Remember when Apple Maps was giving the people of Australia such bad directions that it led them to the middle of the Outback? Well, it's happening again, in a different, possibly life threatening way — not that Apple's doing much about it. The Victorian Fire authority has accused Apple Maps of creating "dangerous situations" for Australians stuck in emergency situations because the fire department's official FireReady app relies on what it claims is inaccurate Apple Maps data to summon first responders. "Macedon and a number of other Victorian towns are located incorrectly," a Country Fire Authority (CFA) spokesman told The Sydney Morning Herald's Asher Moses. "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." For the 370,000 people who have downloaded the fire department's app, according to the CFA, that's a pretty frightening proposition, especially considering all the scary wildfires the region has experienced of late.
It's bad enough that the CFA says Apple Maps "don't show the names of cities and townships at all times" within the FireReady app, but maybe even worse is Apple's apparent non-responsiveness to the situation. The CFA has tried to contact Apple's Australian officials a "number of times," but the company has redirected the Australian authorities... back to Apple Maps support. Given Victoria's previous Maps issues, one has to question why the fire department went with Apple instead of the Google Maps app. It turns out, the CFA didn't have a choice: "The FireReady app was forced to use Apple Maps, CFA said." When apps get integrated into an iPhone, they connect up to the native Maps App. In the Yelp app, for example, the "open Maps app" widget directs to Apple Maps, even if Google or Nokia's are installed on the phone. That's just the way it works. When looking for restaurants, it's not such a big deal. When trying to warn people about fires, however, we'd go with Google.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.