Apple map-app glitches blight iPhone 5 launch
A big queue in Hay St waited to buy the new Apple iPhone 5 this week. Picture: John Mokrzycki/ The West Australian

Glaring errors in Apple's new mapping software, including cutting off the Swan River at Fremantle Port and countless inaccurate locations, threatened to derail the launch of the iPhone 5 yesterday.

Apple smartphone users worldwide flocked to social media sites and chat forums to ridicule major mistakes in the Apple Maps app, which replaces Google Maps in the latest version of the phone's operating system, iOS 6.

The new operating software is available as a free download to anyone with a model from the iPhone 3 upwards.

In WA, many major towns and suburbs are shown in the wrong place, including Kalgoorlie, Broome, Denmark, Exmouth and Port Hedland.

When a user searches "Kalgoorlie" the map displays the Perth address of a registered business associated with a well-known Kalgoorlie pub, while a search for "Kalgoorlie Western Australia" shows the Goldfields town hundreds of kilometres east of its actual location.

With many iPhone users opting to use the previous Google Maps app instead of a GPS device or map book, the inaccuracy of Apple Maps could have serious consequences.

For example, the first two results for "Royal Perth Hospital", which has one of Perth's major emergency departments, direct the user to an associated rehabilitation clinic in Shenton Park.

Subiaco is pinpointed at the University of WA and Patersons Stadium is missing from the map.

Major estuaries have been cut off or misplaced, with the Swan River apparently ending at the Queen Victoria Street bridge and Mandurah's Peel Inlet replaced by a vast and empty tract of land.

Users have a choice of standard 2D roadmap, satellite or hybrid, which can be viewed in 3D. However, the 3D option shows Perth's buildings mangled in the shape of waves and major landmarks including the Bell Tower appear flat.

Elsewhere in Australia, Sydney Harbour Bridge is missing its key support columns and looks like it is covered in cobwebs, the face at Luna Park is melting and boats have sunk at Circular Quay.

Globally, major errors were starting to emerge among early adopters of the software yesterday. Among them were New York's Madison Square Garden arena, which was marked as green park space because of the word "garden" in its name. In Dublin, "Airfield Gardens" was marked as an actual airfield, prompting Ireland's justice minister to issue a warning to pilots.

Apple said its Maps app was "a major initiative and we are just getting started with it". The company said it was working with developers to integrate some of the transit apps from the App Store into iOS Maps.

"We are continuously improving it and as Maps is a cloud-based solution the more people that use it the better it will get," Apple said.

In the meantime, iPhone users can get around the problem by visiting maps.google.com.au in the Safari web browsing app and clicking the arrow button, then "Add to home screen".

The West Australian

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