Australian police: flawed Google Maps putting people’s lives at risk, too

By , Dec 12, 2012

Look, digital maps are imperfect – some more than the others. Australian police earlier in the week issued a public safety warning over a major flaw in Apple Maps which incorrectly put the town of Mildura in the middle of Australia’s Murray Sunset National Park.

It wasn’t Apple’s fault entirely as the company was working on data from The Australian Gazetteer, a company run by the Geosciences Australia agency which supplies Gazetteer with mapping data sourced from the state of Victoria itself.

And now, we learn that the police in Colac, west of Melbourne, warn of safety concerns from Google Maps. Ouch!

Yahoo News reports:

Police in Mildura have had to conduct six rescues in recent weeks, after through the Murray Sunset National Park.

Now police in Colac, west of Melbourne, say faults with Google maps are putting people’s lives at risk along the Great Ocean Road and in the southern Otways.

Google is apparently directing vehicles and tourists down Wild Dog Road.

The problem is, that’s a one-way track and not built for heavy traffic.

Sergeant Nick Buenen said:

My issue is it’s a significant safety issue for tourists [and] locals, who are getting the wrong information from their GPSs. My concern is that one day we’re going to be at the coroners court [being asked] well what did you do about it.

Google Maps has not responded and a company that manages the road has denied responsibility.

“My concern is that one day we’re going to be at the coroners court [being asked] well what did you do about it”, he points out.

After this, Samsung probably needs a new display ad in Sydney, no?

Joking aside, it’s worth mentioning that another Australian jurisdiction has issued a warning against using Apple Maps for placing the town of Mount Isa miles away of its actual location.

Of course, neither Google’s nor Apple’s product is perfect.

The search firm admittedly has the upper hand because it’s been poured significant resources into improving Maps for seven years now. Apple’s product has cooler three-dimensional features and crisper satellite imagery at certain places, but it lacks Street View and Google’s rate of accuracy.

Apple has just gotten started with its Maps product, but quickly did it become a black eye for the company, hurting its reputation and brand.

Google’s and Apple’s mapping woes aside, I think it’s frightening that people entrust smartphone apps with their lives.

Lawmakers, regulators and buyer’s advocates alike may want to take a long and hard look at the state of personal navigation because I don’t think enough people are aware of the risks.

In fact, an average person has no clue where data in their favorite mapping app is coming from and how accurate it is. A public awareness movement akin to texting while driving campaigns is much needed.

The sooner, the better.

Hopefully, we can avoid major accidents before the subject of GPS data accuracy becomes a late night topic.

As you know, heads rolled over so-called Mapgate immediately following Apple’s SVP of Internet Software & Services taking control of both Maps and Siri services in a recent management shakeup.

The company is reportedly seeking outside help from TomTom, a major mapping data provider, and could even be considering a takeover bid as it seeks to improve the flawed product.

On a somewhat related note, a research report from Telsyte claims Android smartphones slightly edged out the iPhone in Australia.

Life is fragile, indeed…

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  • charlie

    You post this after the other post? What an Apple fanboy.

    • droid4life

      Yea this is a apple blog and hes always puting out how apple is better than the competition apple fanboy

      • http://www.facebook.com/liamsagooch Liam Googolplex Merlyn

        While this blog does specialise in Apple devices. It’s in no way limited to them few devices. Use your head and have little look around, you’ll find plenty of posts relating to non-Apple devices.

      • droid4life

        Im just pointing that out

    • http://twitter.com/oneBurge Burge

      So what your saying is that this post should be on here because its google related and it also makes them look as bad as apple.. So in other words your saying that a blog site can not report on other items… Now you are trying to surpress what is put on here… It’s a blog site that has freedom on speech .. If you don’t like it don’t read it..

      • http://twitter.com/jrgibson1 Jayar

        Ignore charlie, not just does this person feel the need to hide behind an online account, but they are nothing more then a trolling little ferret with no life and has nothing better then to jerk off over writing anti-Apple posts on any thread they can.

      • http://twitter.com/jrgibson1 Jayar

        The one person who voted me down was charlie.
        Bahahahah!!

    • http://twitter.com/Kevinfest Kevin

      And you’re on this Apple related website… because?? Just wondering since the majority of the posts are indeed Apple related and probably half the people who visit here ARE Apple fanboys. Just letting you know.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

    lol google sucks and android sucks and samsung sucks them all..

    • http://www.facebook.com/liamsagooch Liam Googolplex Merlyn

      Despite being an iPhone user, I couldn’t help notice how much of a mong you just made yourself look. Google, Android or Samsung certainly don’t suck and a simple search for statistics will prove it

  • Latrese

    Australia ever stop to think that maybe it’s the data THEY’RE GIVING Apple & Google that’s the problem?

    Just saying..don’t hear about 2 different GPSs screwing in the same country all the time…

    • http://twitter.com/jrgibson1 Jayar

      How does it actually work, I’m curious about this too? Does Google and Apple and Tomtom and Navman and others source their own data, or do they buy it from a local company?

      You know a department of the Australian Government came out earlier this week and said they were partly to blame for the confusion due to the naming of the two locations being very similar and they have mixed the data up in the past.

      • http://www.facebook.com/liamsagooch Liam Googolplex Merlyn

        I could be wrong but I believe Apple bought a big time mapping company and then sourced their own data from there. Google most likely sourced their own from the start.

      • http://www.idownloadblog.com/author/dujkan Christian Zibreg

        That’s c3 Tchnology and their tech powers 3D Flyovers. Other mapping data is sourced from dozens of local providers

      • http://www.facebook.com/liamsagooch Liam Googolplex Merlyn

        Ahh right, my mistake. I was under the impression that it was sourced in-house

      • http://twitter.com/jrgibson1 Jayar

        So if the data is sourced locally, how can mistakes like Apple Maps happen? Surely someone else must be experiencing the same problem??

  • Ignacio Irigoyen

    I can hear the silance of all the people who trash iOS map and said their beautiful Googles maps was perfect in the other posts….

    Come on people, how will be the first to man up and recognized that no map is perfect not event all mighty Google Maps (that by the way has been working on this a lot longer).

  • http://twitter.com/unbeliever008 Jae. Just J.

    Just curious more than anything. It’s a one way street but doesn’t report if people are being directed the wrong way. Just not built for heavy traffic. Or are we to assume that’s inferred. You know what happens when you assume.

  • Jeremy

    Am I the only one that noticed that the Samsung advertisement in the image was referring to Navigon which has nothing to do with Google maps other than being installed on an Android device?

  • Greyhound Mom

    Except it wasn’t Apple’s fault, it was Australia’s fault! They gave Apple the wrong map file. People need to start using accurate reporting

  • http://twitter.com/Hexane_ Hexane

    >Police in Mildura
    >Title states Australian Police

    Thats like if Los Angeles police issues a warning over Google Maps and saying it was the whole fucking United Sates Police force.