TECH
12/10/2012 12:19 pm ET Updated Dec 11, 2012

Apple Maps Flaws 'Life-Threatening,' Australian Police Warn After Rescuing Stranded Drivers

Apple's new iOS 6 Maps has been called inaccurate, inefficient and "almost unusably bad" in the three months since its debut, but now it appears the application could be life-threatening.

That's according to police in Mildura, Australia, who issued the startling warning after having to rescue several people who were stranded without food or water after attempting to find the town of 30,000.

"We've had at least four documented cases," senior Sgt. Stephen Phelan told the Guardian. "The map puts [the town] at least 70 kilometres from where it should be. We have had people bogged down in sunset country."

Last week, one man was stranded for 24 hours in the wilderness of a national park more than 40 miles from his desired destination, CNET reports.

From the state of Victoria's department website:

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.

Police are extremely concerned as there is no water supply within the Park and temperatures can reach as high as 46 degrees, making this a potentially life threatening issue.

Apple spokesman Adam Howorth refused to comment on the Victorian Police Department's allegations when contacted by CNN, but he told the network that it is "working hard to fix Maps."

CNN tested other mapping systems, including Google Maps, which were able to correctly pinpoint Mildura's location.

According to the Guardian, Apple's Maps was able to find Mildura Airport but does not use it as a point of reference for the city proper. Victoria police said they had not encountered any problems with older versions of Apple Maps.

In an interview with Businessweek in early December, Apple CEO Tim Cook briefly touched on the Apple Maps debacle, saying that despite widespread opinion to the contrary, "it wasn’t a matter that we … decided strategy over customers. We screwed up. That’s the fact."

Senior executive Scott Forstall who was in charge of the company's mobile software unit at the time of the iOS 6 launch was reportedly forced to leave in October after refusing to apologize for Maps, the Wall Street Journal reports.

UPDATE: Apple says it has retooled its Maps app to prevent further mishaps in the outback. According to The Guardian, users searching for the town of Mildura will now be pointed in the right direction by the iOS mapping application.

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