, when venturing outside of a city, its the sort of place where you take carrying water and emergency gear, keeping your car maintained, carrying reputable maps and planning your journey carefully rather seriously.

          Methinks someone who takes the attitude "Its 1000 miles to Wongamonga, we've got half a tank of gas, half a packet of cigarettes, it's dark, we're wearing sunglasses and we've got GPS - hit it!" is an accident waiting to happen.

          That's good but you forgot the number 1 thing.

          Tell someone where you're bloody well going.

          Australia is big, I mean really big. You may think it's a long way to Surrey but that's peanuts compared to Australia. We have 23 million people, over 90% of them live on the coast. If you get stuck somewhere remote it can easily take rescuers weeks to find you so a little bit of emergency water and food will not last that long. Even Bear Grills will find it hard to survive in outback Australia. If you tell someo

      • If you live in an out-of-way or dangerous place then you make provisions for it. You bring along water and food to last more than a day, you bring weapons and other protective gear, and you don't rely on just one mapping application.

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

          by AHuxley (892839) on Monday December 10, 2012 @07:15AM (#42240707) Homepage Journal
          Re weapons If your a farmer or aiming for a sporting event, you may apply for a permit. At best you will get some low ammo count semi-automatic unit.
          As for the dangers of Australia - roads can be long and once committed past the 1/2 tank point your lost. Its not a road network i.e. no 'farms', no park rangers, no gas stations, no cafes near UFO hot spots, trendy communities of cabins just over the hill. Just an endless road and a slow death if you make a mistake. Telco networks are good in the city, in rural towns and some roads. Beyond that its sat phone or beacon.
          As for why Australia is so hard for Apple to 'buy' a gps map system for is just strange.
        • Re:Apple bashing (Score:4, Informative)

          by mabhatter654 (561290) on Monday December 10, 2012 @08:46AM (#42241089)

          Unfortunately, these drives would be like LA to Vegas, or San Francisco to Seattle or Portland in the US. People are so comfortable with hopping on the highway and going, they forget that even 30 years ago the main routes were considered dangerous. In Washington, Oregon, California it is surrounded by impassable Mountians that still get fatal sudden snowfall on pretty marked highways. You still get news somebody died because they got turned around in a storm and got lost.

          • I wonder just how many non-Australians realize just how BIG Australia is.. The distance between Perth, on the west coast and Sydney on the east coast is very close to the distance between San Francisco and New York City. The US has ~300 Million people in that sized area, and when I was in Sydney, Australia for R&R in 1971, the population of Australia was something like 13 Million, more like the population of California, with 95% of that population in a narrow band on the west/east and southern coasts. D

      • There seems to be a theme developing in the latter posts, to the effect, "If you live in a potentially dangerous area, you should double check your routing and your supplies."

        The theme is lacking. I would say, "No matter where you are, you're a fool to trust a computer to get you anywhere."

        ALWAYS have an alternative plan. Always know for sure where you're going. Never trust either the hardware or the software. If you've not driven the route before, first talk to people who have, then look at a dead tree

        • 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.

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

            by Architect_sasyr (938685) on Monday December 10, 2012 @08:36AM (#42241045)
            I regularly make the run along the B400 to see the family (regularly - about once every month). I always plug in the GPS, but it's more for watching my speed and that I always turn it on than anything else. Recently decided to let it have its head, figured I could always turn around if necessary - shaved a full half hour off the otherwise 12 hour trip (you know, when there is a blue and white behind you :P) because it took me off the highway.

            I'm not saying your friend was correct - generally I will stick to the highway anyway, but this crap about lots of traffic is pretty rubbish - at 3 in the morning even the B12 is pretty dead, despite it being a main run for trucks doing the Sydney/Albury to Adelaide trip, you could be bleeding out for hours before someone sees you. It's not quite the M31, despite being remote that one you'd be hard pressed to bury a body before someone drove past, but major roads in Australia can still be pretty "cut off" from it all.

