Australian Police Warn Public of Safety Concerns Over Google Maps

Looks like Apple’s Maps in iOS 6 aren’t the only maps providing dangerous directions to its users. According to a report from ABC News in Australia, local police in Colac have warned the public against relying on Google Maps for directions.

Specifically, their concern is over directions that point people towards a one-way road not meant for heavy traffic, which is putting people’s lives at risk:

Sergeant Nick Buenen says Wild Dog Road is one-way and should not be recommended as a road for travellers, which Google Maps does.

wild dog road

VicRoads, the state road and traffic authority has denied responsibility; Google has not responded

“My issue is it’s a significant safety issue for tourists [and] locals, who are getting the wrong information from their GPSs,” he said.

“My concern is that one day we’re going to be at the coroners court [being asked] well what did you do about it.

“We’re trying to do something about it, but if a 22-seater bus rolls off Wild Dog Road today, [there wouldn’t be] the multi-agency response to this issue that I would like.”

Apple Maps provided incorrect directions but eventually fixed them. According to The Register, Apple wasn’t completely responsible for its Mildura snafu, as according to one publication there are two Milduras:

In this case, the Australian Gazetteer – the authoritative list of 300,000-plus placenames, complete with coordinates – includes two Milduras. One is the “real” town, the other is an entry for “Mildura Rural City”, coordinates -34.79724 141.76108. It’s this second entry that points to the middle of the Murray-Sunset National Park, just near a spot called Rocket Lake.

Looks like relying on your GPS or any sort of online maps is not always a good thing. If the road you’re on doesn’t feel right, your brain should kick in and hint you might be heading down the wrong path.

Have you ever been led astray by either Apple Maps or Google Maps?

[via Daring Fireball]

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • Brian

    I once used my iPhone to direct me to the Royal Ontario Museum and ended up in the middle of a housing development about 20 minutes from the actual museum. Other than that, with 2 years on an iPhone and another 2 years with Android, I haven’t had any issues with maps/directions.

  • I am wondering, since both these issues and other road issues have been happening in Australia could it be that their local data is lacking in general. And that they maybe what you are seeing is lots of people going to places that normally people wouldn’t bother. I mean I am sure Africa’s infrastructure is lacking but you don’t hear problems from there, mainly because people aren’t using GPS or other devices to find their way. In general seems like a first world problem to me.

  • Brian

    There are probably thousands (millions?) of these little mistakes throughout the world. It’s a knee-jerk reaction to say “See! Google Maps isn’t perfect either!”. There were no actual issues in this case, just a cautionary “you probably shouldn’t use this road” warning, as opposed to people actually being stranded in the middle of nowhere while looking for a mislocated town using iOS Maps.

  • Jon

    Both errors are equally wrong and potentially fatal. To say one isn’t as bad as the other is morally ignorant.

  • love Wild Dog Road

    The “Shortest route” option will take you down Wild Dog Road, which by the way is actually a two way road.
    It is quite narrow and could be considered dangerous as you never know what idiot is coming the other way.
    My school bus driver never had an issue in the 14 years I travelled to school on it.
    I learnt to drive on this road and find it hard to imagine how people crash on straight roads (other than texting on their mobiles etc)