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Tech Wednesday, February 13th 2013 at 7:35 pm

Late to the Party: Australian Fire Authority Criticizes Apple Maps for Being Dangerous

The Australian Country Fire Authority in Victoria has come out against Apple Maps. They’re a bit behind the curve, since hating Apple Maps is a little 2012, but their complaint seems both specific and legitimate. They’re saying Apple Maps is causing dangerous errors for users of the CFA’s own FireReady app, which is meant to “to assess your own FireReady status and to remain aware of incidents around you in real-time.” It turns out their app doesn’t work too well if Apple Maps thinks your town is in the wrong place, which it so often does.

The CFA isn’t the first Australian authority to have issues with Apple Maps. In December the police in the city of Mildura, Victoria warned tourists that using Apple Maps could to get there could potentially be deadly, since Maps listed the location of Mildura 40 miles away from where it actually is. Where it said Mildura was located was actually Murray Sunset National Park, a place with no water supply and temperatures of up to 114 degrees.

Apple was quick to remedy the Mildura situation, but that only required them to fix the location of one city. The CFA says that users have told them Apple Maps is listing towns in the geographic center of their districts, rather than their true locations.

CFA FireReady app user Marcel Theunissen said, “This makes it very difficult to quickly determine the exact location of fires once alarm calls are being received. This creates potentially dangerous situations and delays to activate phone trees if required.”

Fixing all those town locations is apparently something Apple doesn’t have time for.

The CFA has contacted Apple Australia several times about the issue, but says they have not provided a solution. A spokesperson for the CFA also said they were “forced” to use Apple Maps in their app, which could refer to Apple’s developer policies.

Apple has told users to report any inaccuracies with Apple Maps, which helps no one, so the CFA has advised users to ignore Apple Maps locations for towns, and instead to look at specific streets, and the locations of specific brush fire incidents in relation to their GPS position.

(via The Sydney Morning Herald, image via PezMico)

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