Falling off the map

John Brannen
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Parts of Pictou County unrecognizable on Apple’s map application

Have you ever been on the road in the county and clicked on your trusty iPhone Apple map application to find your way?
It may not be so trusty. 

Upon a second glance, Apple’s map of the county has several noteworthy errors including swaths of land where there should be water.

The East River, for example, ceases to exist beyond the point where the Trenton Connector Road passes over it.

Nearby bodies of water, such as Boat Harbour and Big Gut, are visible however.

The most glaring error is the complete omission of Pictou Harbour, and the mouths of the West and Middle rivers.

Arbitrarily straight lines across harbours and rivers mark where land begins and water ends.

Using Apple’s map of Pictou County, one could walk on land from Pictou to Pictou Landing and from Northern Pulp to Loch Broom all on dry land.

The causeway looks no different from the rest of the highway and would also have land on either side.

“Yes, it’s definitely inaccurate,” said Pat Sullivan of the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency. “Apple should fix its entire map application, as there are many errors out there.”

The map app has been featured on the iPhone operating system since 2007 and was powered by Google Maps until 2012. Apple created its own map app at that point.

It was, and still is, full of inaccuracies and mistakes all over the world and here in Pictou County.

In Australia in 2012 for example, police advised travellers against using the app to get directions to the remote town of Mildura, since it mistakenly placed the town in the middle of Murray-Sunset National Park, 70 km from its correct location.

Police noted that several motorists required rescuing after following incorrect directions off the highway into the park.

Here in Nova Scotia another error includes the Digby Gut, the narrow passage that connects the Bay of Fundy with the Annapolis Basin, filled in with land.

Just a few weeks after the release of the map app and revelations of its errors, Apple CEO Tim Cook apologized. 

“At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers,” he said. “With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment (and) we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.”

Apple Maps was named one of the Top 10 technology 'fails' of 2012 by CNN in December 2012.

Sullivan believes that despite the inaccuracies, it probably won’t deter tourists from visiting Pictou County.

“The maps themselves aren’t the reason why people are visiting. They’re coming because of the Ship Hector, festivals and other events.”

He also noted that tourists have access to maps of Nova Scotia through the Doers and Dreamers guide and brochures.

After months of trying to reach Apple for comment, an email was received from Tara Hendela, public relations for Apple in Canada.

“Thanks for your email below,” she wrote. “We are looking into the matter.”

Clarification from Apple was not received at the time of print.

If you’re travelling in Pictou County, you may want to use any map other than Apple’s map app. 

Organizations: Apple, Nova Scotia Tourism Agency

Geographic location: Pictou County, The East River, Trenton Connector Road Boat Harbour Northern Pulp Loch Broom Nova Scotia Australia Mildura Murray-Sunset National Park Bay of Fundy Canada

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Recent comments

  • AJ Jackson
    December 13, 2013 - 10:23

    Just another example of stupid technology!