            All that said, if you're not at least checking a gregories or your google maps before you go, you're a fucking moron to do anything big out here with no prep and nothing but your phone.
            • That is absolutely a good idea, if you are familiar with the area/route. That is, if you regularly make a trip to someplace so that you know the destination, it may be a good idea to follow your GPS (assuming it has up to date maps) every now and again to see if something has changed so that the route you use by default is no longer the best way to your destination. There are multiple reasons why an alternate route may have become better than your established default (changed traffic patterns and/or new roa
          • 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: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:Apple bashing (Score:5, Informative)

        by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki@NOsPam.gmail.com> on Monday December 10, 2012 @07:41AM (#42240815) Homepage

        You obviously haven't driven in Australia much..

        Not really different for Canada, every year we get hundreds of people who are sent off into logging roads, or CO-Access roads. Basically no maintenance at all, and not traveled by anything but snowmobiles in the winter. Where there is no phone service, no water except from the snow, and no food for a few hundred KM or more. And on some days it'll hit a frosty -30C. This has happened all over the place here in Canada, and the police have put out numerous warnings to not trust your GPS at all. While Australia has 45C temperatures, you can survive that for a few days, if you're lucky. Here when it hits -30C you might have 5-6 hours if you're not dressed for it. Especially if the snowmobile patrols are already out hunting for someone else.

        Then again this has happened quite a bit in the US too. Where people have been dumped in the middle of death valley as a "shortcut" and only by pure luck they didn't die.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          > Not really different for Canada, every year we get hundreds of people who are sent off into logging roads, or CO-Access roads. Basically no maintenance at all, and not traveled by anything but snowmobiles in the winter. Where there is no phone service, no water except from the snow, and no food for a few hundred KM or more. And on some days it'll hit a frosty -30C. This has happened all over the place here in Canada, and the police have put out numerous warnings to not trust your GPS at all. While Aust

      • by nospam007 (722110) * on Monday December 10, 2012 @08:26AM (#42241001)

        "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.

      • You obviously haven't driven in Australia much.. Google maps See how you are driving through national parks and farmland before getting back to an urban area? 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. And people have already been stuck for 24 hours

        With all due respect for the plight of these people and being fully aware of the fact that Apple Maps is crap, I would never go into the outback anyplace relying only on a web based navigation aid and I don't care whose mapping app it is and that includes Google. I'm pretty sure I could find some tiny village in the Chaco Boreal, the jungles of Thailand or the Gobi Desert where Google Maps would get me lost and that's assuming you even get coverage there. I don't care if your destination is the Australian o

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          You've completely missed the point.

          The people are not trying to get to 'places which are seldom traveled by others'. They are not 'trying' to go to the outback. They are trying to get to a town called Mildura. Apple Maps is misinterpreting this as the local government area of Mildura by essentially finding the midpoint of a very large region and deciding that's the location they want, which is nowhere near the location of the town of Midura.

          Read that again. They are trying to get to a town. It is NOT seldom

      • You obviously haven't driven in Australia much.. Google maps [google.com]

        See how you are driving through national parks and farmland before getting back to an urban area?

        I'm from Victoria and know the area around Mildura and Murray Sunset fairly well, and there's no way you could mistake the Sturt Hwy for anything other than a major road. On top of that, there's huge green signs along the road telling you the way to Mildura for miles around. Anyone who deviates from the one major sealed road in the area and instead heads down one of the dirt tracks that leads into Murray Sunset is not thinking very straight.

    • by NSash (711724)

      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.

      The map shows the city in the wrong location. Should they have consulted two maps to verify the coordinates of their destination, or is there other in-context information that should have made it obvious the route was wrong?

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

        by Farmer Tim (530755) <roundfile@mind[ ]s.com ['les' in gap]> 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.

        • You sound pretty smart. Next question - were you prepared for something unexpected? I mean - you had some food and drink in the vehicle with you? Maybe a spare can of fuel? Any necessary medications? Possibly some tools, a spare tire, stuff like that? You were prepared to meet the most likely emergency conditions that happen while traveling?

          If you answer "yes" to all of those, then you get a salute from me!

