Apple Maps App Sees Greatly Improved Flyover, 3-D Buildings, Still Incorrect Mapping in Many Locations

Apple Maps App

When Apple’s Maps app first launched with iOS 6, it made headlines. Not for its innovative flyover feature, or for its amazing 3-D graphics, but for its lack of accuracy. The developers at Apple spent so much time making sure that the mapping service looked awesome that they forgot to make sure it actually worked. Yesterday, The Loop reported that Apple Maps is being updated “often and significantly,” and included a list of cities that now have flyover support and 3-D building views. Unfortunately, Apple still doesn’t seem to be working on accuracy.

When Apple Maps first launched, there were immediately complaints from users who noticed glaring omissions in their local area. We’re not just talking about missing streets either. One example shows a park in Dublin called “Airfield Park” listed as an airfield, which prompted Ireland’s Minister for Justice to contact Apple out of fear that the error could misdirect lost pilots right onto a picnicking family. Today, the map has been changed. It is no longer an airfield, but there are still many areas around the world with incorrect mapping information.

Australia has had the most noticed mapping errors because some users have found themselves in the middle of nowhere when they thought they were headed to a town. Even the volunteer firefighters have complained about not being able to get to fires quickly because Apple’s mapping system has led them astray.

For the past few months, we’ve been hearing rumors that Apple is working with different mapping teams to improve its service. Foursquare was supposedly approached for social networking help. Apple was rumored to be trying to recruit Google Maps employees. The iPad maker was supposed to be opening up the API to developers so that they could create transit app interfaces.

Each one of those rumors is interesting and may turn out to be true, but none of them show that Apple is trying to fix their inaccuracy issue.

I went on a weekend trip recently and was looking for a gas station nearby. Apple Maps directed me to one that was about a half mile down the road. As I was driving to the location, I passed by a closer gas station that was not listed on the map. Thanks Apple.

Missing businesses is not the worst part of Apple’s Maps app. On The Loop’s posting, readers all chimed in with their own misguided stories. For example, one reader commented that Auckand Station in New Zealand is mapped out to be in the middle of the harbor. Another reader wrote that the Maps App is completely useless for searching for towns in Iceland. Another reader posted a comment that Minneapolis is “overfilled with geographic errors that were reported half a year ago.”

Flyover and 3-D buildings are cool, but so is getting where you are going without getting lost. Apple really needs to get it priorities straight.

About Lory: Writer of all things app related, traveler of the space-time continuum, baker of really great cookies. Follow me @appaholik