Apple Maps leaves users lost

2012-09-21 07:26

San Francisco - An entire city is in the ocean, a farm has been labelled as an airport, highways end in the middle of nowhere and a hospital now covers the centre of British city Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare's birthplace.

Welcome to the new world of Apple Maps that greeted iPhone and iPad users when they downloaded the highly anticipated update to the consumer giant's mobile software platform, iOS 6.

Apple's home-grown Maps feature was introduced with much fanfare in June by Apple's software chief Scott Forstall and is a direct challenge to the same service offered by ally-turned-rival Google.

But the app is already facing criticism from users globally for a number of geographical errors, missing information and because it lacks features that made Google Maps so popular, including public transit directions, comprehensive traffic data or street view pictures.

Apple Maps has replaced Google Maps, which is no longer available on iOS 6.


Many users who downloaded Apple's iOS 6 software, released on Wednesday, took to Twitter and online forums to express their frustration at the glitches.

"The people who thought the world was flat were more accurate cartographers than Apple Maps," @RayneBradley said on Twitter.

"Apple Maps also have errors in business listings. I went to call a local taxi driver and it was a taxidermist (seriously)," said @TomDavenport on Twitter.

Apple spokesperson Trudy Muller said the company launched the new service knowing it was a major initiative.

"We are continuously improving it, and as Maps is a cloud-based solution, the more people use it, the better it will get," she said. "We're also working with developers to integrate some of the amazing transit apps in the App Store into iOS Maps."

"We appreciate all of the customer feedback and are working hard to make the customer experience even better," she added.

The criticism comes as Apple's iPhone 5 hits stores around the globe. The iPhone 5 comes pre-loaded with the new iOS 6 software and Maps.


Users have created a Tumblr blog sarcastically dubbed "The Amazing iOS 6 Maps" where many have posted screen shots of the errors.

Pictures showed the Norwegian town of Leknes in the Norwegian sea, the entire city centre of Stratford-upon-Avon is labelled as a hospital.

Some of the errors have even irked politicians. Irish Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said he was surprised to discover that Airfield - a 14ha estate with working farm and café in centre of his constituency in Dundrum, on the outskirts of Dublin - has been labelled with the image of an aircraft.

He said this could be dangerous for pilots and suggested in a statement that Apple use the image of "a cow, a goat, a sheep, a flower" instead, and that an "aircraft is an entirely inappropriate flight of imagination".

Users in Asia were surprised to see two sets of the disputed islands known by Japan as the Senkaku and by China as the Diaoyu. Some joked that this was Apple's effort at providing a diplomatic solution to Japan and China, both of which claim the islands.

New York city residents were unhappy that Apple maps doesn't offer public transit directions, one of the most-used features on Google Maps in cities.

"My phone should be able to tell me which bus and train to take," said Kenan Ali, a Brooklyn, New York, resident who exclusively uses public transport in the city and has been an iPhone user since 2008. "I am hoping in the next update they will somehow add transit directions."


Apple's map service comes with three-dimensional images of cities called "Flyover" along with real-time traffic updates and also turn-by-turn navigation, the last a feature that Google has in Android devices but had not made available in Apple devices.

Apple licenses mapping data from vehicle navigation systems maker TomTom. TomTom said it stands behind the quality of its maps but didn't develop the app.

"During the process of turning mapping data into an app, every manufacturer does it their own way," said TomTom spokesperson Cem Cohen. "We are not part of that process. Apple uses exactly the same maps as our other customers."

Cohen said TomTom hasn't talked to Apple about the issues.

While in theory it will be possible for Apple to update Maps with a software fix, the problems appear to be "pretty profound and pretty fundamental", said Marcus Thielking, co-founder of Skobbler, maker of the popular GPS Navigation 2 app, built using the crowd-sourced OpenStreetMap platform.

"The question is really how much expertise do they have in-house and what they sourced from third parties," Thielking said, adding that Apple needed people with very specific skills to fix it. "It's not their core competence," he added.

Google, for its part, did not say whether it would do a Google Maps app for iOS 6. Users now have to access Google Maps through the browser.

"Our goal is to make Google Maps available to everyone who wants to use it, regardless of device, browser, or operating system," the company said in a statement.

  • my10cent - 2012-09-21 07:47

    Who developed the software - the Chinese?

      boltonbarry - 2012-09-21 08:29

      If the Chinese developed it, it would have worked

      squeegee.pilot - 2012-09-21 12:29

      The ANCYL... No, I exaggerate, but they have finally worked out how to switch on their iPhones...

      john.halfpenny.395 - 2012-09-21 13:29

      Lord of the rings quote : "Not all those who wander are lost... They just rely on IOS 6 maps"

      stirrer.stirrer - 2012-09-21 14:19

      Scippy, that means they ARE lost.