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

        by Cimexus (1355033) on Monday December 10, 2012 @07:43AM (#42240827)

        Good question. They were travelling to a reasonably sized town, in a regional area. The big clue should have been when they left a sealed road - despite the remoteness of most of Australia, a place of Mildura's size (30k+) will be accessible by proper state highways, which are virtually all sealed (a few exceptions, e.g. the Silver City Highway north of Broken Hill ... but that's far more remote than the area we are talking about in TFA). Most people should have got the clue at that point that something was wrong. Secondly, even in very remote areas, things are usually signposted well.

        The second clue would have been when they stopped seeing any other traffic. They weren't going seriously "outback" here, or to a place that was remote enough to bother with carrying provisions etc. They were travelling to a town in the country, but not a super-remote area. I mean, for one thing, Mildura is on the Sturt Highway which is THE major route between Sydney and Adelaide - it's not isolated by any means. They would have every expectation that a GPS would guide them there correctly. And an ACTUAL GPS (i.e. Garmin, Tom Tom etc.) would have, no issues at all. So would Google Maps, for that matter. But really if you are travelling long distances - use a proper GPS that doesn't depend on network connectivity to get the mapping data (or an app on your phone that allows you to pre-cache maps, and has a good data source).

    • Well, oh wise one, what reference should they have used to check the plausibility of the route?

      • by TheLink (130905)

        Google maps? ;)

        That said: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20442487 [bbc.co.uk]

        It's[the island is] on Google Earth and other maps so we went to check and there was no island. We're really puzzled. It's quite bizarre.

        (emphasis mine).

        • by ultranova (717540)

          Google maps? ;)

          Well... yes. Use Google maps, then switch to the satellite view to see if there's actually anything there. Seems like a cheap life insurance if you insist on driving to unknown locations in the Death Continent. Or any hostile environment, for that matter.

      • Well, oh wise one, what reference should they have used to check the plausibility of the route?

        Use this [wisc.edu] handy guide to check the software version that your iDevice is running. If the 'version' value is 6.x, you know you have a plausibility problem. Simple!

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      As much as I enjoy a good old apple bashing,

      A fritterware [catb.org] that just (as in "barely") works - and it seems not to be the first either [catb.org].

      anyone who trust their gps without checking the plausibility of the route is an utter fool

      I know it is possible, I was there about 4 years ago, with a proper GPS. The roads (when you can call them as such) are "washboard" - something very much like this [usenature.com].

    • Totally agree. Plus, why rely on a mapping service that has to download maps in real time, i.e. requires a working data connection?
      Lemme think, where are you most likely to lose your dat aconnection? Maybe in the middle of a nowhere, i.e. somewhere where you are really going to need it!

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

      by tambo (310170) on Monday December 10, 2012 @08:40AM (#42241063)
      Yeah, this.

      Mid-2011, I was driving through the Rocky Mountains in Colorado along a road that would around the outside of a canyon. My GPS told me to take a right turn onto "Route 82d." You know what was off to my right? Nothing. A steep degrade, through a bunch of trees, and ending up in the canyon maybe 50 feet down.

      I was so shocked by it that I turned around, drove the route again, and captured it with my phone: link [youtube.com]

      Bottom line: Don't blindly trust your GPS.

    • 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.

      Too right mate! They should have double checked against google maps.

    • 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 10, 2012 @05:59AM (#42240389)

    iLost? *ducks*

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 10, 2012 @06:01AM (#42240399)

    Apple would be leading us out of the wilderness, not into it!

  • by mister2au (1707664) on Monday December 10, 2012 @06:22AM (#42240489)

    Best comparison is trying to get to Barstow and being directed off into the Mojave Desert ...

    We are talking about a town/city of 30,000 people that 5-6hr from a major city and fairly obvious rural highways from place to place ... then being directed off into a national park of 1.5 million acres (approaching something like Yellowstone NP)

    Yes - its rural and could get tourists into trouble but is still real Darwin Award stuff !

    • Yes - its rural and could get tourists into trouble but is still real Darwin Award stuff !

      Darwin is in the Northern Territory. This story is from Victoria.

