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Apple Maps Not Fully to Blame for Outback Mistakes

December 11, 2012  - By

Police in Mildura, Australia, have been warning people not to rely on Apple Maps after several people trying to find the town of 30,000 people became hopelessly lost in the bush in scorching temperatures, reported the Guardian. One man was stranded for 24 hours last week in temperatures of up to 115º Fahrenheit. Three more were rescued after following the directions given on Apple’s Maps applications. Apple Maps put Mildura in Murray-Sunset National Park, the second largest park in Australia and 70 kilometers from the town’s actual location.

The red pin shows the location Apple Maps directs drivers to. The purple pin is the location of the town.

“Police are extremely concerned as there is no water supply within the Park and temperatures can reach as high as 46 degrees (Celsius, 115º Fahrenheit), making this a potentially life threatening issue,” read a police statement. “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.”

Today, the Guarian reports that Apple wasn’t completely wrong in directing Australians who searched for “Mildura” to the midst of the Murray-Sunset National Park. The Australian government’s official gazetteer includes a location called “Mildura Rural City” at the place where Mildura was previously marked on iPhone maps.

As reported by The Register, the official gazetteer contains an entry at the precise place to which Apple was directing drivers until making a correction on Monday. The gazetteer contains 36 entries for “Mildura,” including the one for Mildura Rural City, which has “official” status and is listed as a “district” (comprising an “agricultural area, county, district, local government area, parish or region”). Mildura Rural City is an area of 22,000 square kilometers in the northwestern part of Victoria state, but Geoscience Australia located it at a specific point, in this case the middle of the park rather than the town.

Apple’s mistake was to ignore another entry for Mildura, which the gazetteer records as having the class of “POPL” (population center).

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