Saturday, December 1, 2012

Apple Maps Uses 7 Year Old Data & Can't Be Updated


If you use an iPhone you already know that Apple Maps for the iPhone sucks.

But, what you don't know is that it REALLY sucks. Bigtime.

When it launched, we heard, like you did that Apply basically did a sloppy job of this thing. Oh yea, so you'll be driving around and Apple doesn't know where the Statue of Liberty is or they'll steer you down a dead end road or whatever. So what.

The day I upgraded my software I checked our location on the map products just to see what we looked like in the new kit. Sure enough, Apple had us wrong.

They have us addressed in a town 2 towns away from our actual address in Redwood City and what that says to me is that Apple either a) got their GEO data for free [which is weird, because, you know, they are Apple and could buy California if they needed to] or b) got duped by whatever vendor they bought the GEO data from.

The business data they're using is over 6 years old, at least. I know this, because one of the mapping databases that used to be in circulation over 6 years ago used to pin us in Belmont, rather than Redwood City, at the same address that Apple is pinning us in. At the time we didn't really care because we didn't have much of a retail brick n mortar presence and even now we rely mostly on e-commerce, but now that Apple has it wrong and they are using this utterly crappy data on a device as popular as the iPhone,  it's becoming critical and embarrassing.

At least daily, a local customer or two is steered to the wrong location while using their iPhone for directions to our shop. The correct address is just a click away on Yelp, if a customer would click over, or if Apple would have just got their data from Yelp, instead of the Book of Crap.

So, we get calls from iPhone users, Apple customers and Motostrano customers, totally lost trying to find our shop, which is 10 minutes by car from where they are. Really. Fortunately for us we have a web site, rely on it for advertising and so forth.

So, the fact that the data is wrong is not even the big problem here.
 
It would be fine if Apple, you know, downloaded some Geo data from some defunct web company with some failed IPO, or got it off of some former Mapquest or Viciniti or Zip2 employee's laptop from 1998, puked it up to their crappy mapping application and then, like ALL THE REST OF THE BUSINESS DIRECTORY databases currently in use today, allowed the business owner to claim their location in the database in order to provide real-time updates.

But they don't and no one in the tech blogosphere has to my knowledge dug up the real fault with Apple maps here and realized that the little Report a Problem buttons don't do anything If they did, 2 months later addresses would get updated. They're not.

If they are being read, then they must have one guy at a desk in Sri Lanka Mississippi getting paid $.20 a day to do the updates and he's a little backed up.

Where's the quick and dirty patch that fixes this?
Where's the fire-fighting team that does a quick update of data? 

An apology for this map product really was not enough to fix this disaster of an application. Apple should have immediately deleted the thing from the iPhone and went back to the drawing board. In today's "iconomy" you can't put out a mapping tool that's worse than Yelp or worse than Google if you're Apple and call your tool a mapping tool with real business directory information in it.

All over the world grannies are using their iPhone to navigate the planet and getting lost. Businesses all over the country are being mis-represented by Apple and losing business from it, causing frustration with customers and so forth. Kids getting lost on their way to their friends house or to the new McDonalds that is 4 years old that Apple doesn't know about because it's data is 6 years old

Fix it, Apple. Or Delete it. Start over. Apologizing did nothing but make you feel better for fucking up. Put a little OUT OF ORDER sign on Apple maps until you get it to where it needs to be for your customers and for the people who's lives depend on the data you're using.