September 26, 2013
Apple Maps Guides Alaskan Drivers Onto Airport Runway
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Representatives with the Fairbanks International Airport in Alaska say Apple’s maps are once again responsible for putting people in danger. According to a spokesperson, Apple’s Maps have twice directed travelers to drive across an active runway to get to the airport in September alone.
The entrance to the tarmac has since been blocked to avoid future confusion. Apple’s Maps have been the source of some heavy ridicule since its arrival last year in iOS 6, but this is the second report of people being placed in danger while using the location services. Last December a State Park in Australia warned tourists against using both Apple’s and Google’s mapping applications, as they were found to lead travelers straight out into the desert.
However, according to a spokesperson at the Alaskan airport, Apple Maps shouldn’t have to shoulder all the blame.
“It doesn’t actually tell you to cross, but the problem is, people see the terminal then at that point, because they are right there, and they just continue across,” explained spokesperson Angie Spear in a statement to the Washington Post.
“Obviously, it could have been a very, very, very dangerous situation had they come during a flight departure or arrival.”
According to CNet, signs at the Fairbanks International Airport are actually quite clear about where drivers should and shouldn’t be. The website says lights, signs and painted markings cover more than a mile of road pavement leading up to the tarmac warning drivers of danger. Yet two travelers in one month have driven across the runway towards the terminal, and both said they were only following their iPhone. Apple has since removed directions to the airport.
According to a story in the Washington Post, even Alaskan State Representative Les Gara (D-Anchorage) had his own run in with the faulty directions in Apple’s Maps. After visiting some new places in Fairbanks, Gara tried to use the app to find the shortest route to the airport.
“Eventually, it told me to make a right onto the small plane runway, which in fact was the shortest way to get to the big airport,” said Gara humorously. "I give the iPhone app credit for that."
Apple Maps quickly became the meme du jour last year following its release. Upon installing iOS 6 on their iPhones and iPads, many noticed the newly redesigned and refurbished Maps app put them in the wrong location, moved around identifiable landmarks, or simply cast their satellite view in shades of black and white. This rollout has since been recognized as Apple’s worst product launch ever and in the weeks proceeding the fallout, CEO Tim Cook issued a formal apology to iOS users.
This apology was suspiciously absent of one signature, that of senior vice president of iOS software Scott Forstall. Cook fired Forstall not long after and placed iTunes head Eddie Cue in his place. Though these recent incidents in Alaska involve Apple’s Maps, they are not particular to iOS 7.