Receiving faulty directions from is frustrating in the best of times, but when you’re in the Australian Outback, getting lost is a recipe for disaster. Australian police have taken the alarming step of urging motorists to “be careful when relying on the mapping system on the Apple i-phones” after several people have become stranded in the desert without food or water while trying to reach the town of Mildura.
“Tests on the mapping system by police confirm the mapping systems lists Mildura in the middle of the Murray Sunset National Park, approximately 70km away from the actual location of Mildura,” the press release notes. That’s roughly 43.5 miles, and police warn the alleged destination contains no water and can hit very high temperatures.
This is no theoretical warning, either. “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,” the warning continues.
The Mildura mishap may be the most dire Apple Maps mix-up yet, but it’s far from the first. Apple Maps replaced Google Maps in iOS 6 to instant disdain, offering faulty directions, missing roads, wonky 3D Maps, misspelled location names and more. The brouhaha has already cost iOS head Scott Forstall his job and forced Tim Cook to issue a public apology. Those words may not mean much to a wanderer stranded in the desert 43.5 miles away from Mildura, however.
Update 12/11/12: The Guardian reports that Apple has already updated the Maps app to point to Mildura’s correct location, after the potentially hazardous issue received widespread press coverage.