A Tale of Two City Maps

When it comes to mapping our cities, Google Maps and Apple Maps are streets apart. No map is ever perfect, and the difference between Google and Apple is starkly emphasised when it comes to correcting errors. Here’s what happens …

Google Maps

WaratahStationI notice that in getting directions for cycling from North Lambton to Wickham that the suggested route doesn’t take into account recently constructed cycle paths around Waratah Station.

  1. I report the problem to Google Maps.
  2. One minute later I receive an e-mail acknowledgement that the report has been received.
  3. Four days later I receive an e-mail saying that my report has been reviewed and accepted, and that a correction to the maps will be made.
  4. Three months later I receive an e-mail saying that the correction is now live on Google maps.

WaratahStation2Now three months is fairly glacial in the digital age, but nevertheless, it was a very straightforward matter of problem observed, problem reported, problem corrected.


Apple Maps

Img_1875Now here’s what happens with Apple Maps when you report a problem, like this non-existent section of street in North Lambton …

  1.  I report the problem to Apple Maps.
  2. Nothing.
  3. Still Nothing.
  4. Three months later I report the problem again.
  5. Nothing again.
  6. Nothing, not even an acknowledgement the report has been received.
  7. Two years later, still nothing, not even the sound of crickets chirping, a complete and utter vacuum.  Just as well for Apple that they can’t hear people scream in a vacuum.

Mark Maclean charitably suggests that Apple is engaging in a new cartographic discipline called ‘speculative topography’ – I have many other suggested names for Apple’s mapping endeavours, none of them as charitable as Mark’s.

2 thoughts on “A Tale of Two City Maps

  1. Tssk tssk. Lachlan, your’s is the small-minded Gatesian view of the world as it is. The good folk at Cupertino take the Jobsian view of the world as it *should*, or even *could* be, hence the addition of sensible (though not yet actually constructed) sections of road.

    It’s the Jobsian vision that will triumph: the vision that gave the world the gob-smackingly awesome Apple Newton and the thunderous power machine that was the Pippin game console.

    Just chill: I’ll bet you that NSW Roads builds that section of road before Apple acknowledges your email. THEN who’ll be laughing. Huh?

    • Thanks Mark for your boundless optimism and gentle chiding. I’ll bide my time and be ready to laugh in the future, although I suspect that I’ll be getting more amusement from your blog than from any road construction projects in North Lambton.

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