Technology is imperfect and people are idiots

Apple Maps Mildura (Image credit: Flickr CC - dbking)

Today the media outlets, both online and traditional, snapped up a story about an issue with Apple Maps. As we know anything Apple related generates enormous traffic as the fanboys and haters battle it out in the comments. The story began at 11:30 when the Victorian Police posted about their concern for people who follow Apple Maps directions to Mildura.

While the post mentions ‘a number of motorists’ have been affected by this, Simon Clemence from Victoria Police was interviewed on ABCNews24 this afternoon and gave more detail. It turns out that while 5 instances had reported that Apple Maps had taken them 70km off course into Murray-Sunset National Park, all but 1 realised and turned around on their own.

So it turns out this supposedly ‘massive’ story that has got international attention because it’s Apple-related, actually involved a single man. For that individual who decided to follow technology without question, he was left in a harsh environment without mobile reception. He spent 24 hours walking a long distance with no food or water.

So what do we learn from this story? Anyone with common sense would question turning into a national park as it’s pretty clear that a major Victorian town would not be on the other side. While GPS is an incredibly liberating technology that gives drivers the confidence to travel to areas they’ve never been to before, it’s not perfect.

While locating a town 70km away from its real location is absolutely an issue Apple need to fix, but the fact that a single person got lost does not warrant the response it has gotten.

Please use common sense people.

Apple have now updated the location of Mildura.

  • David Monagle

    Please change “on there own” to “on their own”. While I agree with your sentiment, it looks terrible to be calling somebody an idiot with a primary school mistake in your grammar.

  • Jason Cartwright

    Hi David,

    I have updated the post to correct the error. Actually to make sure there’s no repeats of this, I’m changing from using Windows Live Writer that does spelling, but not grammar, to posting from Word. While blogging from Word may sound strange, it will provide spelling and grammar checks before publishing. Cheers for the comment, I deserved a kick in the ass for that one.

  • Sam Homer

    While we’re at it:

    While locating a town 70km away from it’s real location

    The “it’s” should be “its”.

  • MrPhotoEd

    Possessive gets me every time too darn it.

  • Rex Gildo

    But wait, there’s more… The writer of this poignant story about how people are idiots and should not blindly let technology lead them the way, blames it all on the wrong technology! Though, since you are a writer, I think elementary spelling and grammar rules are a pre-requisite for the job…..

  • Bruce

    Again, while we’re at it, “have been effected” should be “have been affected”

  • Daniel Swanson

    Jason, Jason, you made another boo boo: second paragraph, first sentence: “While the post mentions ‘a number of motorists’ have been effected by this. . .” “Effected” should be “affected.” C’mon man, you’re a writer. Use your Queen’s English properly!

  • gjgustav

    Also worth noting that the maps app located the center of the Midura region, not the town. It was technically correct.

  • highterrain

    I thought this was a story of Australia, so why would you use a Panda Bear which is only native to central-western and south western China, not Australia.

  • Darcy Fitzpatrick

    In a post where you chastise a man, and people in general, for relying on technology when they should be using common sense, you pin the blame for your mistakes in that post on… technology.


  • boristhefrog

    Hmmm…. wonder how many Android fanboys work for the Victorian Police?? As they say… the best police force money can buy… yeh.. nah… yeh.. nah….

  • Zeatrix

    He probably confused it with a Koala.

  • highterrain

    Koala’s and Panda’s don’t even look alike. There is no way of mixing them up.

  • His Shadow

    You and your ilk will be the first up against the wall when the revolution comes.

  • mclaincausey

    It’s probably a dig at Maps’ inaccuracy…

  • terpacks

    The title may have something to do with it and misplaced references…

  • highterrain

    Probably, since Apple is a moving target these days.

  • highterrain

    Australian government could be source of Apple Maps bad info

  • highterrain

    Looks like it was the government data that messed up the map, not Apple. Yes Apple should have verified the data, but if the Australian government data is incorrect, how many other maps have got people lost.

  • Rex Gildo

    How’s that? If it’s because I’m stating the obvious here, then there is absolutely no need to wait for the revolution, shoot me now…. Because if your comment implies a set of values, way of thinking or some lowest expectation standard it makes me to not want to live on this planet anymore….

  • techau

    Certainly not confused, I chose the image to represent something out of it’s natural environment. A Panda in a tree was visually interesting, so I picked it and happy I did.

  • techau


  • Jason Cartwright


  • Jason Cartwright

    The image was chosen on purpose, I wanted something that represented being outside a natural environment, the Panda up a tree seemed appropriate. You can disagree, but I’m happy with it.

  • highterrain

    My original point was it would have been more appropriate to use a Koala since you were writing about Australia, not a Panda since you were not writing about China.

  • chjode

    The best kind of correct.

  • ezylstra

    Isn’t the back end data from Tom Tom, and that was where the issue came from?

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  • seth

    Let’s get some perspective here. It’s one thing to use poor grammar and quite another to wonder blindly into unknown territory relying on a GPS alone.

  • Seth

    As a ‘beta tester’ of iOS 6 maps, I can confirm that most AU regional towns (not just Mildura) have inaccurate locations. Apple needs to get on top of this and fast.

  • Simon Yeo

    Are we talking about Apple Maps or Jason’s spelling?

    Anyway, I’ve changed to using Apple Maps. When searching for a street address (“10 Smith Street Mildura”) it has been spot on every time (unlike WhereIs). It’s only when you search just for a town (“Mildura”) that it wants to take you into the forest. My only issue with Apple’s turn-by-turn directions have been Siri’s poor pronunciation of street names and directing me onto the still under construction Peninsula Link freeway.

    Now, about the spelling; I cringe when I see “there” instead of “their”, but the overall content of TechAU is excellent, so I’m not too fussed.

  • gjgustav

    Thank you, Bureaucrat 1.0

  • Bernard DeCunha

    Wander, not wonder :)

  • Jay

    It’s disappointing that the I could relate to the article so closely that I enthusiastically jumped out of my RSS and onto the page to comment, only to read the majority of comments here and now can’t help to feel a little discouraged….Thanks for hitting the nail on the head though! The story was the most annoying media beat up for a while!

  • Truthhurts

    Author needs a bit of common sense, I have used apple maps, its a disaster, telling me to head in the wrong direction, I realised, but not everyone would as most people don’t know Sydney that well
    Apple trolling nuthugger no doubt

  • Truthhurts

    If you did some basic research, you would no, no it isn’t, its apple issue nub

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