iPhone 5 (white, three-up, Maps)

Last December, Police in Victoria, Australia issued a warning regarding Apple’s new Maps app in iOS 6, after several travelers became lost and stranded in a National Park due to poor directions. The advisory added insult to injury after Apple had taken months of criticism over the service.

Well, they’re back at it today. Officials in Victoria, Australia are again warning users of Maps’ inaccuracies, claiming that problems with the software are making it difficult to determine where fires are located in the city’s Country Fire Authority bushfire information app ‘FireReady…’

The Sydney Morning Herald (via AppleInsider) reports:

“The Country Fire Authority in Victoria has blamed Apple for reportedly dangerous deficiencies in the maps on its FireReady bushfire information app for iPhone and iPad.

The FireReady app was forced to use Apple Maps, CFA said, but the maps were inaccurate and “Macedon and a number of other Victorian towns are located incorrectly”.

“This makes it very difficult to quickly determine the exact location of fires once alarm calls are being received. This creates potentially dangerous situations and delays to activate phone trees if required.”

The problem is apparently so severe, that Victoria officials are advising FireReady app users with iOS 6 installed to defer to the CFA’s online website, which uses Google Maps, for location-specific bushfire warnings. The FireReady app has been rated two stars, and has a number of bad reviews.

The CFA has said that it has tried contacting Apple Australia “a number of times,” including on Monday, but the company “has not provided a solution.” Instead the company advised users to report inaccuracies via their Apple Maps app, and pointed to Tim Cook’s open letter from last year.

In that letter, Tim Cook apologized for Maps shortcomings, and promised to put “the weight of the company” behind fixing them. And while much of the disparagement regarding the software has died down in recent months, there’s obviously still a lot of work that needs to be done.

  • jawadahsen

    Apple must find a way to allow users to replace the stock apps with third party apps at OS level.

  • I’m still waiting for HD Satalite images in Canada

  • SimonReidy

    I feel sorry for Aussie app developers who have been forced to use Apple’s maps, when their applications used to function perfectly on iOS5 (when Google Maps was default).I know it must seem like fuss over nothing to some Americans with accurate Apple maps, but Australia’s maps are an absolute joke compared to Google’s, and regular iPhone users who have ugraded to iOS6, cant be expected to know about this when they look at something as important as an emergency fire warning app.

    It’s great you can download Google Maps as a separate app now, and jailbreaking can at least allow you to direct maps links to the Google maps app, however there’s no way to replace the terribly inaccurate embedded Apple maps from within a 3rd party application. I just hope more developers start using Google’s API’s and leave Apple’s alone.

    As much as I love iOS I get very jealous of Android’s embedded support for choice of default apps (with its excellent app “intent” system). I really hope Apple eventually give in and allow users more control over app choice. It’s not like they don’t let you choose default apps on OSX so why not at least allow choice of email, browser and maps clients on iOS?

    • jawadahsen

      yes that was the earlier point i was making, there should be flexibility for apps to choose how to complete a further action instead of being forced to use apple maps or iOS default email client

    • Kurt

      Responding to your last line. Unfortunately, iOS is designed for the grandmother in mind. So, more options creates confusion for grandmothers. So, we should just accept we have an OS that is good, but not great.

    • Alex

      It has been made clear that those map discrepancies were coming directly from the Australian government who provided them with that map data. It was also pointed out that those same discrepancies also existed in other map services as well.

      • SimonReidy

        Rubbish. I live in Australia and no other maps apps or dedicated GPS devices I’v used are even close to being as bad as Apple Maps. My capital city is like a blank slate and half the shoreline is incorrect with parts of the city underwater!

        There might be the ocassional errors in Google Maps, but comparing it to Apple Maps is like night and day

  • So now it’s Apple’s job to update forest fires in the maps app? Wow.

    • Tr1pTr0p

      RTFA “The FireReady app was forced to use Apple Maps, CFA said, but the maps were inaccurate and “Macedon and a number of other Victorian towns are located incorrectly”

      • “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.”

      • Tr1pTr0p

        And that proves what exactly? Google’s Maps have errors too, so it doesn’t matter? Shouldn’t we be allowed to use software with less errors, bugs and flaws? This app worked a lot better with Google’s Maps, and the ratings prove it.

        I don’t know any details about those cases or the sources (Who are you quoting?), but OK… So, how is that different? Google, as well as Apple should be held responsible if their product(s) put someone’s life at risk. I don’t there should even be a debate here.

      • Many things in this world put peoples lives at risks, Im just tired of the media exploding when Apple makes a mistake. Can we all remember that Apple maps came out In September for the public, Gmaps has been out for years give Apple a chance they already have improved vastly since day 1

      • Tr1pTr0p

        This is what you get when people have high expectations and when a company advertises their products as absolute best. If you want to be put on a pedestal, then don’t act all surprised when people complain about your subpar product.

      • Kurt


  • Apple maps is also disapointing in the UK, even London and Birmingham dont have any over head 3d maps. and the standard satalite maps are such poor quality

  • Ignacio Irigoyen

    Sorry, but last time was it not a problem with the information provided by Australian authorities regarding location data that couse the issue?

  • disqus_jtSbDV7JLW

    This is Apple fault …pure and simple, the maps app is useless. There is no point defending Apple when they have admitted the maps shortcomings.

    • Tr1pTr0p

      Beware of people who will now start pointing out flaws in Google’s Maps, as that somehow helps their case.

      • Ignacio Irigoyen

        Hardly, but in perspective it tell us, that everybody make mistakes, the only thing left is to own them and fix them (regardless of how you are).

      • Kurt

        Google Maps is excellent…Apple’s is crap. But we can hope it will improve and people won’t die from using it.

  • Guest

    I just updated to iOS 6.1 and I never thought it would be this bad…
    Where I live, according to apple maps, there are no hospitals not airports…
    Living on an island, that means I’m isolated from the world! ;D
    And I do live in Europe.

  • tim

    I live in Melbourne, Victoria, just 25km from the cbd, and apple maps puts me in a town which is a 30 minute drive away. it has my street and number correct, but the suburb is off by 30+ kilometres

  • NK1

    Why doesn’t Apple hire hundreds of new worker just for working on maps app??? Don’t they have money for new staff?

  • I like the “lack of bias” in this article, that’s what I’m claiming