  • frikdt - 2012-09-21 08:00

    "An entire city is in the ocean" They will now probably claim that they have finally discovered the location of Atlantis, and then register a patent for it.

      frikdt - 2012-09-21 08:49

      ...and then they'll sue Google for allowing people to search for anything containing the word 'Atlantis'.

      ebrahim.floris.7 - 2012-09-21 08:49


      rurapenthe - 2012-09-21 11:21

      I believe its " iLantis "

  • Mikehib - 2012-09-21 08:09

    Apple Maps really and truly sucks!!!! From a South African perspective, the maps are so way outdated and missing info, roads, etc. Dont even bother looking for businesses, its either wrong or doesnt exist (according to Apple Maps, that is). The blame is being pointed back to TomTom who supply the 'data', however I'm running the TomTom SA GPS on my iPhone and it works brilliantly. So the problem lays squarely on Apple themselves. Friends in the US are raving about their maps, so why is the Rest of the World (aka the 51st State) not enjoying the accurate data TomTom is providing Apple Maps. Hopefully Google will take advantage of this cockup and release a standalone Maps App which will provide the we enjoyed in iOS 5.1.1.

      tuco.angeleyes - 2012-09-21 09:54

      Can one sue Apple if their map leads a tourist to a dangerous part of Alex instead of Sandton?

      stirrer.stirrer - 2012-09-21 10:05

      Tuco, don't bother. Rather get yourself a decent phone that runs Android, so you can use Google Maps.

      tuco.angeleyes - 2012-09-21 11:38

      @stirrer.stirrer don't you worry, I wouldnt touch crApple even if they paid me. I can just imagine the headline "Tourist mugged after Apple maps directs him to Alex"

      john.halfpenny.395 - 2012-09-21 13:38

      Give them time. They'll sort it out. Besides, who uses their phone for navigation purposes anyway (okay, a lot of you probably do)? Buy a Garmin

      john.halfpenny.395 - 2012-09-21 13:43

      Well Jellybean 4.1 is coming out in a few weeks to all Galaxy s3 owners. You can now navigate offline! which is quite awesome for me!

  • thethird.wors - 2012-09-21 08:11


      stirrer.stirrer - 2012-09-21 10:05

      I couldn't have said it better ;-)

  • Jacques - 2012-09-21 08:14

    All these hipsters just spent all that money for this?! Android wins...

  • Goodstuff - 2012-09-21 08:17

    Apple let's face it, you aint Google, get over it. Hehehehe.

  • boltonbarry - 2012-09-21 08:19

    So the iCrap products now become iTraps

      stirrer.stirrer - 2012-09-21 14:20


  • boltonbarry - 2012-09-21 08:31

    I wonder if Google can sue cRapple for 'software that uses sattelites to display current position on earth"

  • dericslab - 2012-09-21 08:43

    I get sooo happy when I read stories like this :-)

  • captaine.morgan.90 - 2012-09-21 08:55

    Take a bow *Tried and trusted is Google*

  • daniel.schay - 2012-09-21 08:56

    Just remind me never to fly an airline in Ireland if their pilots are using cellphones for navigation...

  • jackey.moss - 2012-09-21 09:05

    Bring back Google Maps !!! Apple Maps is Crap..Period !!!!

  • gstatu - 2012-09-21 09:07

    You see Apple, there are rules in the playground, and if you are mean to others, you lose. Google Maps is not your friend anymore. You bullied Samsung, who's friends with Android, who's friends with Google. You lose. people get angry. Life goes on. Sort it out, Apple, you charge a lot for your lemonade, so give us lemonade please!

      stirrer.stirrer - 2012-09-21 10:04

      You only got the lemons instead.

  • lucky.mohale - 2012-09-21 10:23

    LOL!! I'm glad I still have my Android based gadgets. 200 updates yet still lacking behind?? iCrap. #Zulu Version

  • TshilidziPhuravhathu - 2012-09-21 10:23

    "taxidermist"? I think its time for a career change...

  • firefishy - 2012-09-21 10:51

    Good to see OpenStreetMap (basically wikipedia of maps) getting a plug. South Africa has a growing community of OpenStreetMap contributors. Our map data for Cape Town & Pretoria are damn good. Is your street or local shops etc on OpenStreetMap? If not, add them ;-)

  • gareth.coats - 2012-09-21 10:57

    An Apple gets the human race lost?! This has happened once before if i recall, and it had consequences of BIBLICAL proportions!

  • Smoke.ZN - 2012-09-21 12:20

    haha [points at apple and laughs!!]

  • issy.mots - 2012-09-21 15:47

    if mapping and location services is what you're after i cant imagine anything better than nokia's location services on the lumia series of windows phones. Nokia drive, nokia maps, nokia citylens and nokia transit, with news coming in of a nokia location service which allows users to locate parking spots in the city as well as navigate indoors like airport terminals and such. Their take on navigation is so simple, intuitive, elegant and it works amazingly well. Ps i dont need any fanboyism directed at me. if you love google thats your call but all im saying is give the lumia a try and you will see what an awesome device it is :)

  • cunneen - 2012-10-11 04:04

    I have an app that uses my own interface and puts FAST google maps back on iOS6. It's called Egg Maps. It's been submitted to the app store, but hasn't yet been approved. It's very fast, and does directions and tracking. It uses google maps. Check out: I'll let you know when it's been released.

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