Australian Police Warn That Google Maps Isn’t Safe Either


2012 12 12 10 02 22

It’s not just Apple Maps that aren’t safe to use Down Under. Victoria Police are warning that even Google Maps aren’t safe to use there either. Before we start pointing fingers at Google or Apple, the source of the problem could really be the Australian government itself.

From Yahoo! news: Police warn of safety concerns from Google Maps

Police in Mildura have had to conduct six rescues in recent weeks, after through the Murray Sunset National Park.

Now police in Colac, west of Melbourne, say faults with Google maps are putting people’s lives at risk along the Great Ocean Road and in the southern Otways.

Sergeant Nick Buenen says trucks, buses and tourists are being directed down Wild Dog Road, which is a one-way track, not built for heavy traffic.

Which all sounds vaguely familiar, right? However as TUAW uncovered this little tidbit:

The Register found a source for the map information; the Australian Gazetteer, which is the “authoritative list of 300,000-plus placenames.” The Gazetteer shows two Milduras; the actual town, and an entry for “Mildura Rural City” exactly at the location that Maps erroneously showed the town. The latter entry, according to the Register’s commenters, is at the center of the local government area referred to as “Mildura Rural City.”

As The Register notes, Geosciences Australia — the agency behind the Gazetteer — can’t be blamed, since the data ultimately comes from the state of Victoria. Regardless of the source of the move of Mildura into the scorching Murray-Sunset National Park, at least Apple has corrected the issue.

So really this all falls back to “where are you getting your data” and GIGO (garbage in, garbage out). Neither Apple nor Google can visit every spot on Earth and do have to rely on others for mapping data. Yes, they have a responsibility to correct problems when found, however if the government supplies bad data in the first place, you have to wonder who is really to blame here.

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