  • by caitsith01 (606117) on Monday December 10, 2012 @06:26AM (#42240501) Journal

    Before there is too much stupidity, if you've never been to Australia, please realise:

    1. It's huge. Really huge. I live in one out of two of the closer-together cities in Australia, and they're about 800kms apart. In the other direction, the next major city is 2,500kms away.

    2. It's mostly empty (in terms of civilization). Think of driving through rural Utah or Arizona, which are quite similar to the Australian bush.

    3. It's mostly flat and full of similar looking landscape.

    4. National parks and non-national park areas often look quite similar.

    5. There's usually only one or two ways to get around in the country.

    6. Mildura is a small town in the middle of bloody nowhere. If I was driving there from here I'd expect to pass through a handful of tiny settlements on the way.

    So if you are relying on your GPS to get you somewhere outside a major city, it's actually quite plausible and reasonable that you might not have much idea that you're being led off in the wrong direction until you (don't) get there.

    It's also quite plausible that you can die - it has happened before. People get lost, they run out of fuel, they don't have water, the temperature easily gets up into the 40-50C range and - dead.

    • by paskie (539112)

      Ok, I agree that it is plausible you can get lost with Apple Maps without being stupid at all. But isn't it silly to drive these distances through the wilderness without having a sixpack of 1.5L water bottles and a canister with extra fuel in the trunk? (Or at least one of these.)

      • by ColaMan (37550) on Monday December 10, 2012 @07:02AM (#42240657) Homepage Journal

        . But isn't it silly to drive these distances through the wilderness

        You're not quite getting it. It's not 'wilderness' as such, it's 'ordinary' distances in 'ordinary' rural Australia. 500km gets me half the way across Queensland and I've done double that (driving 900km from Mt Isa to Townsville) on a regular basis without any concern.

        Concerns are limited because:
        - You usually go about 100-150 kilometers before the next fuel stop.
        - Roads have a reasonable amount of traffic (30-100 vehicles an hour).
        - Towns are normally where the GPS tells you they are.

        And that's the problem, because if the map you've got is a little vague and that town isn't there, then the rough "I can make it there with 1/4 tank to spare" calculation doesn't get you back that 100km to the previous town where you should have filled up and it doesn't get you to the next town either.

    • by solferino (100959) <`hazchem' `at' `gmail.com'> on Monday December 10, 2012 @07:39AM (#42240809) Homepage

      It's also quite plausible that you can die - it has happened before. People get lost, they run out of fuel, they don't have water, the temperature easily gets up into the 40-50C range and - dead.

      This happened only last month [abc.net.au] when two guys working on a station got their 4WD bogged 10 miles from the homestead and tried to walk back under the hot sun. One of them died from heat and dehydration.

    • I just check, and apparently Darwin is closer to Singapore than it is to it's own capital (3350 km vs 3969 km). That's right, a city two *countries* away is closer.

      Damn, Australia is big. :D

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwin,_Northern_Territory [wikipedia.org]

      • by Cimexus (1355033) on Monday December 10, 2012 @08:19AM (#42240969)

        Australia is ~99% the area of the lower 48 of the US - i.e. essentially the same size. Very convenient comparison when Americans ask you how big Australia is. Often they seem surprised for some reason though. I suspect it might have something to do with the way Mercator projection exaggerates the areas of places as you get further poleward (the US is significantly further north than Australia is south).

        The US is 'wider' east to west, but Australia is quite a bit 'taller', north to south (especially if you include Tasmania).

        • Australia is quite a bit 'taller', north to south (especially if you include Tasmania).

          I don't think you can drive to Tasmania. But if the Apple Maps App told people they could, they'd probably go for it.

