Apple's Maps app gives new meaning to

Poor Apple Maps.

After suffering the slings and arrows of critics who were sent on wild goose chases when the new mapping tool replaced Google Maps last year as the default app, we now hear of another embarrassing turn of events up in Alaska. According to a report in an Alaskan newspaper, Fairbanks International Airport had to close an aircraft access route because Apple Maps was mistakenly sending drivers across one of its runways.

And pilots just hate when that happens.

Seems the misguided directions had led two motorists to drive along a taxiway and they then proceeded across a live runway. While the directions did not specifically tell the drivers to drive on the runway, it did place them precariously close to where aircraft land and take off.

According to a BBC report, “the airport said it had complained to the phone-maker through the local attorney general’s office.

 

“We asked them to disable the map for Fairbanks until they could correct it, thinking it would be better to have nothing show up than to take the chance that one more person would do this,” Melissa Osborn, chief of operations at the airport, told the Alaska Dispatch newspaper.

The BBC report said Apple officials could not be reached for comment. But Osborn said after notifying Apple about the faux pas through the state’s attorney general’s office, the airport closed the aircraft access route and erected barricades to prevent any other disoriented motorists from ending up on the receiving end of a fully engaged Boeing 737.  No one was injured in either of the unfortunate wrong turns.

As the post pointed out, this latest snafu casts more light on an issue Apple would love to put behind it. After the initial criticism over Apple’s Maps app leading users to improperly named places and launching them on other screwball road trips, Motorola lampooned Apple with its iLost ads while Apple CEO Time Cook publicly said he was sorry:

“Cook posted a letter to the firm’s website apologising for the “frustration” caused and promised “we are doing everything we can to make Maps better”.

The company has since taken over several other mapping software developers including Locationary, Hopstop and Embark.

Hopefully, the Maps problem in Fairbanks has been rectified. While the BBC reported that its own mapping experiment  with the app showed motorists were still being directed along the taxiway, our own attempt this morning revealed directions from the east to the airport were now taking drivers along a much safer detour.

 

Credit: BBC

 

Patrick May Patrick May (323 Posts)

With more than 30 years on the front line of daily American journalism, I'm currently a staff writer with the San Jose Mercury News, covering Apple and writing people-centric business stories from Silicon Valley.