Apple Maps: You can't get there from here!

Summary:With iOS version 6, Apple ditched Google Maps and went DIY, with disastrous results. According to geospatial specialist Dr Michael Dobson, this was entirely predictable.

"They didn't have enough time and they didn't have enough people, and they may not have had the required skill sets to get this right," Dr Michael Dobson said. "It is impossible to conceptualise that Apple didn't know this was going to be a train wreck."

A Tumblr blog has been documenting the Apple Maps mishaps — everything from moving Berlin to the South Pole, to including a railway station in suburban Melbourne that closed more than a century ago.

Dobson now consults on geospatial matters with TeleMapics, but he's previously been chief technologist and chief cartographer with Rand McNally & Company, and associate professor of geography at the State University of New York at Albany.

Google Maps has been operating for more than seven years and employs thousands of people to correct problems caused by merging different datasets and crowdsourced contributions. Dobson predicted back in June that Apple just didn't have the time or resources to match. He was right, and in a follow-up post, he outlined the challenges now facing Apple.

Dobson discussed these issues and more in this week's Patch Monday podcast.

Meanwhile, iOS app developers are left with a difficult choice: continue to use Apple's built-in MapKit interface with its now-bad maps, or switch to a third-party provider, such as Google or Bing?

"I think it is a bit of a train wreck, particularly for developers. I think less so for consumers," said Leslie Nassar, technology director for digital agency Amnesia Razorfish.

"These guys that already have apps out on the App Store and in the ecosystem, they're relying on the maps that integrate with their apps ... It's going to reflect poorly on developers, certainly as poorly as it reflects on Apple."

To leave an audio comment on the program, Skype to stilgherrian, or phone Sydney +61 2 8011 3733.

Running time 33 minutes, 44 seconds.

Topics: Apple

About

Stilgherrian is a freelance journalist, commentator and podcaster interested in big-picture internet issues, especially security, cybercrime and hoovering up bulldust. He studied computing science and linguistics before a wide-ranging media career and a stint at running an IT business. He can write iptables firewall rules, set a rabbit tr... Full Bio

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