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Australian police warn against using Apple Maps after travelers become stranded

Apple maps Outback australia ios 6Using Apple Maps to navigate your way across a busy city may result in the much criticized-app sending you around in circles, but at least you can ask someone for help without too much effort.

However, become lost in a semi-arid national park where there’s no water supply and where temperatures can reach up to 46C (114F) and suddenly the situation begins to look a little more serious.

But this is precisely what’s been happening in Australia, with police in Victoria becoming so concerned that they’re now warning travelers to use other forms of mapping instead of Apple Maps until the matter is resolved.

The red pin shows where Apple Maps thinks Mildura is located.

Victoria police said on Monday that in the last two months they’ve had to rescue six people lost in Murray-Sunset National Park after they tried to use Apple’s troubled map app to locate the city of Mildura. While Maps shows it to be located inside the park, it’s actually situated 43 miles (70 km) away.

‘Distressed’

“Local police have been called to assist distressed motorists who have become stranded within the Murray-Sunset National Park after following directions on their Apple iPhone,” Victoria police reported.

They said the lack of water supply and high temperatures within the park made it “a potentially life-threatening issue,” adding that “some of the motorists located by police have been stranded for up to 24 hours without food or water and have walked long distances through dangerous terrain to get phone reception.”

Maps mess

Apple dropped Google Maps from its mobile devices in September and replaced it with its own version with the launch of iOS 6 but it wasn’t long before complaints started flooding in about mis-placed locations and a lack of detailed information. The embarrassing debacle prompted an apology from Apple boss Tim Cook and also culminated in the dismissal of iOS software chief and long-time Apple employee Scott Forstall as well as Richard Williamson, who was in charge of the Maps project.

While many iOS users have since found useful alternatives to Apple Maps while they wait for the Cupertino company to improve its ropey mapping software, Google is said to be knocking together a new version of its iOS map app with a launch expected some time soon.

Meanwhile, Victoria police have reportedly contacted Apple about Mildura in the hope of getting the city moved to its rightful place on Apple Maps thereby bringing to an end emergency calls from anxious travelers stranded in the middle of nowhere.

[Small image: abc.net.au]