Australia Issues Google Maps Warning
December 12, 2012

Australia Warns Users Against Using Google Maps, Too

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

Apple´s new Maps application quickly made meme status within hours of its initial availability. Apple´s release of Maps was one of the worst in company history: National landmarks were either missing or in the wrong area, areas were thrown back 50 years with black and white satellite images, and bridges and roads appeared to be melted into the ground.

The 3D flyovers worked pretty well, though.

Apple has since apologized and fired a few people to make sure this kind of thing doesn't happen again, but the damage has been done and the Apple Maps joke lives on.

Today, there´s another reminder of how Google´s maps are just as susceptible to criticism as Apple´s. The Victorian Police (the same police department that issued the warning about Apple Maps) has raised safety concerns once more, this time about Google´s maps. According to Sergeant Nick Buenen, Google´s maps have been sending traffic down a one-way stretch of road not specifically built for heavy traffic. Buenen also said VicRoads (Victoria´s state road and traffic authority) has denied responsibility and Google has yet to respond to these claims. "My issue is it's a significant safety issue for tourists [and] locals, who are getting the wrong information from their GPSs," said Buenen, speaking to ABC News.

"We're trying to do something about it, but if a 22-seater bus rolls off Wild Dog Road today, [there wouldn't be] the multi-agency response to this issue that I would like."

In and of themselves, faulty maps aren´t harmful. When people use them to travel to new places or depend on them to find their way home, faulty maps are then potentially dangerous, particularly if a person isn´t equipped to operate outside of these maps.

Earlier this week, the worst happened: The Victorian Police department issued a warning, calling Apple´s Maps out by name, saying this app could lead travelers astray and take them into the intensely hot and dry desert. Apple quickly responded and fixed the issue.

There was one tiny fact that was lost under the din of people complaining about how bad Apple´s Maps were a few months ago: Google´s Maps aren´t that much better.

Up until iOS 6, Apple had always relied on Google´s mapping data to power their Maps app. This year, Apple decided to use their own data (as well as data from TomTom and Waze) and kick Google out of the Apple house. This provided all the ammo people needed to fire shots at Apple when Maps fell flat on its face. Had the two coexisted before, the entire situation would have likely taken a different turn.

With all the experience they have under their belt, Google´s maps were better than Apple´s. However, it´s likely users were more familiar with Google´s service, rather than simply prefer their maps. Google has had their problems with maps before, from sending people to the wrong address to telling a woman to walk along a busy highway to get to her destination. During the Apple Maps Hate-Fest, one user posted a picture of the Washington Monument as displayed on Apple´s Maps. The location pin was just shy of the monument, placed just outside of the green as opposed to directly on top.

The caption read: “Close.”

This person also conveniently left out the fact Google´s maps dropped the location pin in the same area, just shy of the actual monument.