  • by johnjones (14274) on Monday December 10, 2012 @06:34AM (#42240545) Homepage Journal

    EVERY I mean every year in Australia some tourists die because they did not pack any water and their 4x4 + GPS fails...

    what happens is that the 4x4 is driven by the man/women that has no clue of driving in the outback... no nothing compares to the the great outback...

    combined with

    a blind faith in GPS...

    leathal combination

    what does not help here is TOM TOM

    honestly speaking as someone living in australia the map makers from the netherlands who do a fantastic job in most other places... are frankly useless in australia

    apple uses tomtom for routes combined with the fact apple cant get the POI in Australia COMPLETELY WRONG I mean there was the case of the apple store in sydney being in the wrong place (many streets away) and cairns being in the wrong place (this is a MAJOR town) I mean many 100 miles/kilometres wrong

    honestly they need to get this sorted... just pay for the data apple wake up crowd sourcing is a fact check not the only source

    regards

    John Jones

  • I'm an Android user because I saw how costly owning Apple products would be. But if I were an Apple owner, paying a premium to be part of that elite clique, I'd be expecting the best of the best that's available. Not some second-rate beta maps app, that is not what I'm paying for (if I were an Apple user). IIWAAU, I'd be pissed.
  • by Cimexus (1355033) on Monday December 10, 2012 @07:17AM (#42240717)

    The root cause of this, and many of the other errors in city location observed throughout Australia, is actually quite simple and I don't know why Apple haven't fixed it yet. It was a bit of a facepalm moment when I realised what was actually going on with the Australian maps on iOS6.

    Basically there are two problems:

    1. Apple Maps is marking the centre of local government areas (analogous to a county, for American readers) as a point location, rather than a name for a large area of land (i.e. it's treating them as locations you can navigate to); and

    2. In the case that a search query matches both a local government area name, AND a town name ... it preferences the local government area (which as mentioned, is being mapped as an exact point roughly in the middle of the area, generally in the middle of nowhere)

    For example, follow the Hume Highway south from Sydney a little way and you will see a point marked as Wingecaribee, east of the highway, roughly in the vicinity of where the town of Moss Vale is (though, as noted, the GUI chooses to display Wingecaribee prominently, but doesn't mark Moss Vale or any other towns at all, unless you zoom in really close). The point marked as Wingecaribee is just a random spot in rugged forested terrain. Nothing's actually there. This is simply the centre of the Wingecaribee Shire. But there is no actual town called Wingecaribee so apart from looking weird, this doesn't hurt anything.

    BUT ... keep following the highway south and you will soon come to the next shire, Goulburn Shire. Again, the centre of this local government area is marked as a point, called "Goulburn" and again, it's not anywhere near anything. It's in the middle of some random farmer's field somewhere. BUT THIS TIME, we have a problem, because within Goulburn Shire, there is actually also a town called Goulburn. But if you search for 'Goulburn', you are directed to the centre of the Goulburn Shire, NOT the town. This is completely retarded, as noone ever searches for things by local government area name in Australia (many people don't even know the name of their LGA ... they aren't as prominently known as counties in the US), and even if they did, wouldn't want to be directed to some arbitrary point near the middle of it with no regard for whether there's anything there.

    This is what has happened in TFA too. There is a Mildura local government area. Within that, there is also a city called Mildura. But the city isn't marked; only the centre of the LGA. Which as stated, is in the middle of bloody nowhere.

    Basically whoever processed the Australian mapping data has interpreted LGA (shire, county etc.) names as locality (town, city) names. And has given them prominence in both display and search results over actual localities. Should be simple to fix, surely. The data is there - it's just being used incorrectly.

  • by alen (225700) on Monday December 10, 2012 @07:55AM (#42240863)

    When I went to a national park here in the USA a few months back I bought navigon for my iPhone

    It has offline maps and worked perfectly with no signal. It was $30 and well worth it
    Its 1.5gb if you want to download every us state

    Not as flashy as apple or google maps but an awesome program for what it does

  • great idea (Score:5, Funny)

    by slashmydots (2189826) on Monday December 10, 2012 @10:09AM (#42241685)
    Oh yeah, Siri should just come on every 5 minutes while navigating and say "Just to let you know, I have no idea where I'm going."
  • by McGregorMortis (536146) on Monday December 10, 2012 @10:40AM (#42242011)

    Some tragic stories here from Death Valley, one of the most hostile places on Earth:

    http://www.sacbee.com/2011/01/30/3362727/death-by-gps-in-desert.html [sacbee.com]

"Card readers? We don't need no stinking card readers." -- Peter da Silva (at the National Academy of Sciencies, 1965, in a particularly vivid fantasy)

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